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Tobermory Dive Weekend Aug 4-6

A fantastic weekend of diving in Tobermory with my London buddy Ken. A night shore dive, 2 Saturday boat dives and 3 Sunday boat dives. Weather was perfect, everything went swimmingly.


(Move cursor over map to see dates, click on the sites to read about them. Or ... just scroll down and read...) City of Cleveland The Wetmore The Anchor The Tugs The Niagara II The Caves Saturday Sunday


Friday

The Tugs in Little Tub Harbour
In the early part of the 20th century, four tugs caught fire and were towed out to sea to burn, but ultimately drifted back to shore before sinking.

Upon arrival, Ken and I set up our tent and then headed right out for a night dive - the tugs. This was not an official club dive, it was just us two. Night dives are interesting. Sure you can't see anything beyond your light cone, but it's a different kind of exciting.

The location is just blocks from town centre; we suited up from the trunk of the car parked by the side of the road and walked down the shore stairs right into the surf. This preliminary dive was a really good idea; it gave me a chance to iron out some "bugs" in my gear. If I'd waited until I was on a boat before discovering them, it might have cost me the dive.

Interestingness2/5(these are mostly APWs**)
Ease2/3(as a night dive)
Accessibility2/2(shore dive)
Total6/10
** "Another Pile of Wood"

The Eagle NebulaOh, there was one moment of Zen I experienced, which made me do a Keanu Reeves 'Woh!' I had moved over a precipice and dropped down about ten feet. My buddy was still up on the plateau, where I couldn't see him. But looking up, I could see the light from his flash shining in the water and lighting the edge of the precipice. And it looked exactly like this, right down to the colours.

The Eagle Nebula, captured by the Hubble Telescope, 7000 light years away.

"Woh!"

Saturday

City of Cleveland
In 1882, the City of Cleveland was bound for Midland with a load of iron ore. A gale forced it off course and it foundered on a shoal off Perseverance Island. The crew were able make their way to Fitzwilliam Island.

First club dive. The Cleveland is a two hour trek across the open water of L. Huron and can only be done under rare good weather conditions. This was an incredible dive! Best of the weekend for sure! Well worth the trip (and remember, time spent on the water takes away from time spent under the water).

Cleveland is in about 30 feet of water, incredible for viz. Lots and lots and lots of wreck. Many levels, much intact, huge engine superstructure, boilers, giant propellor, rudder. We spent an hour on this wreck and still didn't see it all.

This pic was a Kodak moment - I swam between these two giant boilers and saw this giant structure towering over me - it looks like something right out of Myst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, and I came across these in the engine room: a piece of glass with printed pattern, a piece of mirrored glass silvered on one side, and what I'm pretty sure is a porcelain toilet bowl. This would have to be the lavatory. It gives you a creepy feeling when you encounter items that strongly remind you there were human beings on this ship before it became a wreck. Did they survive? If I dig far enough, will I encounter more personal items of humans? Rings? Fillings? Bones?

Interestingness5/5
Ease3/3(shallow and bright)
Accessibility0/2(two hour boat ride)
Total8/10

Wetmore
Loaded with lumber from Parry Sound, the Wetmore ran aground in a storm in 1901.

Our second dive of the day. Less than 30 feet of water. This wreck has deteriorated much more than the Cleveland; it has split open and laid on the bottom like a banana peel. Lots of wreck to see, huge rudder, thousands of nails the size of candlesticks (more like railway spikes) in the wood, an 8 foot anchor trailing hundreds of feet of chain with links as big as cereal bowls.

Interestingness4/5
Ease3/3
Accessibility1/2(boat dive)
Total8/10

Sunday

Niagara II
In 1998 the newly-formed Tobermory Maritime Association sunk a wreck to enhance the Tobermory diving experience - a 182 foot steel "sand sucker" (a dredge I'd guess).

Extremely cold water (~43F at depth). Combined with the 65 to 85 foot depth, this dive was quite short - 12 minutes, enough to do one leisurely length before beginning the ascent. This was deep enough to require several safety stops on the way up to avoid the bends. Having burned through much of our air at that depth, an emergency tank was fastened on the ascent line at 15 feet just in case. Much interesting to see in that 12 minutes: the Niagara II, having been so recently sunk (and steel as opposed to wood) is in superb condition - completely intact. We can squirm into the smokestack, swim through the wheelhouse, play with the wheel, swim through the giant, dark holds, crawl along the dredging crane, walk up the scoop/ramp, play with the crane levers and buttons. Oh, and there are a zillion plaques welded in the hold for those who helped fund the creation of the wreck by the TMA.

Interestingness4/5
Ease1/3(cold, depth)
Accessibility1/2(boat dive)
Total6/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Caves
The Caves are accessible from the water, but also by land via hiking trails. We jumped off the boat and swam along the base of the cliffs to the cave entrance. The entrance is at 15 foot depth; it is about 12 feet wide, but only three feet high, just enough to bump through if you maintain your buoyancy. We come up into a grotto surrounded on three sides and above by solid rock. There is a shallows under the outcrop where people are splashing a playing while hikers arrive from the forest. Overhead about 8 feet is a narrow ledge with a line of dozens of teens waiting to plunge into the grotto. There is a traffic jam between divers coming up and divers coming down.

We exit through a larger passage and come up next to a small, enclosed, stony beach, there are hundreds of beach-dwellers sdplashing about. Overhead, about four stories up, and in some case more than 6 stories up, adventurous teens are climibng the cliff face and performing death-defying 60 foot leaps into the water, being careful to dive between the giant underwater boulders.

Interestingness4/5
Ease2/3(technically, a cave dive)
Accessibility1/2(boat dive)
Total7/10

The Anchor
A ship's anchor about 8 foot across, with 100 feet of chain in 65 feet of water with very rocky terrain. A really quick dive on the trip home to finish off the weekend - 7 minutes bottom time, just a peek and then back up.

Interestingness2/5
Ease2/3(cold)
Accessibility1/2(boat dive)
Total5/10

 

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