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Got the Bug Solved!!!
Aug 10th, 2009 by PhilipQ

 

It was a real simple problem, but it occured in a very odd way.  Anyways the problem is solved, the Galleries are now displaying the way I want them to.  I think it looks very clean and allows for easy scanning throught the images.  There is also the slide show option as, the PicLens link, which allows even greater control.  Enjoy

The next stage is get the comment section back on line, which just requires the addition of another plugin that sort out spammer comments.  We rounding third base people and heading for home!

 

PhilipQ

WE ARE CURRENTLY DEBUGGING A PROBLEM
Aug 6th, 2009 by PhilipQ

 

There is a minor glitch in code for one of the plugins and I think I have the attention of the Plug-in Author right now so I flipped a couple of switches to so he can see the problem better.  I promise to revert back to so the Galleries display properly by morning (hopefully).  If I am lucky I will have a fix for the bug in short order.

Thank you of your understanding,

PhilipQ

Picton “Old”
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden
Location

 Kingston, Lake Ontario

Depth  170 feet
Length  110 to 120 feet
Built  ???
Sank  ???
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

What’s 120 feet long and sinks? Considering the site you’re reading this on, you can likely guess the answer to that. In this case it is a “new” and as of yet unidentified wreck near Picton, Ontario. Because it has not been dived for long, and was "discovered" around the same time as a wreck only a mile away that looks to be of a newer design, this one has been nicknamed the "old" one (at least for the time being). There are two groups with an archeological license to study this site so hopefully it won’t be nameless for long.

With a bluff bow, two cat’ed anchors, windlass, anchor chains, complete railing all the way around the ship, davits for a yawl boat over the transom, numerous deadeyes, masts fallen but nearby, this is one awfully nice wreck. There are also the precariously eroded remains of a wheel which looks about as fragile as a wheel can get.

A keen-eyed observer will also notice there is an odd structure on the bow, just below where the bowsprit would be. It looks like the kind of assembly that would be found underneath an ornate figurehead, which could very well have fit into the notch at the end.

 

Picton “New”
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden
Location

 Kingston, Lake Ontario

Depth  170 feet
Length  90 feet
Built  ???
Sank  ???
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

It’s a Pavlovian reflex: when I hear the words, “Do you wanna dive some new, deep wrecks?” I salivate. Ok, so it’s more like a slobber (no one ever said diving with me was pretty). Naturally, “new” is a relative term. The wrecks were supposedly found in approximately 2003 and naturally with divers being divers, they kept the locations secret. Over time word started to get out, and then all hell broke loose when the Canadian Navy’s search for the Avro Arrow models made the locations “official” and a few people started coming out of the woodwork saying, “Yeah, we’ve been diving those wrecks for awhile.” Perhaps they can tell us where all the artifacts appear to have gone… but I digress.

Little work has been done so far on their identification but at least two groups are currently working on/towards studying the wrecks. No one has christened them with a nickname that has stuck or is common knowledge, so they are going by “new” and “old”, with the new one also getting called the “two masted”, but only because it still has two masts standing.

That’s likely a good place to start. The “new” wreck gets that name because it appears to be of a newer style design with a more sleek and graceful bow, which sports a bowsprit which might just be the most complete in all of Lake Ontario (or all of the Great Lakes, or maybe even… the world, yes, it’s that nice). Combine that with the two masts, the aft mast having a considerable portion of the cross-tree, and you’ve got a great wreck. But it doesn’t stop there. Add in a couple of anchors, a sizeable windlass, bilge pump, centre board winch, cargo hatches (they usually blow off when a ship sinks), two remarkably intact yawl boat davits, mast hoops, and deadeyes galore, and you’ve got one helluva wreck.

The depth was 170’ to the silt, deep enough that not everyone can visit, but shallow enough to allow a nice long bottom time to study this great wreck in detail without racking up a ton of deco. More on the other newly found wreck in Picton can be found here.

 

Florida
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden steamer
Location

 Northwester Lake Huron

Depth  220 feet
Length  271 feet
Built  1889
Sank  1897
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

Whatever you do, don’t dive the Florida. This wreck will spoil you and other wrecks just won’t seem the same. It’s that good.

It’s tempting to leave the description at that and let the photos do the talking, but that would just be wrong (and the latest ones are out of focus anyway). This wreck reminds me of the Jack Nicholson line to Helen Hunt in the click flick "As Good As It Gets" and that line, "You make me wanna be a better man." This wreck makes me wanna be a better diver - I wish I could spend hours in the holds finding out what’s there.

I’ve only seen two wrecks so far that have a barrel still on them (Straubenzie and Bermuda), but this one has… a lot more than one. It would appear the hold was full of them, and while there are plenty of barrel parts lying all over the place and many have survived intact. How intact? Intact enough to be floating and pinned to the ceiling of the hold. At least some were reported to be carrying booze, and since they are still floating, and since alcohol is lighter than water, it suggests to me they might still be full (that’s how intact they are). Someone on the boat suggested that if you clean off some of the barrels they still say WHISKEY on them. Sounds like a bad place for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

There’s a lot of damage to the stern (from impacting the bottom, it would appear) and one of the walls of one of the cabins is missing, and the masts are down, but that’s it for damage (aside from the massive gash in the side where it was struck by the steamer George W. Roby). The stern damage allows for an outstanding view of the engine and five brass gauges. There’s also a capstan cover that has been placed on the engine, complete with the name of the ship (the identity of this one didn’t stay a mystery for long). A quick list of other items of interest includes: two cabins (one with an axe still in its holder on the wall), prop, D-shaped crows nests, hand carts, flagpole with the ball still attached to the top, anchors through the bow, and a lantern.

 

Cornelia B. Windiate
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden
Location

 Alpena, Lake Huron

Depth  184 feet
Length  138 feet
Built  1874
Sank  1875
Access  boat
Experience Level  Techniccal
Orientation

 upright

If Shakespeare wrote about Great lakes wreck diving (although rumour has it he’s still a little dead) he’d write about wrecks like the Cornelia B. Windiate. Why? Because this is a masterpiece of a dive site. The wreck features everything that is great about diving in the Lakes: excellent visibility, amazingly preserved wooden structure, artifacts, and a surprise.

The surprise is… something you would likely never expect to see on a Great Lakes shipwreck, especially one that sunk in 1875: a yardarm. Sure, you’ve seen yardarms on ships before, lying on the deck, shattered on the lake bottom, or decaying in the ship’s hold, but have you ever seen one still IN PLACE on the mast? There are no words to describe what it is like to see the unseeable. Let’s put it this way:  despite the fact I was in a drysuit I almost wet myself in a fit of utter diving glee, it’s THAT good, and THAT rare (or is it just that I have a weak bladder?). No, it really is THAT good.

If it had a ship’s bell and an in tact bowsprit I’m not sure what else it could have that would make it any closer to the perfect wreck dive. Unfortunately the photos do not do it justice. The deck is covered in stuff. The cabin is still in place. The forward mast is still standing, mast hoops surround the remains of all three masts, the centerboard winch is still in place, the yawl boat rests along the starboard side, and the anchors are still fastened to their catheads. And yes, the ship’s wheel is still there, albeit popped up and on an angle reportedly due to a someone trying to steal it by attaching a line and pulling with a boat.

 

Minnedosa
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden schooner/barge
Location

 Harbour Beach, Lake Huron

Depth  210 feet
Length  243 feet
Built  1890
Sank  1905
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

The Minnedosa was the largest Canadian sailing vessel ever built in Canada. There is a certain aura that you expect when you are diving one of "the" sites, you hope there will still be some of "the" mystique about it. And in this case, there is.

Although the Minnedosa was four masted she was never intended to work under sail. She came along towards the end of the era of the wooden ship and would be towed as a barge, and that is precisely what happened when she sunk. While one of two barges being towed behind a steamer she foundered in a particularly violent gale and went to the bottom.

Divers able to reach these depths will find a truly exceptional wreck. The stern (the only part I’ve visited) is quite in tact. The masts are down but the yardarms are still there, along with a few mast hoops, the yawlboat rests on the lake bottom just off the port rail aside the leading edge of the aft cabin which has collapsed and is askew. On top of the aft cabin is a nice skylight, a section of ladder, portholes, and a small torpedo-like device that was used for measuring boat speed. As of Sept. 2004 the wreck still had very few mussels on it, but did have a very fine layer of silt which could be easily disturbed.
 

 

Dunderburg
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden
Location

 Harbor Beach, Lake Huron

Depth  158 feet
Length  186 feet
Built  1867
Sank  1868
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

When you hear about a wreck for years and how good it’s supposed to be you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The word on the Dunderburg was that it had a one of a kind figurhead under the bowsprit, and was suitably in tact to make it one of the most interesting wrecks in the Great Lakes. That’s a tall order, and one it does not disappoint on.

For a wreck that has no wheel, no standing masts. the rudder detached, and considerable stern damage, it’s still a gorgeous site.

The figurehead is… just weird. Theories abound as to what it is, with suggestions ranging the gambit from alligator to platypus. I was going to reserve judgment until I saw it for myself, and I can conclusively say I still don’t know what the heck it is. The mouth could be jaws or a bill, it has four little stumps for legs, and the tail blends into the underside of the bowsprit. This is the most famous part of the wreck due in no small part to the lack of definitive identification, and I’m certainly not gonna change that any.

Inside there’s little of what would pass for cargo (corn), leaving the massive gash in the starboard side where she was hit by the steamer Empire State as the most interesting feature. The masts are down, and the pulleys and crosstree are still nicely in tact on the forward mast which lies just off the port bow, and makes for an interesting photo with the wreck in the background thanks to amazing Lake Huron visibility. As of August 2004 the number of zebra mussels is still relatively small, with only the metal parts being covered, but that may not last long if what has happened in other lakes is anything to go by. Also of interest on the wreck are the fife rails, belay pins, mast hoops at the base of the snapped-off mast,  and the two sizeable bow anchors.

 

Eastcliffe Hall
Jul 22nd, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Steel
Location

 Cornwall

Depth  63 feet
Length  343 feet
Built  1954
Sank  1870
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Advanced
Orientation

 Upright  

The Eastcliffe Hall is potentially one of the most advanced 60-foot deep wrecks in the Great Lakes for two connected reasons: there’s a constant current, and if you should happen to get blown off the wreck it will rapidly carry you into the shipping channel which can really ruin your day.

This steel four-hold freighter was carrying a cargo of pig iron when it hit a shoal and then a rather solid concrete buoy before filling with water and making the trip to the bottom. Due to the shallow depth explosives were used to reduce the height of the superstructure to prevent it from becoming a navigation hazard, but luckily most of the structure fell inside the wreck and is still there to be examined, including the now upside-down bridge.

The wreck is pointed into the current, and swimming inside the connected holds provides an escape from the flow. Once reaching the bow it’s necessary to head up to the deck where you can find the winch and memorial plaque. Salvage efforts have removed many items from the ship including her two propellers. One thing they could not take away was the ship’s name which can still be clearly seen in white letter several feet down from the deck about 10′ back from the bow.

The Eastcliffe Hall is a great dive, much different from most of the wooden schooners and paddle-wheelers that people tend to dive quite often in the eastern Great Lakes region. The only charter operator I know of who runs to this site just outside of the Crysler Marina near Cornwall can be found at www.depthchargediving.ca

 

New Brunswick
Jul 22nd, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wood
Location

 Western Lake Erie

Depth  50 feet
Length  128 feet
Built  1847
Sank  1858
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Intermediate
Orientation

 Flat

(Turn on BE POSITIVE-switch) The Wreck of the New Brunswick has several things going for it: it’s not the worst wreck I’ve ever seen, and… ok, it has only one thing going for it, and that was it. (And if you’re wondering which wreck on this site is worse, I’d have to say it’s the Morrison).

 (Turn REALITY switch back on) When I heard this was a three masted barq I recalled that the Arabia (the best wreck in Tobermory) was of the same design, and I let my hopes get the better of me. The Arabia is in 110′ of water, much better protected from the ravages of wind, ice and storms, a luxury the New Brunswick in only 50 feet of water does not have.

The depth of the Arabia made it more difficult to salvage, and it was not found until far too late to be worth the effort - the same cannot be said for the poor New Brunswick which is now so flat even an expert (someone enrolled in a marine archeology PhD program), after having spent nearly two hours examining her, was uncertain which end was the bow (it made me feel much better that I didn’t have so much as a clue, myself).

There are a few deadeyes, something about four feet long that could be the front or the back (I’ll let you decide for yourself - I’m no help), various knees (if I’m mentioning that KNEES are one of the highlights, you know I’m stretching), some chain, and a hawse pipe.

 

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