I can comfortably say that Lock 23 conditions have returned to their pre-2017 state – we’re going to forget that last year even happened and get out there and enjoy!
For those of you who ventured out last summer, you’ll remember that extreme flooding downstream from Lake Ontario wreaked havoc on both shoreline properties and shipping channel traffic; in response to high water levels, the Seaway was forced to dramatically increase river flow in our area. This resulted in treacherous currents throughout Lock 23 and accompanying changes in eddies that were perilous for inexperienced divers.
That is all behind us now but it bears mentioning that there have been some alterations in landmarks of the overall site. We’re going to spend some time reviewing all the dive routes and pass along the changes to you – shifting of some structures, more than normal deterioration in others, and silt build-ups in strange spots. As I get this information, I’ll update the related posts.
In the meantime, the river is slow to warm up though hot, sunny days are on the horizon. Today it remains 16.5/62F. Visibility is not bad – 10 to 12 feet. Of course weed growth is low at the start of the season so the current feels stronger in the shallows. It’s a nice time to get videos and photos of structures before weeds obscure the details.
The area where the Chem Norma went aground has caused little damage and the large wedge into the clay will quickly fill in. In the photo below, the upstream stairway leading from the “New Lock” to the outer park area was moved and bent, and large rocks and gravel were shoved up around some bollards and over into the lock itself, but otherwise there is not much to see. The ship was wedged almost exactly between these two stairways.
If you drift along the outermost wall until you hit the upstream sill of the lock, and only then ascend the wall, you’ll have to work quickly because that is exactly where the stairway is and where the bow of the ship cut into the berm. You must move across the current and over the concrete (where the bollards are set) to get to the hill and the stairs.
Once the water is warmer and my fingers can work the GoPro properly as I maneuver around these things, I’ll pass the information along.
Good diving to you!