Sailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit ISailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IISailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IIISailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IVSailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit VStarboard Rails on Arabia II
Starboard Rails on Arabia IBetween the Bowsprit & ChainsDeadeyes on ArabiaStarboard Railing, ArabiaOver the Starboard Rails on Arabia IOver the Starboard Rails on Arabia II
Over the Starboard Rails on Arabia IIIOn Arabia's Bow IOn Arabia's Bow IIOver the Wreckage of ArabiaLooking Astern on Arabia's Starboard Rails ILooking Astern on Arabia's Starboard Rails II
Arabia's Wheel IrEvo Diver, Stern of ArabiaSweeping View of Arabia's DeckView of Arabia's Stern WreckageArabia's Stern WrekageNorbert on Arabia's Wheel

Arabia, a set on Flickr.

The wreck of the Arabia in Five Fathom Marine National Park in the waters of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron is one of my favourite dives.

She is a 131-foot long schooner wreck, built in 1853 and sank in 1884 after striking Echo Island. Arabia was discovered in 1971 and has the dubious distinction of being a “widow maker” among Tobermory’s dive sites. Sitting perfectly upright in about 106 feet of water, Arabia’s two most distinct features are her bowsprit, which still points proudly skyward, and her wheel which sits on the starboard side of her stern next to her commemorative plaque.

Arabia’s reputation as a dangerous dive is due not so much to her inherent danger as it is an unfortunate result of her fame, which tempts divers who lack the necessary skills to dive safely on her. There are deeper wrecks in Tobermory’s waters: the beautiful Forest City, for instance, sits in 150 feet of water. There are darker and siltier sites such as the wreck of King, which sits in 90 feet of water and often in poor visibility. Both the Forest City and the King can be disorienting since they lie on an angle against the shoals where they wrecked.

Yet, it is Arabia that gets the bad rap because more divers are tempted by her than by any other wreck in Tobermory. Cold water diving demands respect – respect for proper training and proper equipment. Cold water diving also demands humility from divers and tends to punish the complacent, or at least to rap them on the knuckles. If you’d like to experience Arabia, be prepared. Take progressively advanced training with an experienced instructor. Be prepared to pay your instructors for their time: cheap and fast shouldn’t be part of your dive training program.

Related post: Closing out the Season: Tobermory

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