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2007 Scuba Diving trip to Tobermory January 18, 2009

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

The was my second annual trip to Tobermory with the dive club. I have no idea how long they’ve been doing it – perhaps I’ll ask one of the old-timers. In my quest to keep my time away from home to a minimum, I set my alarm for 4:00 AM so I could drive the 3 1/2 hours to the end of the Bruce Peninsula in time to catch the dive boat. Just like the year before, there was a morning boat for the deep divers and an afternoon boat for the shallower wrecks, and while the park guide says to get some recent cold water deep diving in before going for the specially marked wrecks Forest City and Arabia, we went for them anyway.

It was August 11th, 2007, and while I was driving past Wiarton airport I remembered that it was my old friend Dave’s birthday. I haven’t seen him since about 1990 when I moved to Toronto, and he moved to North Carolina then Lima Ohio some time later. Every August 11 I send him an email wishing him a happy birthday, and since one of our common interests through the eighties was flying airplanes, the sight of the airport, which I had visited on at least one occasion, reminded me to contact him. Fortunately I had my Blackberry with me and was able to to rattle off a quick email right away (after pulling off to the side of the road, of course!).

Just like the year before, Roger was my buddy. As usual we were the first ones in the water. I’ve always found it a challenge to get ready as quickly as Roger, because he’s so quick and efficient. I had around 20 dives in my dry suit by that time, so it was much more comfortable than the year before when I’d only had a handful – and this time I remembered to close my valve so I didn’t lose the air as I was adding it. Still, I almost forgot to zip it.

The weather was spectacular that weekend, with clear skies and 26C (78F)  so the sun provided good illumination on the Forest City, which was our first dive of the day. Not good enough for my camera to work properly (although I didn’t take it because the wreck is deeper than it’s 130 foot limit). The previous year I had spent a minute or two at the back rail at 140′ before working my way back up the wreck to the bow at 60′, but I had wanted to see the entire stern, so while Roger sensibly hung out at the rail I swooped down to the very bottom at 150′. I must have spent all of 30 seconds there, noticing a couple of guys in doubles practicing their skills, before heading back to the relative safety of the acceptable recreational limits.

With a clear head, lots of air in my tank and a competent buddy like Roger I felt reasonably comfortable exceeding the limits for a few minutes but it’s not a practice I’ve continued. As I’m now trained properly for technical diving it’s a lot more fun because I can stay down there a while and increase my margin of safety. I had also checked the oxygen in my tank, because I’d topped it up with air after my Brockville wreck diving course, and was diving with EAN25, which at 1.35 PP02 at 150′ was just within recommended limits.

As always in the deep waters of Georgian Bay the water was chilly at 6C (42F) and with the depth and the cold the dive only lasted 26 minutes. I came up with a good margin of air supply though. In modest depths and warm water I try to plan my dives to be on the safety stop with 500 PSI available, but in these conditions you need to make sure you have enough for you and your buddy to do the long ascentl, so exiting the water with 700-1000 is more reasonable, depending on whether you’re coming straight up from the depths or on a multilevel plan.



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