My First Dive of 2021 – June 9

I went on my first dive of the season last evening on Lock 23.

Conditions are now pretty much “normal” with the exception of low water.

Current was moderate throughout the dive, though it felt strong heading south at the start and then again north at the end, largely because of low weed growth.

Stride jump off the public dock is safe despite the low water, but note that you immediately feel the current so stay close to your buddies.

When you enter at the public dock, you don’t really cross a discernible road but if you’re paying attention, the sidewalk is obvious. Last night it sat at 10 feet.

Here’s a diagram of our route. The current pulled us away from shore unless we fought it to maintain our depth. We let it pull us out to 33 feet (almost the canal’s maximum depth during the approach) and chose to drift with it, arriving at the locks at the north side of the large Lock 23. As soon as we crossed its sill, we went up the wall and crossed over and down to the front of the centre lock area. Current at the top of the wall (13 feet) was surprisingly mild.

After dropping to the canal bottom again, we swam north across the current. We didn’t see any of the landmarks in front of the middle Rapide Plat Lock but did note the rounded supports of the Hydroelectric Plant. We entered at its most northern spot, then followed our usual route once inside. Interestingly, there were minimal back eddies.

Visibility was quite good – I’d say 12-15 feet.

Temperature was 15C/60F. I was comfortable enough for an hour in the water, though I sure got the shivers when I was trying to remove gear at the end of the dive!

The municipality has put the floating docks in the water this week so arrival at the beach includes noticing the shadows of the docks overhead as you swim in. It always feels strange coming in over sand at this point in the season.

As COVID general restrictions relax, I’m looking forward to seeing many divers here this summer!