Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watery Graves

By : Dennis Stein

 The Thousand Islands is home to world-class freshwater scuba diving, bringing many divers to our area each year. The river is host to a great number of historic shipwrecks, at varying depths and from different time periods. Reaching these wrecks also takes varying levels of diving, from novice to highly trained technical. The locations of this fleet of ships span the St. Lawrence, dating back to the 1700's, and are the results of wars, weather, and mistakes made... The work of an invasive species, Zebra Mussells, have turned the once murky, low visibility environment into the premiere destination for fresh water diving in eastern North America.The wrecks in these waters vary from loyalist gunboats built in the late 1700's, to paddlewheel passenger ships, and grain, coal, or oil steamers. Tugboats, schooners and the like all lie at various depths, in different currents.
  Favourites include the Rothesay, launched in the year of confederation, in New Brunswick. A large double-paddlewheel passenger vessel which handled the Montreal to Prescott route. She went down after colliding with an American tug in 1889, just to the west of Prescott. The site has very little current, and can be accessed off highway 2 from a small picnic area on shore. A rope line guides divers down to the shallow wreck, where the bow and stern area remain resonably intact.
  Another would have to be the Keystorm, built in England. A large steamer of over 250 ft. designed to carry cargo, and built in the very beginning of the 20th century. In 1912, she struck a shoal and sank within minutes carrying over 2000 tons of coal. It is a favourite dive site south of the shipping channel off Mallorytown Landing, and one of the local pubs in Brockville honours it name.
  One of the more dangerous dives for a wreck on the Thousand Islands lies off Wellesley Island in deep water, with fast current. The 700 ft long steel freighter Roy A. Jodery lies close to the Coast Guard Station where she sank in 1974, carrying over twenty thousand tons of iron ore. This wreck is only for the highly skilled, having claimed the lives of several divers, including one of the original salvage divers for the company's Insurance underwriters, whose body was never found...
 There is a tremendous wealth of information online on this subject, and some of the best that I found would be included at Wheher you are a diver or simply interested in shipwrecks, our area contains plenty to keep you busy. Perhaps long lost treasures await those brave enough to venture into the depths of the St.Lawrence, where the deeper, darker waters hide history's bounty...

No comments:

Post a Comment