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Flying to Tobermory and More Scuba Diving October 3, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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Two years went by before I went diving again. This was a few months after two people, one of whom I knew fairly well from earlier dive trips, had died on an ice diving course at the quarry in Innerkip. The subsequent investigation found fault with the procedures at the dive shop where I took my Open Water Course, which was then sued. I don’t know the outcome of that lawsuit. I didn’t set foot inside that dive shop after that and to this day my wife equates ice diving with certain death and forbids it as a condition of continued marriage.

Ken Hill with CFVR at Tobermory Airport

Ken Hill with CFVR at Tobermory Airport

My pilot’s log book for the trip is a bit confusing as it shows our departure to Tobermory on August 9th,, 1986 and return on August 10th. I wrote the times but not the dates in my diving log book but it at least confirms my memory that the diving was done over two days. That means we must have flown home in an unpressurized cabin on the same day as the last two dives, one of which was to a depth of 90 feet. I’d been told by my instructor that flying was OK as long as you were pressure group “B” or better on the NASDS dive tables, which were based on the US Navy tables, so I guess I went by that. There are now published guidelines that should be followed instead of this apocryphal rule of thumb.

After waiting for some low cloud to burn off, former work colleague Ken Hill and I took off in a Cessna 172 “CFVR” and made it to Tobermory Airport’s single gravel strip with 1.9 hours flight time under visual flight rules. A guy at the airport gave us a ride into town and we rented tanks and our other equipment from G+S Watersports.

Upon arrival our first dive was in the harbour as we had not arranged for a boat charter. We searched around for a while but didn’t find anything. Strangely enough many years later I had no trouble finding plenty of wreckage in that area.

This time we stayed in a motel, where rooms were about $40. The next day we hooked up with a G+S charter and we were back on the good old James C. King, the third time for me. In the afternoon the boat returned to dive the harbour wrecks again, but this time we found one of them, the tug Robert K. In retrospect it wasn’t the best diving that Tobermory has to offer.

Getting set to depart, the weather was beautiful, but London Flight Service told me that there were rain and low ceilings in the London area and recommended that we not fly. He was a bit put out when I filed the flight plan anyway but I told him that I would get as far south as I could that day, and finish the flight the next day if I had to. As it turned out, the weather was great until we were 20 miles outside of London, and it was adequate the rest of the way, so after a 1.9 hour flight we were safely on the ground at London Airport.

While the diving wasn’t all that exciting, the trip as a whole was a great experience. As I mentioned before Ilove to fly, so the combination made for a great weekend. I still keep in touch with Ken occasionally, and there’s been talk of a reunion of the company we all worked for then, Cableshare Inc.



1. Scuba Diving in Bermuda « Chronicle of an older diver - October 7, 2008

[…] than 3 years after my trip to Tobermory with Ken, I won a trip to Bermuda with Digital Equipment of Canada, where I worked at […]


2. deepstop - October 10, 2008

I just found the NOAA flying after diving guidelines, and while the table has some wonky formatting, it supports the “B” diver rule of thumb that I learned 25 years ago.
Please bear in mind that the repetitive group letters in this table refer to the US Navy repetitive dive tables, and you shouldn’t assume that the PADI/DSAT tables or any others not based on the US Navy tables will apply.


3. Diving the Niagara II, Tobermory Ontario « Chronicle of an older diver - December 2, 2008

[…] in the cool waters of Georgian Bay. Now it was August 12, 2006, just over 20 years to the day since my last dive in the area. I was now a member of the “Tank Jockeys” Scuba Club, associated with my LDS (Local […]


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