Dive Conditions Update

Along with anyone living in southern Ontario and Quebec this spring, we’ve been watching carefully the weather reports and specifically rainfall statistics… and we’ve been driving up and down the shorelines to inspect areas we know. There has been flooding and damage to many, many riverside properties.

Lake Ontario levels remain higher than at any time in the last century and the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board is carefully releasing the extra volume at as safe a rate as possible – to reduce water levels along affected shorelines while still protecting Montreal from flooding.  They expect it to take several weeks. We’ve learned a lot about the strain this has put on international shipping: freighters have difficulty maneuvering upstream against the dramatically increased current and are in constant contact with authorities regarding conditions.

Morrisburg itself is protected from extreme water level changes by the dams 12 km upstream at Iroquois and 40 km downstream at Cornwall.  Therefore the water level at the Lock 23 site is virtually unaffected. It’s the current that has dramatically changed dive conditions, and ongoing rainy days are causing an accumulation of additional sediment.

Current Conditions:

  • FAST CURRENT on the approach drift in the canal. Normally it takes about 15-17 minutes to drift from the entry point to the lock gates. Yesterday it was fairly normal in the centre but much, much swifter at the edges – it took a mere 7 minutes on the inside drift to the Hydroelectric Plant sluice gates.
  • EXTREME CURRENT at the gates. Normally divers can stop at the gates and check on buddies, etc., before going up and over whatever wall they’ve arrived at. At present it is extremely difficult to do so – divers are easily swept up and over the gates by the current.
  • MODERATE CURRENT on the exit swim. Normally there is no current at the end of the locks and on the way out – divers set their compasses to NNE to consistently exit at the beach. We are currently swimming at a NW (and occasionally almost W) setting to reach our planned exit point.
  • EXTREME BACK-EDDIES and whirlpools in the locks themselves. It is difficult even on the river bottom to move against them – feeling suddenly like you’re battling that current upriver. It settles as you move downstream but it can be very fatiguing.
  • SILT HILLS where you don’t expect them… like on the wrong sides of gates! Likely this is due to back-eddies.
  • POOR VISIBILITY. Sediment and stirred up waters has reduced visibility on occasion to 5-8 feet.

On the bright side… it’s early in the season and there are ALMOST NO WEEDS!!

All of this provides a new environment for divers – it can be a tremendous amount of fun if (1) you are experienced with currents, (2) you are comfortable working with the currents and eddies, letting them on occasion carry you over and beyond a difficult spot, (3) you know the landmarks and layout of this dive site and can proceed from where the current has set you down, and (4) you have excellent air management even with increased physical demands.

At this time, therefore, it should be considered an appropriate dive site for experienced, advanced divers only who have excellent air management, good lights, a compass and a surface marker buoy for use on the exit swim (DON’T try using it in the locks!).

Good diving to you!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions!

Sydney

sydneyschnurr@gmail.com

 

 

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Summer Dive Season is Almost Here!

I re-registered the domain name today… to a simple morrisburgdivesites.com.

My main priority for this winter’s start-up was to get the basic dive routes through the locks detailed. There will be more posts on specific spots as I finish them (though I don’t have as much time in the summer), plus a fair amount of historical information that I think would be fun to share.

The guides you see here are my own, based upon my own dives at this wonderful site. I would greatly love to get feedback on what you think could be improved or added. If you have photos you’d like to share, let me know.  Although I have many Go-Pro videos of the dives, I chose to use still photos to explain spots – I just think it works better for readers. There’s certainly room for videos as well.

Please contact me at sydneyschnurr@gmail.com with anything and everything you have to say!

I’m looking forward to the season – good diving to you!!

Sydney

 

 

 

The Outline is Taking Shape

A busy fall and holiday season are behind; quiet (haha) winter months lie ahead. I’ve been sketching site plans and poring over videos to isolate useful photos and I’m excited about getting them into posts.

I’ve put introductory notes as pages across the top here – explaining the overall dive site along with seasonal conditions. I’m entering dive route particulars as headings along the side. This may change but it seems to work best right now.

There’s a vast amount of material to organize. And there’s so much yet to learn!

If you have suggestions or input of any kind, please let me know. Contact me directly at sydneyschnurr@gmail.com. Good diving to you!

Sydney

 

 

Hello!

Hello!

You’ve arrived at the earliest possible moment in this website’s development… the point at which I have almost nothing to offer. But that’s OK – it’s going to change quickly.

The goal? To provide an in-depth guide to diving from shore in Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada. It will include photos, site guides, explanations, history. It’ll be quite simple at first but expand regularly as new information is gained from repetitive dives.

The river dives here are drift dives, and they last about an hour. I get one chance at checking details as I skim along. It’s a whole lot of fun but the learning (and the recording) process can be slow.

At first you’ll get a lot of words.  You’ll see things like “diagram” or “photo” in the middle of a post or page… which means I’ve got them but haven’t adjusted them for insertion yet.  Just keep checking back.

It’s going to be an adventure. I’m glad you’ve come along!

Sydney