The Oconto

28 09 2010

Saturday, September 25th, 2010 ~

On Friday afternoon, I received word that our planned dive to the Jodrey for today, was not going to happen. The rumour was that it was closed down to divers, due to an oil leak, and that it would to be assessed. It has happened before, and was closed down a few years ago as well.

There were six of us ready and mixed for the Jodrey, so we tried to think of another option for today’s dive. We finally decided on the Oconto. Only 1 out of 6 of us had done it before, and the 6th last did it 9 years ago, so we thought we’d give it a go.

Jeff, at the customs dock…

We knew that the currents here were a bit rock and roll, so we made plans accordingly. We were three teams of two, and would let one team of two go, then another, then another. We planned on entering the water, clipping off to the gear line while attaching deco bottles, then heading over to the channel marker, where we would be sheltered from the worst of the current.

Channel Marker, where you can get a bit of shelter…

Eric B was my buddy, and once we got in, and deco bottles on, we made our way to the channel marker. We had done most of our gear checks on the boat, but did our remaining ones there.

Very long tag line.. just in case…

Since we didn’t know what to expect, other than raging current, our plan was to descend on the trigger, five minutes, heading upstream, and drift onto the wreck. We followed our plan, and at 5 minutes, started to drift, and finish our descent. We weren’t sure what the wreck looked like, so we kept our eyes peeled. There were some seriously massive boulders along the way, which could have easily been mistaken for pieces of wreckage. Yes, I did mistake a giant one for a piece of something…

We did come upon some wooden wreckage though, that looked like a piece of a hull. There wasn’t much to it, so I wondered if that was it. Did we miss it?? We drifted on, and came upon a giant mast-like structure, sticking out of the periwinkle shells. Ok.. how about this? No, this was not the Oconto.

Just past this area, we came upon some large, wooden wreckage. Jackpot!! Ok.. this was not easy to miss. We checked out both large pieces of the wreck.. Half of it was laying upright, on an angle, with the other half laying upside down. Apparently, there is some wonder of whether or not there are actually two wrecks at this site. When we got to it, we saw one of the other teams of two inside a swim through. We did a little investigating, then met up with both teams in between the two pieces. I gave them a wave as we passed by.

When it was time for us to turn the dive, Eric and I decided once again, to hit the trigger, and move upstream, so that we could drift a little, on deco. We prepared for our gas switch a little early, so that there were no issues when it was time. Everything went smoothly and quickly at the 70′ stop. Once we got to our 20′ stop, Eric found a sweet spot to move into, where he was sheltered from most of the blasting current. I tried to tuck in as well, but didn’t get as sweet of a spot.

Up ahead, I noticed a bit of a cubby, where I thought it might be easier, so I signaled to Eric, and we moved up. Yes, this was much better. The current was still moving, but there was a little bit of alleviation here. Jeremy also noticed our little spot, and he and Kevin moved in as we moved up.

When surfacing, we tucked in behind the marker buoy once again, and did our 1 ATA deco stop… 😛 We all seemed to surface in perfect succession, and we all made our way back to the boat, taking turns, as we had gone out.

Max. Depth ~ 178′
Bottom Time ~ 67 minutes
Water Temp. ~ 64
Visibility ~ 40′

Frankie, clinging for a quick, “Rock On, Dood!”

Steve, coming up the ladder…

Jeremy…

Kevin…

Eric – Thanks for the dive, my friend! Thanks to Andy, for the loan of his scooter too!

Me…

On our way back, we saw buoys over the stern of the Jodrey, where there were divers earlier, assessing the oil. We did actually see a few splotches of oil on the surface. Let’s hope there isn’t much damage to the water, and that the leak can be contained.

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