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Diving the Kinghorn, St. Lawrence River December 14, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Kinghorn, also known as the Kingshorn or the Rockport Wreck, is one of the club’s favourite wrecks in the Brockville area. It’s one of the wrecks used on the PADI Wreck Diving Specialty course the shop holds every summer, but I’ll describe that one at a later date.

On September 2nd, 2006 after diving the Keystorm, we headed back to the Canadian side of the river, checking through immigration via a phone call from the boat captain. Compared to the US procedure, the Canadian one is quite casual, and depends on the honesty and integrity of the boat captain, not to mention the fear of government retribution. We then travelled the short distance to the wreck, which is located a short distance off-shore from the dock in the town of Rockport, and one hour and forty-eight minutes after exiting the water on our Keystorm Dive we were back on a descent line to the Kinghorn.

I was diving with Greg again, who oddly enough I ran into for the first time again at the club party on Friday night. “How long ago was that – 5 years?” he asked me. As I’d just written up the Keystorm dive in this blog, I knew the date, depths, and other minutia of the dive.

The Kinghorn is a 130 wooden schooner-barge that sank in 1897. It is an easy penetration dive with no inside compartments, although it is, of course, an overhead environment. There is no need, at least in my opinion, to run a penetration line when entering the wreck, as there are several exits, the wreck is right side up, and there’s nowhere to get lost. It will silt up badly inside though, so if you’re not comfortable with that, stay outside. The silt is really black as well. There’s lots to see without going in.

There have also been fatalities on this wreck. One on February 4th, 2006 was a shore dive where apparently the buddy pair were diving on 80 cubic foot tanks according to accounts in the Ontario Underwater Council Incident Report for 2006. As the wreck is 900 feet from shore, and at a depth of 80-90 feet, it doesn’t seem like a great idea, especially in a bulky dry suit and in current.

The line takes you down to the stern, where there’s a ship’s wheel lying horizontally partially blocking the first opening, although there is still room to go past and into the wreck. About half way through the penetration there was a small stove with a bunch of pottery on it, although according to this site (which includes nice photos of the wreck) the stove is now gone.

We had fun swimming in and around the wreck. I also learned on that wreck the importance of noting where the line is. If Greg hadn’t been around I would have had to search for it, and as I returned to the boat with only 200 PSI left after a 3 minute decompression (and another 3 minute safety stop, mind you) that wouldn’t have been the best situation. It’s now second nature to me to observe which part of the boat the descent line reaches, and plan my exit accordingly.

Our maximum depth was 93 feet, and the water temperature a pleasant 21C (69F) for our 34 minutes underwater, although as usual there was a reasonably strong current on the wreck.



1. Naples Scuba Diving - December 14, 2008

You didn’t mention any sea life. What did you come across if any?


2. deepstop - December 15, 2008

Good question. I’m not good at identifying fresh water fish, except for yellow perch. In the St. Lawrence we see Perch, Carp and Bass. On one of the dives that weekend I noted the presence of Carp. There are also large Sturgeons in the river, weighing several hundred pounds. I haven’t seen one yet. There are also eels and the ever-present Zebra Mussels, which cover the wrecks, but which have dramatically improved the visibility in the St. Lawrence.

I must make it my business to learn more about our local fish.


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