Tuesday, June 27, 2006

St Lawrence trip

This past weekend we were in Brockville to dive the St Lawrence river - we did 4 dives on three wrecks - one of which was a working dive towards our advanced level - - and it was a BLAST!
We were a bit nervous about the trip, because all the research we had done before hand put such emphasis on the current in the river, we were a bit unsure of what we were getting ourselves into. But the day we were there, the river was kind, the sun was shining - it was a perfect setting for a new experience.
We were also a bit intimidated by the rest of our diving group - all much more experienced than us, most of them were dive masters. But the group was great, and especially Dave and Julie, who took us under their wing to help us learn about the river.
We saw three wrecks: the Lillie P, the Daryaw and the Gaskin.
The Daryaw was a deep dive, and a huge boat - the buoy line brought us first to two HUGE props at the stern.
The Lillie P was a lot of fun - we dove this one twice (on one tank!) They call this the "merry-go-round," because, after poking around the shipwreck, you can swim to an area just off the boat, catch the current and drift around sparrow island. There is a yellow line you need to watch for - and GRAB IT - because if you don't you'll be swooshed around the island, and out into the shipping channel. We grabbed the line the first time - stopped, waited for the boat to come back, and while waiting, decided we had enough air in our tanks to do it again. If the boat had come back, we would have swapped to a new tank for our second dive, which would have given us more time to poke around the wreck. My first dive I was so busy trying to pay attention to the current, that I barely saw the shipwreck. After I was comfortable in the current, I was able to pay better attention to the ship, but wished I had more air. I used about 1500 psi per dive. Ah - but the fun part is this - once you grab that line, do your safety stop (being blown by the current like laundry on a line!)and ascend - you are at the edge of sparrow island - a rocky little globule of an island. It's here that you need to toss your fins up the rocks, and climb out - and potentially right across the island to do it again. We took a break, waiting for said boat, but most people hike across the island right away. And, even after our break, we did the hike, tanks et al on our backs - loads of fun on unstable terrain. But we all made it safely, and slipped back into the water.
We had a great day on the water, the charter operators were great - they had the best dive boat I'd seen, the first deck being totally enclosed, and the upper "sundeck" complete with bbq and stereo speakers!

I need to get back to Brockville, there are more wrecks to see, and it's such a great dive environment!!

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