Canadian Invasion ~ Brockville Edition

20 08 2009

Friday, August 7th, 2009 ~

I had packed the van the previous night, so that I was ready to roll in the morning. This was going to be the first weekend of the two Canadian Invasions, and we were meeting at the Bridge Island Resort, in Mallorytown.

When I arrived, there were already folks convening and getting gear ready!

Eric V. and Frankie…

Pickens…

Brent…

Bob P….

Randy…

Stephanie…

Piotr…

Andy…

Jamie and Rod…

Hmm.. it seems Chris was able to avoid the camera…

We organized the convoy, and went over to Rockport Dive Centre, to see Jeff. There were 13 of us to dive, which was a bit many for the Shaleka J, so 5 of us were going to scooter out to the wreck!

Chris M., getting ready to scooter (got him this time)…

Bob P., getting ready on the boat!

I had never navigated this dive from shore before, and was looking forward to the adventure! We dropped down, found the line, and headed out. Chris, Piotr, and I were in the lead, with Francois and Eric behind us. Frankie also brought his HD video camera. We got to the end of the line, and didn’t see anything. The visibility wasn’t that great, so we moved forward a little bit more, taking a bearing off of the line. That didn’t work. We went back to the line, and I looked to the right… Ohh.. look at that.. a big bow in the murk. I signaled to my team mates, and around the wreck we went. We saw the boat divers on the wreck as well, and I managed to give a couple of high fives to a bunch of people. We went inside for a bit, then came back out and headed back. What a fun dive!

Bottom Time ~ 54 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 92′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ Stinky

We broke for lunch, and went over to the Boathouse Restaurant. Notice Andy got in both pictures.. 😀

What would an Invasion be without stacking things??

After lunch, we headed back over to Jeff’s for a second run out to the Kinghorn. Chris was sitting this one out, so I took his scooter. Piotr and I teamed up, and Frankie and Eric were a team, once again.

We followed the line out again, but were able to get to the wreck in one this time…lol. We had a leisurely swim around the wreck, greeted some of the other divers, and went back in.

Bottom Time ~ 50 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 94′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ Still Stinky

We headed back to the Bridge Island to meet up with more arriving folk, then went over to the Boathouse again, for a party!

Everyone had arrived, once we got to the Boathouse, and there were so many of us, that we had to line up tables in two rows. We laughed and had a great time, even though Mr. Karaoke Man didn’t get there. Oh well… I can sing without music.

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 ~

We had four boats for the entire group: Two boats of Wayne’s and 1000 Islands Pleasure Diving, leaving out of Caiger’s, and two boats of Jeff’s, leaving from Rockport Dive Centre. We were all heading to the Keystorm, as the Poker Run was going on again, and we were limited to which wrecks we could do. It’s better to stay out of the channel with speeding boats nearby. Apparently, every dive boat in the water, was also headed for the Keystorm. It was going to be one busy day on that wreck.

Steve and I, playing around…

Cap’n. Jeff!

Steve and I were buddied up, and Chris, Piotr, and Jen were joining us as a group. Steve had the video camera, and he and I pointed the scooters down on the hull side, and down we went. We stopped at about the 85′ mark, and went underneath the wreck, to wait for the second gang. Steve filmed them coming down. It was kind of fun to have the scooters on this wreck, as we have always just swam this one. We did a tour down by the props, waved to our other friends, then played around in the cargo holds. We then followed the wall around for a bit, but didn’t see much of anything but wet rock. Coming back, we were right on the anchor. Alot of fun!

Bottom Time ~ 44 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 111′
Water Temp. ~ 71
Vis. ~ 20′ ish

In between dives, Steve and Mer went over to investigate the other group’s boats!

There are always the Kool Aid shots…

Steve, playing in the water…

The Poker Run was going on again, and since there were fewer boats than last year, it really wasn’t so bad. I caught a picture of one little boat in the air.

Oh.. what’s that? A police boat! I need a picture of them…

Um.. no, I didn’t mean for you to come over…

They were pretty friendly, and just checking up on us, to make sure that the speedy boats were cooperating.

Once we were all back on board, we headed back to shore, picked up a few goodies, and convened for some BBQ goodness! We had giant steaks and chicken (thanks to Jen for bringing the meat), potato salad, chips galore, a draw for some prizes (thanks to Rockport Dive Centre and Dive Tech for the donations), and plenty more laughs. Thanks to Pickens for his master cookery on the BBQ too!

Sunday, August 9th, 2009 ~

Today, we were on different runs. Wayne’s boats headed out to the Vickery, then to do a drift dive, and Jeff’s boats were headed off to the Jodrey.

Junior was overseeing the plans…

We tied up to the mooring tree, and prepared for our dive. Chris was a bit under the weather, so Piotr was going to join Jen and I.

We did our predive checks, then drifted to our descent spot. Once we got to the edge of the wall, down we went. It seemed that the current was an extra bit strong today, so on the way down, it felt like we were being carried over a bit. When we got down to 140′, we didn’t see the wreck. We descended a little more, then realized that we were definitely in the wrong spot. I could have sworn that the current had taken us farther past, so I figured we should go a bit west. We scootered along the wall, until we hit even stronger, screaming current, and I realized that we were on the wrong side of the wreck. The current gets even stronger, heading out near the channel, so we turned around, and got a bit more shallow. We scootered for a couple of minutes, then voila!! We were on the wreck! Judging by the distance that we travelled back and forth, we had to have been right at the hull, when we descended. Since it’s quite dark, and you don’t have any ambient light at the hull, neither of us knew that we actually were right beside the wreck. So… we didn’t actually get to spend much time on the wreck, and I have to take alot of that responsibility. I could actually blame it on Chris, on the boat, as just before the dive, he said to Piotr, “Just follow Chan. She knows where she’s going.”

Right.. famous last words! Lol.. well.. it was still an interesting experience, and we still did have alot of fun! Scootering in mid water at depth was actually a really cool experience. I guess the next case of Kool Aid is on me! Oh wait.. I did bring the Kool Aid… good call.

When we returned to shore, we packed up and headed back over to the Family Restaurant, to meet a bunch of the gang from Wayne’s boats, before everyone departed. Becki had the best napkins…rofl.

We shared our stories from the weekend’s dives, shared even more laughter, and enjoyed each other’s company.

It was really amazing to see alot of friends from last year, and we also made some new ones. Last year’s group was 18 people, and this year, we grew to 28, and two different weekends, in two different towns/cities. What an awesome group of people. I can’t wait until next year!





ZenDiving Invades Canada ~ 2008 ~ Part 3

12 08 2008

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 ~

The day had come… This was the last leg in the ZD Canadian Invasion tour. We got up early, loaded the van and trailer once again, and headed over to Caiger’s. Toast again for me.

We headed over to customs again, as our first dive was on the Vickery. I hadn’t done this dive before, and was looking forward to it.

Steve, Leigh, and I dropped down, and headed down the line. The current is absolutely ripping here, until you get over the wall, and get into the wreck. Luckily the line is there, so you can play flag pole.

We ventured over the wall, and let go of the line, heading over to the wreck. We went inside for a peek, and were sheltered from the current.

What a cool wreck… Even with the ripping current, this wreck was a fun one. As we swam across the deck, I peeked over the bow, and felt the current pushing my face back. We drifted back over to the line, then swam off of it a bit, checking out the periwinkle shells and seeing if there was anything interesting behind the rocks. We didn’t find much, so went back and did our ascent. I’ll definitely have to do this wreck again!

Bottom Time ~ 36 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 104′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ Much nicer here

We then headed over to Jeff’s dock, where there is a Canadian customs dock. We couldn’t touch land, and we were a bit warm, so Steve, myself, and Jen splashed in for a cool off. As long as we didn’t touch the dock or the bottom, we were good to go.

Thank goodness for my She-P!

They allowed us back in the country, and we headed over to the Kinghorn again. This time, Ken and Dave loaned us their X Scooters! Steve and Leigh had them first, and I tagged along beside them down the line. The current was a bit stronger than it had been on Friday, so it took me a bit longer than the scooter boyz to get to the descent line…

We descended, swam around, and the boys took turns buzzing me with the scooters. Finally it was my turn… The leash was a bit too long for my short arms, but what fun it was. They are a little more “squirrely” compared to a Gavin, but very quick to turn, and pretty easy to handle. If I had money to burn, I’m sure I’d get one of these for boat diving! Thanks to Dave and Ken for letting us try them! Pretty fun dive! We also noticed that Jamie and Andy had served up a plate of dead Gobie and Crayfish inside the wreck.

We waved to all of our Zen friends as we passed as well!

Bottom Time ~ 49 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 92′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ A bit hazy

We returned to Caiger’s, where some people had to get going on their long drives home, and a bunch of us gathered for another round of laughter and food. I don’t think any of us will look at wet naps the same again… thanks Leigh…Lol…

A great big thank you to everyone for travelling so far, to come diving with us. I had not planned a diving trip before, and you all made it so easy. Thanks to everyone for helping out, and to Pickeeeeeeeeennnnnnnssss for cooking our BBQ (It was all you!). I have learned a few things along the way, that will aid in planning next year’s trip as well.

I would also like to thank Dive Tech for donating T Shirts for the raffle, Jeff at Rockport Dive Centre, for the dive and for also donating T Shirts, Thousand Islands Pleasure Diving (Wayne, Chantal, Scott, and Jim) for accomodating us on the charters, and for keeping the speed boats at bay… Andy and Jamie for helping out with the raffle, Pickens again, for donating prizes for the raffle.

…and to absolutely everyone who joined us for diving goodness and laughter. Thank you so much for the gift as well. I can’t get over how amazing all of you were, and how thoughtful it was. You even put up with me during the raffle… ROFL…

I’m still in awe over how incredible this group of people was to be with… on land and in the water. Amazing people and solid divers.

Thanks for enjoying the weekend!

Come back soon eh?

Link to ZD photos/video made of all of our photos, by Dave Pickensssssss!




Zen Diving Canadian Invasion ~ 2008 ~ Part 2

12 08 2008

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 ~

We were up and at ’em early, and headed over to Caiger’s. We loaded our gear onto the Osprey, and headed into the restaurant for breakfast. Seeing as I normally turn green on boats, I ordered some Rye toast and water… that was plenty for me.

We boarded and headed out to Boldt Castle, to go through customs. Penny, Bob, Dave B., Ken H., Kristen H., Oren L., Sean M., Becki, Dan, Dave P., Jean, Steve, Leigh, and I were diving from the Osprey, and Geoff, Jamie, Andy, and Bob P. were diving from the Island Diver. It would have been great if we could have been on the same boat, but there were just too many of us!

Geoff and Jamie (notice the Shark Bites T Shirt!)…

 

Krisren, Ken, Pue, Bob, Pickens, and Dave B….

 

Bob, Pickens, Dave B., Becki, Dan, Jean…

 

Sean, Steve, and Oren…

 

Andy, Chelsea, and Bob P….

 

Leigh…

 

There was a poker run going on in the river, so there were these great beasts of boats flying through the water at high speeds, and sometimes flying through the air. As cool as it was, we were about to be in the water, and we didn’t fancy getting our heads chopped off by flying boats. There were a handful of charters already on the wreck, and it wasn’t safe at all, with the boats flying by. Another boat captain radioed in to the Coast Guard, and they came in until all the dives were done.

Steve, Leigh, and I teamed up and dropped in first. We were on the basket mooring, in about 20′ of water, so we hung out under the boat, while Steve filmed everyone splashing in. We dropped down, filmed as we descended, and went down to the props. We made our way back up the deck side, and went underneath the wreck, and up to the shoal, where we filmed some more. We went back under, and made our way back up for an ascent. Very cool dive.

Bottom Time ~ 48 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 100′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ 25′

When we surfaced, the speed boats weren’t coming as close to us as they were before, and we could actually admire them. We had been asked by the Coast Guard not to venture into the channel for our next dive, which was supposed to be the America, so we opted for another dive on the Keystorm. Since the boat was a-rockin’ from all of the wake, I opted to chill on the boat for the second dive, while the others splashed in. Yes, I know it would have been better for me in the water, but I just didn’t feel 100%, and the sun had beaten me up a bit, so I basked in the shade for a while. When the others came back aboard, I helped lift stages and remove fins as they came up.

As we made the trip back to the docks, we watched the poker run boats speed by, making rooster tails, and flying through the air. There were even helicopters flying by, right overtop of the boats. It was a pretty amazing scene!

 

 

We made it safely back to Caiger’s, and headed back to the plantation for a BBQ. There were laughs a plenty at this gathering. Pickens was the head chef, who offered to cook our steaks and chicken for us… What a cook! Pickens…. you rock! After a delicious dinner, we had a raffle for various prizes. It seemed that every ticket I pulled belonged to Pickens, so he wound up with alot of Canada swag and a couple of T Shirts. Everyone walked away with a prize or two though! I have to say that this was one of the most amusing evenings I’ve encountered for a very long time… I still can’t believe I didn’t pass out from embarassment… rofl… literally… ;o)

Penny, Bob P., Chelsea, Geoff, Ken, and Kristen, with Oren in the background…

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Chelsea, Geoff, Ken, Kristen, Andy, WB…

Geoff, WB, Andy, Dave B., Becki, Dan…

After the raffle, I was presented with the most thoughtful gift. Everyone had chipped in and had a glass figure custom made for me. It is a girl diver on a wreck, which was based on the Picton wreck. She even has doubles on! :o) I never imagined anything like this, and it even brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much to everyone…

Andy and Jamie!

 

Pickennnnnnnsssssssssss…

 

A bunch of us decided to go for a night scooter dive at Centeen Park! Myself, Steve, Leigh, Ken, Dave B., Oren, Jean, and Stephane hit the road! When we got there, Hubert Chretien was leading a group of physically challenged divers in the water… such an amazing thing to see.

We geared up, got in, and headed out to the Gaskin. I imagine it looked like quite the light show out on the wreck! I’m sure the two swimming divers on the wreck didn’t expect to see 8 people on machines, with light sabers. We had a fantastic time driving around the wreck, and I wish we had had the camera. It was absolutely spectacular! We saw some sheephead carp and some little round fish that we only seem to see at night. I’m not sure what they are.

When we surfaced, we were all reflecting light off of our teeth, from the size of the grins on our faces. What a wicked dive!

Bottom Time ~ 44 mins.
Max. Depth ~ 69′
Water Temp. ~ 73
Vis. ~ Darkish…lol…

I wanted to get a shot of all of the scooters, but by the time I brought the camera down, half of them were gone… doh!

We headed back to the cabins, where we had a quick bevvie and headed to sleep!





Zen Diving Canadian Invasion ~ 2008 ~ Part 1

12 08 2008

August 8th, 2008 ~

The weekend had finally arrived ~ The weekend that a gaggle of us from Zendiving.com were to gather for a weekend of diving fun, in Brockville. Some of our local friends joined us as well, but most were making the drive from the U.S.

 

 

Steve and I loaded up the van and trailer, and went to pick up Leigh. We had a bit of a bumpy ride with the trailer, and when we got to Leigh’s, had to slice off the hitch rest, so we didn’t snap the whole arm off… we were a little loaded down.

Leigh goofing about for the camera…

We were running a bit behind schedule in meeting up with the gang, so I called to assure that we would soon be there!! Once we arrived, we joked around about our packed van and trailer, unloaded some of our gear in various cabins, and finally headed off to Rockport Dive Centre. We chartered on out to the Kinghorn! For the Friday charter, there was myself, Steve, Leigh, Ken H., Jamie B., Andy H., Geoff, and Bob P. Chelsea and Kristen waited for us on shore. We dropped down, did our tour of the wreck, and came back up… a great dive! Thanks to Jeff Jr. for taking us out!

Bottom Time ~ 42 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 92′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ A bit hazy

We then ventured over to the Family Restaurant for some grub… There was also some can and creamer art that was created during this gathering! We had a ton of laughs, and Dave B. also met us there! Our group was growing! We chowed down, then decided on an evening dive at Centeen Park. Chelsea joined us for this dive as well! A few others had arrived and stopped by the park to say hello ~ Becki and Dan, and Pickenssssssssssss! Lol…

What a nice, relaxing dive. I even saw pieces of wreckage that I hadn’t seen before. There were just about every type of native fish on this dive, as well as one that wasn’t quite native… Pike, bass, gobies, suckerfish, and a suckerfish with a lamprey eel attached to it.. *shudder*

Bottom Time ~ 41 mins.

Max. Depth ~ 35′

Water Temp. ~ 73

Vis. ~ 30′

When we surfaced, Penny was there taking photos, and Bob also said hello! We also saw a large freighter pass by…

We headed back, had some great social time in Cabin 12! Reluctantly, we made our way back to our cabin, to get some rest for the next day’s charters!