Archive for the ‘ Canada ’ Category

Sligo

Bow of the SligoNorbert with the Sligo's Wheel INorbert with the Sligo's Wheel IINorbert on the Sligo INorbert Between Two Beams on the SligoNorbert on the Sligo II

The Wreckage of the SligoNorbert over the Stern of the SligoOver the Stern Wreckage of the SligoOver the Sligo's Stern WreckageDivers Over the Forward Wreckage of the SligoBetween Two Posts on the Sligo

Underwater Photographer On the SligoDivers at the Sligo's BowNorbert and the Sligo's Wheel IILight and Lines on the SligoLights on the SligoCurves of the Gunwhale on the Sligo

Diver and WreckageRailings on the Sligo IRailings on the Sligo IIAmidships on the SligoBeacon on the Sligo's BowPortside on the Sligo

Sligo, a set on Flickr.

Tom Wilson has written up a short but informative story about the Sligo that I won’t plagiarize here!

As the photos show, the Sligo is a fun little wreck to dive on, with a lovely intact wheel sitting all by its lonesome about 10 feet from the flattened stern wreckage. The wheel is at a good 30 degree angle from the lake bed facing away from the wreck, so photographing it well means not having the wreck in the background.

We dove the Sligo on a beautiful warm Sunday afternoon. It was a real treat to have such a nice little dive so close to home. And it was neat having the Toronto skyline as our backdrop during the surface interval.

Eric Cooper‘s speedy Aquaholic made for a short ride out to the wreck site.

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The 411 on Diving Tobermory

Tobermory ranks high on my list of favourite places to dive.

Map of TobermoryDive Shop

Owned and operated by Steve and Krista Tiernan, Tobermory Aquasports is my favourite place to get air fills. Steve and Krista also have great taste in t-shirts, so stay and check those out while you’re there. Steve is also my favourite charter and captain; if you’ve ever seen him dock his boat Teak Isle at the the marina in Tobermory, you’ll understand why. The man can coax his boat to turn on a dime and inch into position with barely any room to manoevre.

Tobermory Aquasports is on the west side of Highway 6. When you see the Stedman’s store on your right as you’re driving north on Highway 6, SLOW DOWN because you’ll be turning left onto Steve and Krista’s property in a few yards.

Accomodations

I love Adventure the Bruce for its tiled floors, since it’s easy on my allergies to mold and other unseen things. They also have beautiful grounds with patio sets just outside your room, some of which are near ponds, and where you can relax after a day’s diving goodness and tuck into their yummy pizzas. For a small fee, you can also use their BBQ and outdoor jacuzzi, if you still haven’t had enough of water. Adventure the Bruce is on the east side of Highway 6, just before the sideroad (which is across from the RBC building) that takes you to the Parks Canada office, where you’ll need to stop in for a tag to dive Fathom Five Marine National Park.

A close second for me is Bruce Anchor Motel, at the end of Highway 6, also on the east side. The rooms are nice and clean, but the drawback for me is that there’s carpeting. Otherwise, it’s a great spot with a beach volleyball pit and BBQ as well.

Good Eats

If you’re into deep fried, Tobermory’s the place for you. For a healthy and tasty variation on the Heart Attack Special, I love A Mermaid’s Secret on the west side of Highway 6, just south of the Legion Hall, at the entrance to downtown Tobermory. They have smoothies, gourmet panini sandwiches, Kicking Horse coffee, and loose leaf tea that’s brewed just for you in your own teapot. Their Heart Attack Special is a large selection of decadent desserts.

Sunday afternoons just before we head home, many people like to stop by Little Tub Bakery, just north of Tobermory Aquasports. Little Tub Bakery has fantastic bread that they make good ol’ fashioned sandwiches with, as well as pizza, but in reality, most people just want to get their paws on the butter tarts. Two summers ago, a black bear broke into the bakery and was discovered sitting comfortably on one of the fridges, tucking into…what else? Butter tarts.

Trip Report: Northwind Expedition

Ever since the Dawnlight went out of commission two years ago, there was no convenient way to dive the wreck of the Northwind, which sits in about 115′ of water off Manitoulin Island. Last year, Steve Tiernan (Tobermory AquaSports) mentioned to me that he’s thinking about putting together an expedition to dive the Northwind the following fall. It was a no-brainer: in between nods, I was figuring out in my head how to get my husband Norbert excited about the trip and get something organized.

Last Friday, our little group of eight set out on our excellent adventure to dive a wreck we’ve never dove before. As mentioned in my previous post about the Northwind, the trip includes a drive to Tobermory, getting on the Chi-Cheemaun, and driving from the ferry dock on Manitoulin to Gore Bay, where Steve had tied up our favourite dive vessel, the Teak Isle.

We might be gung-ho for diving, but our little group liked to come back after a day’s diving to creature comforts! I booked us into Susan Mathia’s beautiful B&B, The Queen’s Inn. Make no mistake, however: the team was more excited about Susan’s delicious eggs benedict than about the comfortable beds and beautiful 19th century house right by the harbour in Gore Bay.

There’s not much more I can add to Vlada Dekina’s and Tom Wilson’s great reviews and photos of the wreck, which you can enjoy on their websites, WreckAndReefs.com and ScubaQ.ca respectively. This was my first local trip with my underwater camera system. It was a great challenge, and I’m glad I’d been training all spring and summer for deco dives: I needed all the time I could get underwater. I didn’t manage to produce any images I’m proud of, but I did include a couple shots that vaguely resembled passable photos.

What I can add is that on our two days of diving this past weekend, the water was calm and warm, so it was perhaps too much to ask for great visibility on top of that. Nevertheless, at just less than 300′ long, the Northwind was chock full of entertainment starting at 75′ and bottoming out at about 115′. Temperature at depth was a balmy 54F and 64F closer to the surface; the deco stops were almost unbearably warm!

Two amazing things that struck me about this wreck: after more than 80 years underwater, many of the portholes still had glass in them; and perhaps even more mysterious is the fact that the doors on the wreck still swing freely. Other noteworthy points that Vlada has already pointed out in her write-up of the Northwind is that the painted wood on the wreck is still visible after all this time. The metal hull, on the other hand, has mostly been colonized by the mussels, which I might add, haven’t done a great job last week filtering out the particulates in the water.

Next year’s expedition dates are already set: Oct 8 – 12, with the first and last days being travel days. Yes, it’s a longer trip because everyone on this year’s expedition wanted a third dive day. At this time, all eight of us are already on board for next year’s trip, so there’s room for four more divers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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more about “Trip Report: Northwind Expedition“, posted with vodpod

Countdown to Northwind Expedition: Sept 18-21

Eight more sleeps to the Northwind Expedition! I’m so looking forward to diving a new wreck, especially one with so much to explore. Tom Wilson’s notes and pix on the dive are making me excited to test my diving skills. ๐Ÿ™‚

Plus, I get to ride on the Chi-Cheemaun for the first time ever!

There’s still time and space to join the expedition: $300 for two days of all-you-can-dive. Call AquaSub at 905 883 3483.

Logistics

  • Book passage on the Chi-Cheemaun
  • Friday Sept 18: travel to Tobermory to catch the Chi-Cheemaun, check in at The Queen’s Inn Bed and Breakfast
  • Saturday Sept 19: devour gourmet breakfast at Queen’s Inn and head out for a day ofย  diving!
  • Sunday Sept 20: see Saturday
  • Monday Sept 21: say goodbye and hope to come back again!

My New Toy

Vytec DSOne step further in my cross-over to the dark side: the Suunto Vytec DS. (A big thank you to my fiance…guess I have to marry him now!).

We’re running the Vytec simulations against the V Planner tables that we’ll be using as our primary deco schedule. Will report on the details shortly.

Crossing over to the Dark Side

Finally, my plan to cross over to the dark side of diving has come to fruition.

Technical diving is one of the most contentious issues in the scuba diving arena. Many argue about how to define it. Some question why it’s necessary. There are even those who wield it as a holier-than-thou stick with which to beat others.
I just call it going doubles, as in connecting two tanks with a manifold. Mine happens to have an isolation valve to keep the tanks’ contents together or separate as required. Since I’m short (5’1″), I’ve chosen a 5′ hose for my primary reg (MR22 Abyss) instead of the usual 7′ snake. My short torso also necessitated a small, 4-pound stainless steel backplate with which to connect my 45 lb bungeed wing.

So why double up? Well, for one thing, it allows me to have equipment self-sufficiency. For another, it allows me to make single longer dives; being lazy by nature, I would rather make a single long dive than 2 shorter ones – I hate changing tanks! That’s work…I try to avoid that wherever possible.
A valiant attempt last Sunday to test-dive the rig in Humber Bay Park West (Lake Ontario) in west end Toronto ended in a decision never to dive there again! Take 2 was supposed to be at Big Bay Point (Innisfil Beach, Lake Simcoe) but ended up happening at a friend’s swimming pool for reasons best not to dwell on.
After some small adjustments to the harness, the rig sits perfectly on me. Trim is good and boy does the rig feel great on in the water!