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Diving the Niagara II, Tobermory Ontario December 2, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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A few weeks following my return from Mexico it was time to go diving again, this time 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 Dive Shop), Colt Creek Diving of Newmarket, Ontario, and this trip was an annual club event.

The Tank Jockeys are a great crew, with a high concentration of advanced and “pro” divers. They know how to have a good time, and I’ve never seen any meaningful conflict between members. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a spillover from their underwater behaviour, where everyone takes care of each other. As usual amongst divers, we’re a little short of women, but have enough female divers and friendly wives to keep it civilized.

Our first dive of the trip was the Niagara II. This 182 foot steel freighter (later a sandsucker then barge) was intentionally sunk just outside the park boundaries, and lies at about 100 feet. The visibility was great at 40 feet, and virtually no current, so it’s a easy dive for an advanced diver requiring no special skills. There are some easy penetrations through large openings in the deck where you can go in one opening swim about 5 feet and come out another without leaving the light far behind, and there are plenty of exit points cut into both the sides and the deck. You can also go onto the bridge and have your picture taken behind the wheel.

Looking up from inside the Niagara II

Looking up from inside the Niagara II

Roger on the Bridge of the Niagara II

Roger on the Bridge of the Niagara II

My buddy was Roger Morrison who has been a frequent buddy ever since. He had an operation this summer that’s put him on the disabled list for the diving season but I expect we’ll be diving together again in the Spring. I was happy to be his buddy for his last dive (oddly enough on a wreck called the “Morrison“) before going into the hospital last June. He really loves diving, and you can get him out to go dive the same old wreck for the hundredth time. He is also a good scrounger. In the picture you see two lights hanging off his arm. He found the smaller one some distance from the wreck.

The dive was a short 27 minutes, including the 3 minute safety stop, hitting a maximum depth of 96 feet. The water temperature at the bottom was 9C (49F), and and I appreciated my dry suit greatly (it was only my third dive in it).  It was also my first Nitrox dive since the Turks and Caicos in November. Because I was taking a technical diving course Brad wanted me to get more Nitrox Diving under my belt. This proved useful as 20 Nitrox dives are required for the PADI DSAT Tec Deep Course, which I took the following year. I can’t say that using Nitrox 32 on this dive was much of a help, as we would have been comfortably below our NDL on air, but having some residual Nitrox in my tank helped the following day with the deep dives.

It’s a great wreck to dive – one of my “big three” at Tobermory (the other two are the Arabia and the Forest City). If I picked a fourth it would be the Caroline Rose. By the way, check out the photographs in the links I provided, they’re much better than mine.



1. Diving the Tobermory Caves « Chronicle of an older diver - December 4, 2008

[…] suitable for divers of all skill levels and experience. Unlike the first dive of the day, the Niagara II, I had been to the Grotto before, 23 years earlier in 1983. The Niagara II was still afloat at that […]


2. Diving the Tugs in Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour « Chronicle of an older diver - December 5, 2008

[…] the Tugs in Tobermory’s Little Tub Harbour By deepstop After the morning charter on the Niagara II and the Grotto, what can you do in Tobermory? Go diving of course! There are two main shore dives […]


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