A few divers have been out during this past week, social distancing at entry and exit, and giving non-divers lots of space. The beach is closed but divers have exited there without interference.
Water levels continue to be low, at least as low as last summer if not moreso. The International River Board is keeping the gates open at Cornwall to continue reducing Lake Ontario levels; they won’t be reducing flows until all concern for spring flooding is past.
This means that the current is extremely quick at Lock 23. Speedy current plus shallow water equals increased eddies and strong upward water force at the lock walls. As you ascend to the top of the walls, you may find yourself in as little as 10-11 feet of water – be vigilant as there are already a lot of seadoos and pleasure crafts in the area. It will likely be a whole lot busier this weekend.
Strong current is felt the most at entry if you choose to cross to the far wall; the inner Hydroelectric Plant route is a bit quieter. The current is also very noticeable at exit since weeds are low; you swim over sand (silt) with few obstacles. Be certain to deploy a surface marker buoy as you near shore – there are no weeds to hide in as boats pass overhead.
Eddies are quick and can be troublesome within the locks if you are not comfortable with them. The current is picking up a lot of bottom debris and tossing it around with all the normal spring plant matter moving downstream, making visibility pretty bad.
From my standpoint the dive is currently only appropriate for divers experienced in this environment.
River temperature is currently 14C/57F.
I’ll be wandering about this weekend chatting with divers. Otherwise let me know your experiences with these conditions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!