Project Baseline: St. Lawrence River – Canada ~ Initial Dive

22 06 2014

Saturday, June 21st, 2014 ~

We didn’t have any GUE Ontario members that were able to join us, for the initial Project Baseline dive, so Steve and I went out in search of the best spot, for one of the stations. Our initial station will be on the bow of the Robert A. Gaskin. Our goals will be to monitor the deterioration of the wreck, as well as the water temperatures, visibility, and any obvious changes (eg. fish, eels).

The ship was originally launched in April, 1863, in Kingston, Ontario.

Since we were the only two divers, we decided to go for a scooter up the St. Lawrence River, and end up at the Gaskin, on our way back. Steve had the camera, in hand.

As we approached the Gaskin, the visibility was not the best. The camera would make it appear better than it was, but it was still tough to get shots, where the camera could focus very easily.

A few different angles:

Taken from 49’…

From above the deck, with the bow to the right…

Taken from 59’…

Water temperature: 60F (top to bottom)
Visibility: 25′ (a bit milky – camera makes it look clearer)

We have established a natural station, for the bow, and will do others on the aft starboard side, as well as the stern, where there is noticeable damage to the wreck. We did see a few small fish.

Project Baseline Dive #1 = Complete!





XK-Won

25 05 2014

Saturday, May 24th, 2014 ~

A long day, but a great day of Diving Goodness, in and around the St. Lawrence River.

Our morning didn’t quite go as we had planned, so we ended up being a little later than we had hoped, at the river. We met Christian, and since the water was warming up, a little, we wanted to do a little bit longer of a scooter run. Of course, as soon as we arrived, the rain started to come down like baseballs. It lightened up enough, for us to bring our gear down to the water, then started again, as we tried to gear up. We had the big white van, so Steve and I each had an end of the van, and got dressed. As soon as we were ready, the rain stopped. Of course, right?

We had an extra scooter with us, that we were testing out, after a repair, as well as the camera. I opted to take the extra scooter, while Steve took the camera. It’s been a little while since I towed another scooter (Mexico cavezzz),  and I welcomed the practice. We did our gear checks, stretched out (still, winter undies), and were off. The visibility was not that great, and the water was a bit greenish, for this time of year. We scootered upstream for a while, then dropped into the channel. W00 H00! We saw quite a few dead gobies, along the way (more than usual), which were mostly wrapped in white fuzz. We drifted along, keeping a look out for anything neat. There were spots with many bottles, a lot of rock, periwinkle shells, and even the odd bass and sheepshead carp.

We made our way to the Unknown Hull, where Steve took a few pictures.

The visibility wasn’t that great, but he did get a few shots.

It was then time to go… We made our way up to 65′, where we eventually got up to the Gaskin. Poor thing, looks pretty rough, this year. It is sad, watching the bow fall apart.

I was starting to get pretty chilly, so I signalled to Steve, to turn the dive. We started to make our way back to the shallows, where we hung out for a bit, then made our way in. Ahhhhh…. Back  in the RIVA!!!

Bottom Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Max. Depth: 108′
Water Temp.: 51F
Vis.: Not great, for this time of year, but clearer in the channel.

 

Normally, when we get out, someone will stay with the scooters, until someone goes and drops their tanks, then comes back to bring them out. Alas, those days are over, for us… Even with my doubles on, I was able to pick up the XK1, with no issues, and bring it out of the water, with my stage bottle. Ahhhh…. Suex, I appreciate you (…and Steve)!!! 😀

When we got out, it was beautiful out, again!

After our dive, Steve and I headed over the border, to see Chris, Bob, Stacey, Lisa, Mario, Nate, Jen, Julie, and Hong! I didn’t get to taste Hong’s egg rolls, but I really look forward to it, another time!!! 😀

 

It was pretty late, when we got home, so we left the unloading for the next morning.

Diving Goodness, hanging by the fire, with friends = The Best!

Until next week!

 





Jelly Roll Park!

29 08 2010

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 ~

Time for some more scootering adventures! Steve and I met Claudia, Oren, and Jen down at Centeen Park, and had planned to hit the little “Unknown Hull” that Steve discovered a few weeks back.

Jen, getting her gear together…

Our plan was going to be a bit different from our previous treks to the wreck, but we had hoped to still come upon it.

On the previous weekend in Kingston, Jennifer had told us of some Jelly Fish that she had seen in the water. I was completely mesmerized, and was a little bummed that I had not been on the boats, so that I could see these little guys.

We did our pre-dive checks, and started to make our way out. The park was busy, as there were a couple of Open Water courses going on, so we made sure that we were out of their way. As we ventured out, I was absolutely wide-eyed when I saw a little clear creature in the water column, with mini tentacles, and a round shape, moving rather “jellyish-like.”

I saw one!! Then another.. and another.. Holy smokes! These little guys were so neat looking! I can’t believe they are in the St. Lawrence! They were in about 20′ to 30′ of water, and we saw a bunch of them along the way.

We headed 30 minutes upstream, on the trigger, dropped into the channel, then drifted for 30 minutes amongst the periwinkle shells. Before ducking into the channel, I actually let go of the trigger a couple of times, to allow the jellies to pass through.

As we drifted, we came upon some more very old wreckage. It was in about 65′ to 70′ of water, and just had some ribbing left to it. It was all wood, with ladder-like rungs through the ribbing. There were big metal pieces strewn about one side of it, and it was hard to tell what they once were. It was still very interesting to check out.

We left this wreckage, and went in search of the “Unknown Hull.” It seems we had overshot it, as we didn’t find it this time. Oh well.

We made our way back to the Gaskin, where there were some charters moored to it. We motored around the wreck, where there were some folks a little mesmerized by motorized machines passing by. We swam around the wreck for a bit, then decided to head home. As we moved in the direction of the line, we were saddened to see that it had been cut. Someone on shore had mentioned that the line was gone, and that they had driven four hours to do that dive from shore, for the first time, and it was missing. They had been to the stop sign on Friday afternoon, and the line was still there. It was gone by Saturday morning.

Steve, Leigh, and Francois had laid that line about 5 years ago, and you could tell that the line had been cut. There were no anchor marks, and there were still bits here and there, that you could see a definite cut mark. Sad. There were even parts of it balled up, underneath a rock.

So, we still had a great dive, and it was good to get back out into the channel!

Bottom Time ~ 116 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 104′
Water Temp. ~ 71 (the river is starting to cool a bit)

Claudia and I…

Sunday, August 29th, 2010 ~

Eric came down to join in the fun today, and since we all had the burn time, we were going to follow the “usual” path to the “Unknown Hull.”

We would head upstream for 40 minutes, drop into the channel, drift for 40 mins, then head back up to 75′, where the wreck sits. As we headed out, there was a noise that made us all jump. It didn’t sound like any boat or sea doo that we’ve heard before. It was extremely loud, and actually felt like someone was firing missiles into the water. We looked around, but didn’t see anything. Of course, our first reaction was wondering if a scooter had blown up behind us…lol. What it was remains a mystery. We saw many more Jellies as well.

Along the way, we found even more remnants of a really old wreck. There was a huge chain buried in the periwinkle shells, that was very long. There were also chunks of wood and metal, as well as a bunch of bottles in just about every direction. Another bit of goodness to explore on another dive.

We also made it to one of the horse carriages. There were so many weeds on it, and the horse harness is pretty mangled now. You can still see the metal wheels, with big spikes in the middle, and other parts that are difficult to distinguish.. for me, anyway.

We managed to get to the Unknown Hull again, and showed it to the rest of the gang. There’s not much left to it, but it’s old, new to us, and very cool. I decided to leave the camera at home, but should come back with it next time.

It was around here that Jen must have come into contact with some kind of clear petroleum. It was after her gas switch so she wondered if it was her gas.. which it ended up not being. We had turned the dive anyway, to be sure. Whatever kind of oil it was had completely encased her back up regulator, neck seal, and part of her wing. You couldn’t see it, but you could definitely smell it. I think Jen has now mastered the art of oil clean up.

On our way in, we met up with Chris P. and Allan in the shallows. Chris had his camera with him, and took some pics of us.

Me, taken by Chris Phinney…

Bottom Time ~ 118 minutes
Max. Depth ~ 100′
Water Temp. ~ 71

There were two OW courses going on, and I spoke with one fellow that was so pleased that he had finished his course, and had succeeded with the mask removal/replacement. He said he had tried it last year, but just couldn’t deal with the mask, until now. Practice, practice, practice… Congratulations!!  W00t!

It was great to partake in another weekend, filled with friends and Diving Goodness!