Archive for the ‘ Photography ’ Category

Arabia

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

Northwind

Exiting NorthwindNorbert on Bow of NorthwindStern room_NorthwindNorbert belowdecks under skylight_NorthwindNorbert near stern_NorthwindNorbert_portrait_2_Northwind
Norbert exiting amidships compartment_NorthwindNorbert exploring belowdecks_NorthwindNorbert_portrait_NorthwindSkylights_NorthwindNorbert somewhere amidships_NorthwindNorbert at railing toward stern_Northwind
Collapsed funnel_NorthwindNorbert behind portside porthole_NorthwindNorbert behind porthole with Liquivision X1_NorthwindNorbert exits forward compartment starboard side_NorthwindNorbert exiting room on starboard side forward_NorthwindRoom in Forward Compartment_Northwind
Norbert retracing his exit_NorthwindNorbert at the Bow of NorthwindBrock admiring the anchor on the Northwind

Northwind, a set on Flickr.

The wreck of Northwind sits in about 115 feet of water in the North Channel of Lake Huron, near Manitoulin Island. She is about 299 feet long, with quite a few options for penetration for the properly trained and experienced. She sank in July 1926, but information on her sinking is hard to come by. It’s also hard to come by information on what kind of cargo she transported or what her routes were.

Northwind has a few distinctive features:

  1. The surprising lack of zebra mussels means her wooden superstructure can still be seen, as is evident from my photos.
  2. Some of the hinges on her doors still swing, which is also surprising.
  3. Her stern is buried deep in the clay-like mud, making her seem like she’s being sucked into the bottom of the lake.

Diving on the wreck of Northwind poses a few challenges:

  1. She’s in dark waters, so without a powerful light, you won’t see much and won’t be seen.
  2. Visibility tends to be poor, so it’s easy to get disoriented; be sure to orient yourself to your upline before you swim off exploring, or you’ll have to do a free ascent off a surface marker buoy.
  3. Getting there: right now, the only charter boat available to take you to the wreck site is through Tobermory Aquasports. Captain Steve Tiernan is well familiar with the wreck topside and underwater, so you couldn’t be in better hands. Because of the distance, trips to the Northwind happen only when there are enough divers to offset the cost of getting there from Tobermory.

Related:

For my trip report of my second excursion to Northwind, see Trip Report: Northwind.

Vlada Dekina re-posted her Wreck Diving Magazine story about the Northwind on her blog, Wrecks And Reef.

Dufferin Wall

Norbert on the Dufferin Wall at 150'Decompressing at 20' on the Dufferin WallGreig, the lone rebreather diverNorbert decompressing at 30' off Lady DufferinRob and Norbert decompressing off the Dufferin WallNorbert
Paul, Norbert, and RobPaul, Norbert, and RobPaul and Greig on the Dufferin Wall at 140'Off to the next deco stop

Dufferin Wall, a set on Flickr.

The Dufferin Wall is named for the wreckage of the Lady Dufferin. Wrecked in 1886, the Lady Dufferin now lays scattered in a few sections on the shoals at the entrance to Georgian Bay, starting in about 40 feet of crystal clear water all the way down past 250 feet.

What I love about this site is the always spectacularly clear waters, especially at the shallows. It’s also a great site for training scuba divers of all levels: the rocky bottom that’s impossible to silt up, the gradual depths, and the drop-off at 95 feet to more than 300 feet.

The Dufferin Wall is a geological dive featuring rock formations. Not much fish life to be seen, except for the occasional freshwater goby and the abundant zebra mussels. Every now and then, I’ve seen freshwater sponges, but those are rare.

Victoria Day 2011, Tobermory

Between the Bowsprit & ChainsNorbert on Arabia's WheelArabia's Stern WrekageView of Arabia's Stern WreckageSweeping View of Arabia's DeckrEvo Diver, Stern of Arabia
Arabia's Wheel ILooking Astern on Arabia's Starboard Rails IILooking Astern on Arabia's Starboard Rails IOver the Wreckage of ArabiaOn Arabia's Bow IIOn Arabia's Bow I
Over the Starboard Rails on Arabia IIIOver the Starboard Rails on Arabia IIOver the Starboard Rails on Arabia IStarboard Rails on Arabia IIStarboard Rails on Arabia IStarboard Railing, Arabia
Deadeyes on ArabiaSailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit VSailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IVSailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IIISailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit IISailing Over Arabia's Bowsprit I

Victoria Day 2011, Tobermory, a set on Flickr.

AquaSub Scuba Diving Centre’s annual season opener. Always good.

Bahamas 2009

Greg the KillerPirate's LadySwirling SharksMore Swirling SharksShark BellyShark Merry Go-Round
Norbert and the SharksDiver with SharkShark with DiverCaribbean Reef SharkSilhouette of Shark and DiversHere Comes Brucey!
Norbert_01Norbert_002Norbert_004Norbert_003Norbert_004Andrea Blowing Bubble Rings
Freediving for Conch

Bahamas 2009, a set on Flickr.

Lots of sharks and other great reef diving, courtesy of Blackbeard’s Cruises.