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Diving the “Tiller Wreck”, St. Catherines Ontario August 11, 2009

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

It was August 17, 2008 when about a dozen members of our dive club headed to St. Catherines for a dive on a wreck none of us had dived before. For me it was an opportunity to go on a reasonably deep dive and plan a little decompression time for real rather than simulated. For good measure, we Rich and I planned it at an hour, while the other two technical divers, Dave and Jeff, were intending to keep it to 30-40 minutes.

The Tiller wreck is all by itself on a flat silty bottom. The wreck is in great condition, and we took a tour through its interior at one point, although there’s not much open space and not much to see. A penetration line isn’t necessary there as there is only one way to go and the entrance and exit (or vice-versa, if you prefer) on the deck are large, but it is an overhead environment and you should be prepared, equipped and trained before you go inside.

The mast has fallen and lies off to one side resting on the bottom. It’s amazing to see the Zebra Mussel accumulation there as not only do they stick to the wreck, but to each other, covering the bottom all around the wreck but non-existent beyond it. I recorded a maximum depth of 114 feet.

The water was fairly cold there, about 8C, and for me that means dry suit diving. Rich was also in his dry suit but at the 35 minute mark he signalled he was cold and wanted to ascend. Dave and Jeff had gone by then so rather than hang about by myself I started up with him, stopping for 10 minutes of deco. Turns out he had a lot of water in his dry suit. So while our dive was a little longer than the recreational divers we were with, they got two dives in to our one and I still had more than 1/2 my back gas (Nitrox 31) left. Still, it was a nice day for diving, and I got a good look at a wreck I’d hadn’t seen before.  We also spent our time waiting on the boat to our captain, who had formerly been a police diver and naturally had many interesting stories to tell us about his work.



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