SOS Annual General Meeting 2012

Another great weekend has passed.  Hosted in Kingston at The Kingston Brewing Company was the annual general meeting of Save Ontario Shipwrecks.

“S.O.S. is a Provincial Heritage Organization in Ontario dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of an appreciation of Ontario’s marine heritage.”

I tried to organize a dive in the morning at the stacked hulls.

(Photo from the Northern Tech Diver website

Unfortunately it fell through.   My excitement about diving still brought me to the shore of Lake Ontario, to look upon the beach where one would enter the water to find the hulls.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

It is certainly “off-season” in Kingston when The Pump House Steam Museum and the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, are both closed, on a saturday! at 10 am!  So I made an early appearance for the AGM.

The Kingston Brewing Company was a great choice of venue.  We had the ‘Dragon’s Lair’ banquet room above the main restaurant to ourselves.  I must say the Dragoon’s Breath Pale Ale I had, was awesome.  Amy the waitress, kept us in good hands.

(From The Kingston Brewing Company webpage

After a wonderful lunch, the President, Bryan Thomas called the meeting to order.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Once the meeting began, we were going through approvals, reports, adoptions, appointments, a dissolution, and voting.  One point of business was a mention to the creation of a donation/pamphlet display created by the Ottawa Chapter.  The 8 displays will be appearing at local Ottawa dive shops soon.


(Chris Phinney, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

There was a bit of a rearranging at the head table, with Bryan Thomas stepping down as President, and Chris Phinney assuming the role.  For the most part, the rest of the board stayed the same except that Nicole AuCoin moved to Secretary, Chantelle Blanchard and Brian Nickle became directors.

After the rearrangements, Chris Phinney introduced us to the new SOS website.

( )

Quite a modern look and feel.  The SOS chapters are going to have their own areas and be able to update local chapter information.


David Sheridan

Acclaimed teacher at Thousand Islands Secondary School, well-known artist in the Brockville area (He painted the Dive Brockville Adventure Centre), and children’s book author.

He spoke of his journey raising a stolen anchor from blockhouse island harbour, to be restored and eventually displayed at the new Brockville Maritime Discovery Centre.

(Photo by Debbie Brooks)

The synopsis is detailed in this news article

David shared with us a video filmed and edited by his students, that documents the restoration that they performed over the course of the last school year.  As they cleaned up the anchor, they discovered markings on it which led to the identification of its maker.

(Students from Thousand Islands Secondary School and David Sheridan on the right, Photo found on the Brockville Observer’s website


Trista Lauzon

SOS Ottawa Chapter Chair, BA in History from Trent University

Trista gave a presentation created by the Ottawa SOS chapter about the shipwreck Weehawk.  She spoke about how the research process was done.  She discussed where, who, and how information was found, and then showed us the resulting plaque that was erected on the shore near the wreck site

A detailed report on the Weehawk can be found on the SOS Ottawa Chapter webpage.

(Weehawk, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Trista Lauzon, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)


Dr. Simon Spooner

Co-founder and President of the Anglo~Danish Maritime Archaeological Team (ADMAT), President of ADMAT-FRANCE and Vice President and co-creator of ADMAT USA

The Doctor gave a truly motivating speech on managing archaeological projects.  He covered A-Z about creating a project, researching, delegating roles, politics, lessons learned, media coverage, and funding.  He shared the history of some projects his team worked on.  We were urged to use the resources SOS has to create projects and believe the sky’s the limit!

(Dr Simon Spooner, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Installing a SOS buoy on Belly Dumper

I was privileged to join Mat Bloedorn from Scuba Geek on the friday afternoon before the AGM, to assist in the re-mooring of the Belly Dumper buoy.  Mat volunteered to remove the buoys from The Mille Roches Power House and The Belly Dumper last fall.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

We drove to Lake View heights where we launched the boat.  I was excited for my first zodiac diving experience.

(Mat Bloedorn, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Mat’s GPS pinpointed the rough spot of the Belly Dumper.  When we were close he watched his side scan sonar and identified its exact location.  We dropped anchor safely away from the wreck, and then Mat dove down to retrieve the anchor line.  Once he bobbed up with chain in hand, I motored over to him and we attached the buoy.

(Mat Bloedorn, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

After securing the marker it was time to enjoy the wreck.  It was my first time diving the Dumper.  The name is derived from the fact that its “Belly” was capable of opening to “Dump” it’s load.

(Mat Bloedorn, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

We made a couple of passes around the wreck.  Then it was time to head back up.  In the photo below two lines can be seen.  The left running one leads to some other sunken barges a fair ways away, and the line on the right leads up to the surface.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

It was a great “feel good” night, helping out the diving community.

If you have any interest in joining S.O.S. please refer to the website.

(Mat Bloedorn, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Categories: Uncategorized

Shipwrecks 2012 Weekend

April 11, 2012 9 comments

After attending Shipwrecks 2012 symposium, I definitely feel like a newbie to this sport.  The Niagara Divers Association put on a great show.

(Photo by Natasa Djermanovic)

The 550 people attending the show made for a comfortable environment knowing we were all on the same page.  I’d read a little here, watched a little there, but Wow!  When you’re at a conference watching and listening to people with 30+ years experience whose passion and livelihood is based on diving, it certainly made me take a step back and realize there’s a lot more to this recreational activity.

Lucky for me, one of my former college friends Jason Maiuri is a member of the NDA.  Lucky because my good friend didn’t give up on me… He posted the link to the symposium about 4 or 5 times on my Facebook page not letting me forget about it.  Hanging out with Jason and his girlfriend Andrea (also part of NDA) allowed me to see the show before the doors opened.  I found this interesting because as the doors opened I got to see the range of people arriving at the show.  There was a large showing from the Great Lakes Technical Divers, a gentleman that worked on the Deepwater Horizon cleanup,  and a man that started diving in the 1970’s with many stories about sites and gear of the era. The guest speakers were being hounded for hand shakes and photos.  I also ran into acquaintances that I didn`t know were coming (why didn`t we figure this out sooner and carpool?).

(Tom Wilson, Photo by Natasa Djermanovic)

Soon the doors to the theatre opened and we all excitedly filed in.  Tom Wilson initiated the event as Master of ceremonies as he has since 2008.  After some humour and appreciation of the NDA for hosting the event, the first guest speaker was on.

Jack Papes spoke about a technical diving adventure he’d had in lake Michigan the previous summer.  With a backwards winding clock, he gave his account of the train car SS Milwaukee and many other interesting sites.  His presentation was accompanied with photos he took.


Robert Osborne was next, showing his CTV W5 documentary about the Bell Island wrecks.  I certainly would like to head to NFLD sometime soon after seeing and hearing the history of the world war wrecks there.  After the video, Robert gave us some of the more in-depth details of the German sumbmarine mission.  We heard about a german spy dropped off near a small town in Quebec.  He spoke of the Canadian response to the attack, and of the aftermath of the surviving sailors on both the Canadian and German sides.  He explained that years later, after the natural death of one of the German U-boat captains, this man’s daughter discovered his detailed logs of the Bell island attacks.  This discovery then prompted her to visit the island, donate these artifacts to its museum and pay her respects. (video can seen here)

Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg were introduced as the following presenters.  From the podium they narrated a whirlwind video that overviewed shipwrecks from the St Lawrence all the way through most of the great lakes.  The trips they have made to some remote locations is astonishing.

Jill Heinerth was the last speaker before lunch.  She is known as one of the worlds leading technical divers with accolades in cave diving, film making, photography, and CCR.   She spoke about underwater photography: the lighting, cameras, housings, formats, and software.  There were quite a few helpful tips that I absorbed from her presentation.  One being that your buddy can help with the lighting as well as watching out for you, and another about placement of strobes away from the camera to create many different effects.  She made mention that RAW was the best format to be shooting in, because of the flexibility we can now enjoy with modern editing software.


Mike Fletcher was social with the crowd from the moment he walked in the door.  A half hour video that reviewed his career so far started his presentation.  Topics covered were him growing up, commercial diving, shipwreck hunting, becoming an underwater heritage advocate, underwater cameraman, TV host, and father.  It was incredibly intriguing.  From The Sea Hunters to Dreamwrecks and Dive Detectives I now have a hundred TV episodes to watch.

(Mike Fletcher, Photo by Natasa Djermanovic)

Jill Heinerth and Husband Robert McClellan introduced two projects they are working on and showed previews of the films.

First was Ben’s Vortex. “On a hot August night, Ben McDaniel attempted the adventure of a lifetime. He slipped beneath the clear waters of Vortex Spring, with one goal in mind: to make a name for himself in the extreme world of cave diving. He was never seen again. ”

Second was We Are Water.  “For the first time in history, fresh water has become a finite resource. Many experts agree that, without significant changes in water policy, wars of the 21st century may be fought, not over oil, but for control of clean water. We Are Water is an imaginative, entertaining, and enlightening documentary, illustrating the fragile relationship between our planet’s endangered fresh water resources, and the ever increasing needs of our expanding population.”

After the previews, Jill and Robert received donations towards the production of We Are Water.  Carlos Fonseca and Matt Mandziuk, on behalf of the Great Lake Technical Divers and Dan’s Dive Shop, presented a generous cheque for $1750. Natasa Djermanovic and Chris Corfield also personally donated $500 onstage.

Both films were said to be released this year.

(Jill Heinerth & Robert McClellan, Photo by Natasa Djermanovic)

David VanZandt gave a somewhat technical discussion on the searching for and finding of the shipwreck The Sultan. David showed side sonar images CLUE captured, a detailed drawing of the site, and photographs. He gave his opinion on why the ship sank.  I thought one of the more interesting parts of his presentation was the Q&A.  People were asking why he or his club wouldn’t share the location.  His answer was that they spent the time and money, so why should they share it?  In complete contrast were the next presenters.

Georgann & Mike Wachter were onstage excitedly telling the crowd about a shipwreck they discovered in Lake Erie.  It was a very well told story of discovery and excitement by these shipwreck hunters.  We were shown a video of the initial dive to see what they had found.   As well as Mike & Georgann narrating the film Mike had shot that day.  Near the end of the presentation they displayed the GPS coordinates and invited everyone to check it out.


The show quickly came to an end after Tom thanked the presenters, the NDA, and the audience.  There was a dinner afterwards for a limited number of guests.

(Photo by Natasa Djermanovic)

Overall, a fantastic show.  Many thanks to the NDA for putting it on and also to Natasa for allowing me use of her photos.

A local newspaper the St. Catharines Standard ran an article about the symposium.



Whats a weekend without diving?

One of the reasons that got me down to the falls, was that my friend Jason said we could go diving.  Sure enough, sunday morning Jason, Andrea, and I met up with Eastern Ontario/Montreal friends Fannie and Allan for a dive at the Sherston Quarry.

“Sherkston quarry became a dive site in 1917 when the water pumps quit working one night after the workers went home. The next morning the workers showed up at work and knew they were out of a job”

(Quoted from Dan’s Dive Shop website

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

It was a cold morning; the way it should be in April.  Together, we entered the dive shop to show our cards, sign papers, and pay the $10 entrance fee.  After having a good chat with the manager Leah Jones, we jumped back in the cars and drove around the quarry to the entrance site.  Jason was stuffed up and decided to pass.  Andrea was making me cold as I watched her suiting up in her wetsuit… Yikes!

(Andrea Willette & Jason Maiuri, Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Into the water we went! A sea of green.  Andrea, being the local, was the leader.  It was a minute or two before we came upon some tracks.  This was exciting for me because I’d heard of train tracks in a couple of locations in eastern Ontario, but never seen any.  I was in for a treat…

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

We followed the tracks to the goodies.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

Another 5-minute swim down the tracks and we found what these small locomotives were pulling.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

There were a number of mine carts in different locations.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

At about 42 minutes into the dive, I started giving my buddies some hand signals.  They weren’t understanding what I was trying to tell them.  I started making up signals the get my point across.  This didn’t work either, so we surfaced.  I was finally able to tell them that I needed to pee so bad I couldn’t kick my legs anymore…!

It was a long swim back using only my arms doing the back stroke.

We packed up, took a group shot, and headed to Crystal Beach for a great lunch and celebratory beer.

It was a first class weekend.  Thanks for the hospitality Jason!

(Allan Reid, Fannie Milette, Andrea Willette, Jason Maiuri, Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Photo shot by Leah Jones)

Drifting over the Rothsay

April 4, 2012 1 comment
Categories: Video Tags: , , , ,

Rothesay, Prescott

April 3, 2012 5 comments

(Photo from Roy Letts website

The First dive of the year… In cold water! It was -5c and sunny this day on March 3 2012. Anxious for the season to start my dive buddy Fannie drove from Montreal the day before just to see what the water looked like. With no ice to be seen it was game on!

The Rothesay was a good choice for us to break the ice with on account of the shallow depth and weak current.

After checking and double checking our equipment Fannie and I waded out into the St Lawrence.

(Photo found from the Dive Tech website

As the water seeped into my neoprene hood and lobster gloves i noticed my Aladdin 2G was reporting 0 degrees C. We swam out to the buoy where the line to the wreck begins.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(The Philadelphia Record, Sept 14 1889)

5-10 mim following the seaweed covered line we found the remains of the steamer Rothesay.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls Nov 27 2011)

A debris field is what you come across once the line ends. The shape and orientation of the wreck isn’t immediately obvious, but details start emerging as one begins to move about. Turn left and you’d find the stern with rudder still attached, go straight to find whats left of one of the paddlewheels, or turn upstream to the right to discover the boilers and bow.

(Toronto Daily Mail, Sept 26 1893)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

“The sunken steamer ROTHESAY was blown up at Prescott by R.M.C. officers. The wreck was considered a dangerous navigational obstruction. Cost $368.96

Removal of Obstructions

Marine & Fisheries Report

Sessional Papers, Federal

2-3 Edward V111.,A. 1893″

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

Deck hatch

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls Nov 27 2011)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls Nov 27 2011)


(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls Nov 27 2011)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls Nov 27 2011)


(Ottawa Citizen Sept 21 1964)

Where did all the treasure go after the 1967 centennial celebrations? It may be time to start researching the Underwater Society of Ottawa. It sounds like they would have some fantastic stories🙂

It was a great 42min dive to kick off the season. I always gain more respect for these wrecks after investigating them. Lives were lost, some people became shipwreck survivors, salvage attempts were made, other boats ran into her, RMC blow it up, it was forgotten, it was found, and now its being visited almost daily.

Turtle in Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula

Categories: Uncategorized

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

March 15, 2012 1 comment

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

Four years in the making, my family was able to make a trip together.  I pushed for Mexico knowing that there was a lot of choices and opportunities.  Once there I realized a day trip away on my own was too much time away from the twin three-year olds (there still a handful😉

I was still able to enjoy 4 dives during the trip.  The Catalonia Yucatan resort we were at had a Pro Dive Mexico location on site.  Everyone was friendly, and they locked my equipment in the shop during my stay which was convenient.  After pestering the employees about my excitement and experiences to date, they allowed me to join a group of divemasters in training on a two dive charter to “Turtle Cove” as they called it.  I recognized the resort we were diving in front of as the Occidental Grand Xcaret.  The frist dive was roughly a flat bottom of sand and coral, but still very interesting to me having never been diving in the Caribbean.  The wild life of the sea had me swimming all over the place.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

The second dive was the most interesting of the four.  It was in the same area as the first, but we followed a ridge most of the dive (first pic is of the ridge).  It was teaming with life.  Eels, lobster, crabs, turtles, and more fish than I’d ever seen at once.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

My third dive was in front of our resort.  The crowd was a mix of skill levels.  My buddy ended up being a brit ex soldier from Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.  Though he hadn’t dove for a couple of years (being in Afghanistan) he had 300 logs dives.  It came back like riding a bike to him.  Again another flat bottom with not a lot to write home about.  Oh… and I forgot to turn on my camera…

The last dive turned out to be pretty awesome.  There was a crowd of divers in OW training filling most of the boat, but to accommodate me they gave me a divemaster trainee buddy and let us conduit our own dive.  Mary was 21, from Montreal, and had started diving in August!  She travelled to Honduras and got her OW and AOW there, now was in Mexico finishing up the divemaster course!

When she asked if I would mind having a deeper than average dive, I was ecstatic.  We rolled off the boat.

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

The bottom here was different then the previous dives.  There was channels of coral.  We descended down into one and followed it along.  With only the two of us, anything we saw we chased it!  Turtles, fish, eels.  About a half hour in i got the felling i was deep.  Looking at my CPU i realized we had been following a slope downwards.  Started at 50′ now we were at 95′.  My interest in the surrounding had stopped me from watching my depth.  Before turning back upwards I got my wrist down to the bottom to record 114′.  We took our time heading back up.  Played with a turtle, then watched a huge eel swim in front of us (wicked).

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls, Tweaked by Adam Kulczycki)

(Me! Photo taken by Lisa the Divemaster)

Well that was the diving of my holiday, and this was my walk back from the boat🙂

Good Times!

(Photo by Christian Lloyd-Kohls)

New Years Eve 2011

Last dive of 2011.

Morrisons Quarry was a beautiful site.  Adam Kulczycki and I met up to dive the last day of the year.  One thing I learned that day was the crane (for bungy jumping) sways in the wind.  Did someone forget the secure it?

We cleared off a couple of tables and got ourselves setup.  Mrs Morrison was kind enough to allow us to start a fire in the shack, so we had a warm place to retire after the dive.

The plan that was to visit the drilling rods at the end of the road.  Evelyn told us that the rods were part of the last work that was done prior to the plant stopping production and subsequent flooding.  I hadn’t had a good look at them before.  I alway thought it was picturesque spot.  We swam to the pylon just after the bridge to do a bubble and equipment check.  After confirming everything was A-Ok, down the road we headed.

Adam lent me a pair of lobster semi-dry gloves.  They were a big help compared to the five-finger 7mm’s I had.  Down the road we followed.  Past the plane, boat, and train ties.

Down, down, down.

107′ was the depth we came to around the end of the road.  The rods were a bit shallower.

Mission accomplished.  45 minutes at 4c.  Happy New Year!