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Ontario Diver's Log - KINGSTON

Arguably the best diving spot in Ontario is Kingston. (There are some who would call this statement heresy, of course, and for them there are a few words on Tobermory elsewhere.)

There has been a lot of marine traffic through here, so the sea's percentage on the vessels that try to cross adds up to quite a few hulls. Also, Kingston is a major Great Lakes port. Quite a number of older vessels were deliberately sunk some years ago in an area south of Collins Bay just to get rid of them, and of course yesterday's trash is today's treasure.

For diving the area, I recommend either of the diveboats Seadeucer (better known as the Seadunker after losing a bout with the weather in the summer of 1996) or Brooke Lauren, operating out of Collins Bay. Kingston Dive Centre, 1-613-6-DIVING, can get you booked with either of them. Me, I'm just a satisfied customer, although I should mention that Seadeucer's people, Terry, Harold, and John, are old friends of mine from being in the same dive club years ago and logging a lot of time underwater together. Brooke Lauren has all the air refills you could possibly need, available right onboard, and its captain, Spencer, is one of the best.

Kingston Wrecks

An old dredging vessel, this sank unexpectedly in 120' of water off Collins Bay. Lots and lots of machinery and stuff, including the digging arm with an old-fashioned clamshell bucket hanging open in the darkness. This was the seagoing version of the classic steam shovel. When I first dove this wreck, it could be a night dive at 10 in the morning, but the zebra mussels have done wonders for water clarity, and much more sunlight now penetrates to depth. During the summer of 1996, it became possible to see the whole wreck from a single vantage point. This is one of my favourite wrecks.

One of the more newly-discovered wrecks in the Kingston area. Sitting in 75'.

A recently-discovered wreck; it was featured in a presentation at Shipwrecks '96.

Wolfe Islander
This was the original car ferry that ran between Kingston and Wolfe Island. After it was retired, it was deliberately sunk as a dive spot. It sits upright in 80' of water, and can be penetrated by the experienced diver. An old motorcycle is on display on the ferry deck.

A vessel that seems to have burned before sinking; nowadays it's about 70% encrusted with zebra mussels. It's sitting in only a bit more than 50' of water, and in late summer and early fall the thermocline dips that deep, so the warmer water may be a factor in how quickly the little buggers grow here.

Effie Mae
An old Kingston-area dive boat that got too old to keep taking divers out to the wrecks, so now she waits for divers to come to her. Sitting upright just off the stern of the Aloha, so both can be visited on the same dive.

City of Sheboygan
A bit further out to the west of Kingston, this wreck sits in 100' of water. It is in excellent condition, and part of the mizzen mast is still standing.

A side-paddle steamer, this one has huge A-frames, boilers, and pistons. If you spend too long looking at these, though, you won't have enough time to swim the length of the vessel; it's a long one.

A middling deep wreck, at 85', with a fair bit to see including the steering wheel. This was the site of two fatalities on different occasions back in the summer of 1992, and got a bit of a reputation from that, but there's nothing uniquely dangerous about this wreck. I dove it that September, and was quite alert on that dive!

"The Graveyard"
There's an area south of Collins Bay called the "graveyard", where old tired ships were sunk many years ago after being towed out of Kingston harbour. There's a lot to see, with a dozen or more wrecks in close proximity. Not all of the wrecks have been discovered yet, and the proper names of the discovered ones are not all known, so some have been dubbed with names like the "Titanic" and the "Queen Mary", while the "Harold John" is named after its discoverers, at least when its discoverers are the ones driving the dive boat.

Kingston Links


Last modified 2004-11-17 by Anthony DeBoer.