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Great Lakes dive for kids?


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#1 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:05 PM

I'm interested in going on a 2 week trip this summer with my 3 boys in my motorhome to one of the Great Lakes. Is there a particular area where I might be able to bring them where we can check out a number of shallow water wooden wrecks (say less than 60')? They have 6-mm suits and have dove in water to around 50 but certainly the younger one is better in temps in the upper 50's or more. The obvious desirable traits are for larger wrecks, older wrecks and largely intact wrecks though it is understood that most of these traits will only be found at depth. Also, what type of visibility might be expected in the July-August timeframe? From an economics viewpoint, I can likely afford a couple of charters but it is financially much easier for either shore dives or popular areas where I can rent our own boat and travel out to the site.

I also had heard that there was the remains of an underwater habitat at Point Traverse in Georgian Bay in Ontario. There is also supposed to be a sunken cabin cruiser and both sites are accessible through shore dives. Has anyone done these?

Any help is appreciated as I start planning now for this next summer.
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#2 dougm

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:42 PM

Here are some links that might help although I personally have yet to dive in this area. It will be my summer 2006 project.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/...iv/activ2_E.asp
http://www.tobermory.org/diving.html
http://www.saveontar...iverguides.html

Keep in mind that on your way you may consider the Kingston Ontario area of the St Lawrence River.
And be possitive, wrecks apprently keep very well in the icy fresh water.

#3 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 07:51 PM

Thanx Doug, I'm going to spend some time looking through these tonight. Do you know much about Point Traverse in Prince Edward Bay? I found this site which looks interesting,

http://www.pec.on.ca....html#ducksdive
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#4 Redsox04

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 02:09 AM

Completely off topic, but noooooooooooooo wayyyyyyyyyyy I grew up in Newport. Ugh I gotta get home I hear Anthony's Seafood calling me....

#5 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 12:58 PM

Completely off topic, but noooooooooooooo wayyyyyyyyyyy I grew up in Newport. Ugh I gotta get home I hear Anthony's Seafood calling me....



Well I'll trade with ya for Hawaii! We had a foot of snow, 50 mph wind and a high of 30 yesterday! Today is sunny but still in the low 30's though we are supposed to get up to 50 by the end of the week.

But alas, Anthonys is good and one of my favorites too, I love their homemade chowders!
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#6 ereediver

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:58 PM

Tom not sure when you are going, but if your are pondering Lake Erie especially around Cleveland, I'll try to work on some people I'm getting to know for some sites . So far I know of six wrecks that will be Bouyed this summer, and the lake is shallow. Those wrecks are in 90 feet or less. I have little experience in diving, so far, but I am starting to know folks, so I can try to get you more info if needed.

#7 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 02:26 PM

Tom not sure when you are going, but if your are pondering Lake Erie especially around Cleveland, I'll try to work on some people I'm getting to know for some sites . So far I know of six wrecks that will be Bouyed this summer, and the lake is shallow. Those wrecks are in 90 feet or less. I have little experience in diving, so far, but I am starting to know folks, so I can try to get you more info if needed.

I've started to do a little more planning on this and here is roughly what I'm thinking.

Leave RI on 07/20 pm and go to Dutch Springs in PA for the day on 07/21 as it will be good for my boys to get some practice on "wrecks" in a controlled environment. Leave PA at night on 07/21 and drive to Alpena, MI. This means that we will pass rather close to Cleveland, OH. So perhaps might you be interested in getting together on Saturday, 22 July and dive together with us? I don't know your area but perhaps we can do one of the shallower wrecks. I'd prefer a shore dive if that is possible as we will have all of our gear with us in the motorhome. Either way, this will be our only opportunity for a Lake Erie dive.

Continuing on, I'm thinking of diving the Nordmeer and possibly the Montana out of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, Alpena, MI. Both of these will require a boat charter so perhaps we will do this where just my oldest and I will do the Montana followed by all of us on the shallower Nordmeer. I also found several nice sounding wrecks at the Straits of Mackinac but have not found any charter facilities. The wrecks of Sandusky, Cedarville and William H. Barnum all look very interesting.

From there I'm thinking of going up to Tobermory and spending 3 or 4 days diving around Lake Ontario in the Fathom 5 National Marine Park. After that my plans are to go to Point Traverse and stay right on the dive shop grounds. There are a couple of shore dives as well as a number of charter dives that we will hopefully do.

From there we will begin to head home with a stop off at Lake George, NY for a final day of diving.

I'm thinking that this trip will be approximately 18 days. I'd like to try and do as many interesting shore dives as we can as these will keep my costs down but I also realize that I'll need to do charter boats for most of the intact wreck sites.

If anyone has any suggestions and/or would like to join us along our way, just chime in! My goal is to try and share an overall wreck diving holiday by visiting throughout the Great Lakes with my boys.
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#8 ereediver

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 12:05 AM

Keep me in mind as you finalize your plans, The weekend of July 22 might actually work for me. Hopefully by then I'll have a few more dives on my weight belt..PUN.... :birthday: and have better knowledge of the wrecks. There are none I know of that are shore dives, but I may have some boat options.

#9 seafox

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 03:16 PM

I'm interested in going on a 2 week trip this summer with my 3 boys in my motorhome to one of the Great Lakes. Is there a particular area where I might be able to bring them where we can check out a number of shallow water wooden wrecks (say less than 60')? They have 6-mm suits and have dove in water to around 50 but certainly the younger one is better in temps in the upper 50's or more. The obvious desirable traits are for larger wrecks, older wrecks and largely intact wrecks though it is understood that most of these traits will only be found at depth. Also, what type of visibility might be expected in the July-August timeframe? From an economics viewpoint, I can likely afford a couple of charters but it is financially much easier for either shore dives or popular areas where I can rent our own boat and travel out to the site.

I also had heard that there was the remains of an underwater habitat at Point Traverse in Georgian Bay in Ontario. There is also supposed to be a sunken cabin cruiser and both sites are accessible through shore dives. Has anyone done these?

Any help is appreciated as I start planning now for this next summer.


Tom, you might want to check the Brockville area of the St Lawrence river, in Ontario Canada.
http://www.scubaq.ca...rioscubadiving/
If you Google "Brockville diving" you may find what you need for a great two weeks!
Have fun,
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#10 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 07:06 PM

Well I've put together our agenda for a Great Lakes adventure with kids and already have a couple of SDers that we will meet along the way. If any others might like to join us for any of the dives, please let me know and I can provide additional details. The following is an overview of our intended adventure.

Leave Rhode Island on the evening of 19 July. Arrive at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, PA, on the morning of 20 July. Dive Dutch Springs on 20 and 21 July while staying over the night of the 20th. I realize that Dutch is NOT part of the Great Lakes but I figure that it will provide an easy entry experience for the boys with fresh water and "wrecks". Leaving Bethlehem, PA in the evening of 21 July and heading up to Cleveland, Ohio. On the afternoon of 22 July, we are meeting up with SDer ereediver for a Lake Erie charter. In particular, we are going out with Discovery Dives Charters to dive the Sand Merchant and The Craftsman. From Ohio we are heading up to meet SDer diverbrian at his LDS to fill our tanks as we head further north. On 25 July we have a charter on Lake Huron planned with diverbrian out of Alpena, MI, to visit the Nordmere.

After Alpena, it is time to head International as we will cross over at Port Huron and continue up to Tobermory on the banks of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. This is the home of Canada's first National Marine Park and proclaimed Scuba Diving Capital of Canada. Here we begin with a shore dive on 27 July at The Tugs. We then follow this with three days of charters through Divers Den. Our first charter dive is on 28 July to the San Jacinto and the City of Cleveland. The 29 July charter is just for Dad and my oldest son as the younger two need a minor break and the conditions are beyond their current experience as we will visit the Barque Arabia which has been proclaimed as "the best and most interesting wreck in Tobermory". The 2nd dive of this charter is to the Philo Scoville. We resume together for a 30 July charter to the Niagara II and The Caves.

We leave Tobermory on 01 August and head over to Prince Edwards Point on Lake Ontario. Here we will stay on the grounds of Ducks Dive Charters and Cottages. We have a 02 August charter planned to visit the Annie Falconer while our second dive is TBD on one of the local Duck Island wrecks. Our 03 August dives will be shore dives to the Sublimnos, which was the first under ice habitat. The second dive will be on a 30' Owens cabin cruiser. This will conclude our diving as we will return to the U.S. on 03 August and then stop off at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, before returning home.

Certainly there were other sites that we wanted to visit, especially in the Brockville area, but time and finances are being extended more than they should! However we are already considering such for the summer of 2007.
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#11 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 08:42 PM

The Great Lakes adventure with kids is currently underway but I thought I'd give a partial update before we head into Canada tomorrow. We left RI at night on 19 July and arrived at Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, PA, for their 10 am opening on 20 July. We dove Dutch on both 20 and 21 July and then left for Ohio. The first two attached pics are the Cessna plane at Dutch.

Plane0721.jpg Planethch0721.jpg

We left Dutch at closing time on the evening of 21 July for a planned Lake Erie charter dive with SDer ereediver out of Cleveland. Unfortunately the weather kicked up on 22 July and our afternoon charter was nixed. However hopefully we'll have the pleasure of diving with ereediver sometime in the future. We continued into OH and dove at Portage Quarry on 23 July for an enjoyable and relaxing day diving. Pic 3 is the Gypsy mobile parked aside the quarry while pic 4 is my oldest son "steering" one of the sunken boats.

Princess072306a.jpg BenBoat072306.jpg

Today (25 July) was our Lake Huron charter out of Alpena, MI with SDer diverbrian to visit the Nordmere. And what a wonderful day we had! The Nordmere is a 1967 steel hulled freighter wreck that is relatively in-tact and shallow. The conditions were beautiful with sun and little water movements above and below the surface. Unfortunately I split one of my drysuit latex wrist seals as I was putting it on. We put some duct tape around it and I still did two dives but I did flood out the suit on both! Regardless the dives were just wonderful as Brian buddied with my two oldest boys and I buddied with my youngest (and it is his 12th birthday today!). Everyone still had a blast and pics 5 through 8 are from our day on Lake Huron (note the remains of Nordmere in the background). Much thanx to Brian for joining along.

Nord072506b.jpg NordFish072506a.jpg Boys072506a.jpg BrianTH072506.jpg

Tomorrow our travels bring us to Tobermory as we have 7 dives planned over the next 6 days. This will be our first "international" foyer!
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#12 Diverbrian

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Posted 25 July 2006 - 09:15 PM

I had a blast with you and yours today! I hope that you enjoy the rest of your trip.
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#13 ScubaGypsy

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 01:58 PM

My "Great Lakes dive adventures with kids" summer tour was completed last weekend (Aug 06 we arrived back in Rhode Island) and Brian has asked that I complete my report. After we left Brian in Alpena, MI, our next stop was actually in Lansing, MI, as I had ripped my DUI wrist seal while on the Nordmere charter with Brian. I was able to find replacement zip seals in Lansing before I traveled into Canada. We traveled on 26 July into Canada and up to Tobermory and its Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada. I had already made arrangements for local charters through Divers Den. This was a wonderful shop as the folks could not have been more accomodating and welcoming (which is not always the case when folks see youngsters diving).

Our first charter was on 28 July and was actually out of the Park to two wrecks off of Yeo Island that are seldom visited (in fact it was the first time that Divers Den had gone to them this year). The first wreck was to the "San Jacento" which was a 130' wooden schooner originally built in 1856 and foundered in 1881. It is a beautiful example of the wooden schooners in the Great Lakes as there were not that many zebra mussels because of the water temperatures and depth. Our dive recorded a 77' depth, 27 minute bottom time and a bottom temperature of 46 degrees. The wreck is collapsed but intact including rigging, blocks, anchors, and a mast with a crows nest. After an hour and a half surface interval, we dove the "City of Cleveland". This wooden schooner was built in 1882 and sunk in 1901. It is a shallower wreck with debris spread out over a large area. I think my boys actually enjoyed it more as it was in shallower, and thus warmer, water. We recorded a 26' depth, 26 minute bottom time with a bottom temperature of 68 degrees.

On 29 July we did charters to the Niagara II artificial reef and the Caves. The Niagara II goes to a depth of 100' at the bottom but we stayed near the top by the wheelhouse as we recorded a 65' depth, 24 minute bottom time and a temperature of 46 degrees. This was fun but again the lower temperature did chill my two younger boys in particular. Our second dive at the "Caves" is actually an open cavern but it provided a nice diversity for our trip and we enjoyed a 31 minute dive at a maximum depth of 52' (which was only at the end as most of the dive was above 20') and a bottom temperature of 66 degrees.

30 July was a charter for just my oldest son and me as we visited one of the premier wrecks in the area that was recommended by Brian called the, "Arabia." This 131' long schooner was built in 1853 and foundered in 1884. It is a beautiful wreck as it is mainly intact complete with 3 anchors, capstans, winch pulls, blocks and tackle, masts laying across (including one with a crows nest) and a wonderfully intact bowspirit. Our maximum depth was 101' for 24 minutes with a bottom temperature of 43 degrees. This particular wreck was easily the favorite for both my oldest son and me. Our second dive was a return to the Niagara II. This time with just my oldest son, we travelled throughout the wreck as our maximum depth was 79' with a 20 minute bottom time and low temperature of 43 degrees.

On 31 July we did a shore dive in Big Tub Harbor on "The Tugs." This was a 43' depth dive for 23 minutes (we were burning off left over gas) with a temperature of 70.

We certainly enjoyed our visit up in Tobermory and would love to return someday. We left on 01 August and traveled down to Point Traverse which is on Prince Edwards Bay on Lake Ontario. For this stay we camped right on the grounds of our hosts at Ducks Dive and once again we had the pleasure of meeting very welcoming and accomodating folks. The weather was stormy for our first few days although we were able to get in shore dives on both 02 and 03 August. The shore dives were interesting as we checked out a sunken cabin cruiser, an old truck and the Subliminos underwater habitat. These dives were all under 45' and the water temperatures were 66 degrees. It should be noted that the visibility was still decent compared to New England but was more in the 10-20' range as compared to the 40'+ visibility found in Tobermory. We also noted much more activity with the zebra mussels.

On 04 August we went out for our only charter but it was wonderful as by this time in our trip my boys had each progressed so much with their abilities. Our first stop was on the "Olive Branch". This 92' long 2-masted wooden schooner was built in 1871 and sunk in 1880. It is mostly intact as it is sitting upright. The original decking, blocks, anchors, and steering wheel are present while the stern has fallen back. Our dive was to a depth of 94' for 23 minutes with a bottom temperature of 57 degrees. This was the deepest dive that my youngest has ever done and he and both of his brothers did fabulous! Our second dive was on the "Annie Falconer." This 110' long, 2-masted wooden schooner was built in 1867 and sunk in 1904. This wreck was also in nice condition as it is laying upright and has anchors, blocks, windlasses, etc. Our dive was to 77' for 25 minutes and a bottom temperature of 63 degrees.

We left Canada on 05 August and headed back to Rhode Island with our final stop at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. It was really remarkable seeing how quickly myy boys improved over the course of our trip. Perhaps the smartest thing I did in preparation was to begin our adventures at the quarries in Dutch Springs and Portage. The time that we spent there served us well as my boys became used to fresh water and diving on "wrecks" while maintaining buoyancy and trim and not stirring up the bottom. We really did have a ball and are already discussing our plans for next summer to include the Kingston and Brockville areas.

Overall I recorded 20 dives while my boys each recorded between 15 and 18. I am very proud how well they did as all of the charters were duly impressed and invited us to rejoin them anytime that we are able to.



Tobysign.jpg Marsh072906b.jpg BoysLH080306.jpg Ducks080206.jpg Princ080306b.jpg DadColin080406.jpg TeamH080406a.jpg
The sea is everything........Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' ..........

Capt. Nemo...........20,000 Leagues under the Sea

#14 Diverbrian

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the update. Sounds like a great trip!
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#15 annasea

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:41 PM

Although I only skimmed your report, I did check out the pictures. What a great dad you are, Tom! Your sons are very fortunate to have such a cool, involved father! :cool2:













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