Category: Underwater Adventure

Mystery Solved hmmm…..

The lengendary Mary Ann a sloop many people searched for and still are searching for, at least 2 teams of diver cliques on the US side have invested over 20 grand in stuff to help. Lots of stuff they have found but only things of coolness and or great depth get talked about. 50/50 solution perhaps or jam vs jelly? Still cool for me when I get to add a check in the box in my research for the area. This time a delete still done to 224 suspected sites :D.  OK lets solve something else.  Enjoy the read and if your collecting data and want to help, feel free to contact me.

BW Folger

David Tait, the father of John Tait, opened his own shipyard on Amherst Island and his first vessel (the schooner Caroline) is registered as being built in 1847, though many believe it was built earlier. David Tait was a shipbuilder of good repute,

 

The Caroline was wrecked or burnt (info not clear) and was purchased by W. Powers and in Kingston and rebuilt as the Schooner B.W. FOLGER.  The BW Folger was nothing special and sailed up and down Lake Ontario for almost 25 years, During that time she ran aground twice, Sept 1871 and again she sprung a leak and sunk in Bay of Quinte, July 1874. Then in 1880 she ran aground yet again after Wm. Dandy from Kingston purchaced her for the Coal trade and rebuilt over that winter.  in 1893 she got caught in a gale and lost her topsail and repaired yet again over the winter.

The schooner B. W. FOLGER, Capt. Bates, was burned to the water’s edge this morning at Fish Point, Amherst Island. The fire originated in the forecastle about 6 o’clock. She was loaded with lumber for Oswego, consigned to the Standard Oil Company, and left Kingston several days ago. The vessel is said to be insured for $900. The crew is safe. The FOLGER had been windbound in the cove for a day and a half.

Diving the BW Folger is difficult and not sure if permitted due to it being within the active Ferry Route and 67ish feet deep  in the North Channel off Kerr Point. (Fish). and being burnt to less then 6 feet of relief.

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

Wolfe Islander II

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Converted Car Ferry
Lifespan: Built 1947, Scuttled 1985
Length: 200ft
Depths: 80ft
Location: Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.13.5580 W76.24.9860


Everybody who dove the Wolfe loves it for various reasons, I used to dive the Wolfe every year on my BIrthday but never planned.  The story of the Wolfe Islander 2 (redux) starts in the 1940’s when the Ferry was condemed and 2 WW2 Landing Barges were put into use as the Wolfe Islander 1 and Wolfe Islander 2. So at the same time the war in the Pacific ends and the plan for 35 transport ships was shelved.  3 Ships were built in Collingwood for the Allied effort and one in process. (hull 132, Ottawa Mayhill; hull 133, Ottawa Mayrock; hull 134, Ottawa Maytor, hull 135, Ottawa Maybrook). So through political wrangling the Wolfe Island Reeve, Kingston Mayor and an ex mayor worked thier magic and the Wolfe Islander was “born” Work started in modifing the former war asset coastal frieghter began.

In the fall of ’46 sea trails were completed and the name changed to Wolfe Islander and finally 6 November they headed to Kingston with crew of Wolfe Islanders? from the Ferry industry, The trip took 11 days and at one time a deck hand was left behind, grab a cab and met them at the next stop and some bad weather as well but they pulled up the the Clarance Street Dock and a Celebration followed with dignataries. The next day Capt Bates started the new ferry and went to Marysville and repeated the same. The Wife of the Reeve was choosen to christian her and the 6th time was the charm.

She contunied in this capacity for decades and was a common sight on the water through sun, sleet, rain and snow.  Good days bad days and even a disappearing act due to weather.  In the winter tugs helped tow and break ice and then it was time to retire.  After some discussion she was donated to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes for a B&B then the Canadian Government gifted the Alexander Henry as well,

So local divers took up the cause, cleaned stripped and prepared her for sinking but not without “concerns”  One being an elderly lady on the Island whom did not want to see divers pee off boats. Finally she was sunk intentionally on September 21, 1985, as an artificial reef in 80 ft (24.6m) of water A Wolfe Islander-Diverguide- OD is also available.

Dropping down the line and reaching the bow davit, it is only another dozen feet to the open door of the wheelhouse. Just abaft the wheelhouse is a set of steel stairs that lead to benches lining the curved bulkhead and large square windows provide exit points with large doorways also convenient. The depth is 60 feet (18.5m) and the air pocket above divers’ heads is exhaust from previous diver visits and is not for breathing

Exiting the salon on the port side, divers follow the stairs to the main deck where vehicles were parked and recently a motorcycle was placed to demonstrate past cargo

A nearby doorway leads into the depths of the engine room and only the diver with experience, skills and training should proceed here. Through catwalks and piping, one may proceed to the engine mounts at 75 feet (23m) depth and you encounter the “elevator” shaft leading to the top deck. Near the port rail you will find the portholes (of which several were liberated by some divers that need them more than others) with logos and names of support organizations. Just around the corner is the ship’s name and registry port.

If you need help getting to see the MV Wolfe Islander let me know.

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

Comet (1848 – 1861)

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Twin Paddle Wheeler
Lifespan: Built 1848 Sunk 1861
Length: Length 174 ft (53.5m)
Depths: to 80 ft (24.6m)
Location: 2 miles off Simcoe Island, Lake Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.08.319 W76.35.042


The Comet, a 337-ton sidewheel steamer, was built in 1848 at Portsmouth, Ontario, by shipbuilder George N. Ault. She is 174 ft (53.5m) in length and has a beam of 24 ft (7.4m). She was unique as she was powered by two “walking beam” type steam engines with a 51-inch piston. She was a passenger steamer much used by travellers, but after a few short trips she struck a shoal in the St. Lawrence river and sank. She was raised, repaired and put back into service. In 1849, a burst steam pipe seriously injured three Irish firemen, two of them fatally. Then, in 1851, after being damaged by a boiler explosion during her departure from Oswego, New York, she was rebuilt and renamed the “Mayflower”.

One gusty spring evening in May 1861, on her first voyage of the season, the steamer left Kingston for the last time. Strong winds were out of the southwest as she cleared Nine Mile Point off the westerly end of Simcoe Island. The Comet altered course toward Timber Island under Captain Francis Paterson to give wide berth to three sailing ships on the horizon. An hour later, the Comet and the schooner “Exchange” collided when the Exchange attempted to run for safe harbor from the storm. Both ships attempted to stay close to help out the other but the wind took the schooner out of hailing distance. The Comet kept its steam engines running and, in an attempt to make shore, managed to travel to within 2 miles (3.2km) of Simcoe Island before the captain had crew and passengers abandon ship in lifeboats. Two crewmen were lost trying to bail out the large yawl which the Comet towed astern. The survivors were set safely ashore on Simcoe Island, while the Comet sank about 1.5 miles (2.4km) off the Island in about 90 ft (28m) of water.

Divers Jim McCready and Dr. Robert McCaldon rediscovered the Comet, noted for her bad luck, on September 7, 1967. The two were hobby divers who had been looking for this particular wreck for the previous 10 years. Many artifacts were salvaged, including a brass door latch, a brass wine barrel spigot, silver spatulas, English ironstone pitchers, wash basins, cups, saucers, bowls and hand-blown glass goblets, some of which are in the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. There was some discussion of raising the Comet but this never came to pass. Recently there is concern that Paddlewheels are going to fall over. Pictured above is just how much the paddlewheel is leaning.  If you can see it let me know. 😀 Diver Guide for Comet

The Comet lies in 90 ft (28m) of water, with her paddlewheels still upright, though much of the top decking has collapsed. For those trained and experienced, penetration below deck is possible at the stern for a view of the boilers and the engines. Good buoyancy is important as silt can be stirred very quickly making it difficult for the next diver to see. There are also some plates and cups left on the decking, completing the underwater museum.

The Comet is a spectacular example of ships of her time and is a special favorite of divers who visit her. Of consideration to the recreational diver is time because of her depth. There is little current on her, and visibility is usually 20 to 50 ft (6-16m), with upwards of 80 ft (25m) in the spring and fall. Here’s a Night Dive on the Comet and  if you like the night dive this ones for you.

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

Damn We Found a Wreck.

Storytime in Kingston,  Back late 90’s (I think) Adam, Pat and Carey headed out to help POW raise moorings, the First stop was to be the KPH (Waterlily). So after arriving to the waypoint, Adam started circling to find the “sweet spot” to drop the shot line. When the Bottomsounder showed a elevation on the bottom he instructs them to drop the shot line.  So Pat and Carey entered the water and down the line they go, a few minutes later they Surface and say That’s not the KPH?  So looks like we found an unindentified and unknown wreck and named it the PCB Pat and Carey Barge until indentification.

So when they return to shore and annouce the find. Within days of it’s discovery rumours circulated about the find were met with “Yeah we’ve been diving that for years.” It turns out POW members tested Sidescan a few years before and located the barge as well(as well as Ken Fuller, Wayne Gay and Myself the year before), but decided it was not an attraction worth even mentioning.  They even actually thought on raising it and moving to Terry’s Tug which would have been FUN. So a year or two later as technology improved and as diving advanced in the region, it was decided to run a line from the PCB to shore.  So GLUE took up the task and they accomplished the task, and it’s still in use a decade later.  There at one time was a sail on wreck as well but has sinced moved on, PCB can be done from shore as a Scooter run (perfered), It’s a long boring swim with nothing to see.  As well easily accessable from the KPH.(at one time three wrecks were connected by line, Varuna, KPH and PC Barge) but someone decided that was not for all and removed the line.

I had an article mentioning the harbourmaster was trying to relocate it at one time for building a houseboat, so if anyone has any pics, input or suggestions send away.  Next time the Mooring of the Lusitinia 😀

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Categories: Underwater Adventure

George T Davie

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Composite Barge
Lifespan: Built 1898, Sunk 1945
Length: 177 ft (54.5m)
Depths: 75- 100ft (23-30m)
Location: Off Simcoe Island, Kingston, Ontario
GPS N44 06 79 W76 34 78


Need help getting out to the Davie?

The George T. Davie was a steamer owned by the Montreal Transportation Co.  She was built in Levis, Quebec by the George T.Davie shipbuilding yards in 1898.  This composite barge (wood and steel) was 177 ft in length, and sailed the Great Lakes carrying various cargos until April 18, 1945, when she sank for the second and last time.

The George T. Davie sank in June 12, 1911 near Alexandria Bay in the St. Lawrence River while carrying a cargo of grain.  The Calvin Co. of Garden Island tried unsuccessfully to raise her after several attempts.  Her stern lay on a ledge of rock and the bow in 65 ft of water.  

At this point Captain Gus Hinkley accepted the contract to raise the Davie; new to the salvaging business he was out to make a name for himself.   He immediately brought tree vessels and 16 men to the job.  He dry-docked two of the vessels, the barge Jessie and schooner Bertie Caulkins in Kingston in order to have holes bored through the sterns. These holes fomed eight 10- inch wells and through these were dropped two- inch iron chains, capable of lifting 50 tons.  

With this system Hinckley was prepared to raise 1,000 tons, and used divers to pass the chains under the wreck.  After securing the hatches, pipes were attached and pumps drained the hull of water. During the raising process she rolled briefly to one side and for a short time it looked as if the effort was for naught. With a little ingenuity and praise of his crew Hinckley made the adjustments to the chains and successfully raised the Davie.  Hinkley made a tidy sum for his salvaging efforts and the raising of the George T.Davie was one of many that brought him wide acclaim as an expert salvager. 

The George T. Davie sank while being towed from Oswego, New York, to Kingston by the tug the Salvage Prince.  She capsized and as the story goes one crewmember had to scurry up the keel to be rescued.  She sank in 75 to 100 ft, 3 miles off Pidgeon Island, in Lake Ontario, Can.

The Davie was rediscovered by Rick Neilson in 1983 and moored in 2000 after Harold Vandenburg found her.  This wreck is a divers dream; she is in pristine condition and features a ship wheel at the helm.  The mooring line is placed about 20 ft off the wreck; divers first see the boilers and a winch.  Her decks sit in 75 ft and working ones way from the stern, checking out the holds on your way to the wheelhouse one of the best tours to cover the wreck.  Highlights on the wreck are a dory still intact, crane complete with shovelhead, ships wheel and the wheelhouse.

This is a dive that is best done at least twice as there is much to see. Limiting factors are depth, so monitoring time and air closely are a must.  Good buoyancy is also essential as there is a light dusting of silt on the wreck and the bottom is of a silt composition.

story by Tom Wilson  The strongest impression when first seeing this wreck is its impressive size: I mean, it’s a 177-foot barge that screams out DIVE ME. The George T. Davie started out in Levis, PQ’s George T. Davie shipbuilding yards in 1898, and sailed the St Lawrence and Lake Ontario until its untimely demise on April 18, 1945. While being towed from Oswego, New York, to Kingston, Ontario, by the tug “Salvage Prince,” she capsized and, as the story goes, the one crew member had to scurry up its keel to be rescued. She sat all alone on the bottom until discovered in 1983 by Rick Neilson and finally, in 2000, was moored for all to enjoy.

Coming down the line to about 15 ft (3m) off the bow, the first things you encounter are the boilers and winch. The best way, so far, to dive her is go to your left and around the bow, to the stern on the topside (75ft [23m]). Check out the holds on the way to the wheelhouse, where you can poke your head in and take a peek inside. Coming around the stern, you’ll see the wheel and rudder. Now for the fun stuff, once you have hit the bottom side of the lake. The top half of the wheelhouse is just off the wreck. Then the crane comes in view, complete with shovel head. Between the crane and the wreck is a dory with the mast still inside. On the way back to the wreck, there’s a coal shovel and rigging wire. Then you’re back on the line. There’s lots to see and play with – well worth a second dive.

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Categories: Underwater Adventure