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Wreck Diving - St. Lawrence Seaway

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by Golfer38, May 7, 2012.

  1. Golfer38

    Golfer38 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Maryland
    Hi all, My son (13yo) and I started diving last Nov (11'). We have about 35 dives under our belt with all but the OW checkout dives (4) in the Grand Cayman. We completed our AOW this past month while in the Grand Cayman (our second trip).

    When diving in the Caymans (Nov and April) we only wore a rashguard and swim trunks and the water wad about 75-80 degrees. We are now looking to dive a different environment this summer and it looks like Wreck Diving in the St Lawrence may be the answer.

    We did not like what we had to wear during our checkout dives in a quarry during Nov. The wetsuits were tight (7mm) and made diving such a drag that we almost quit. My weights were about 35#'s compared to 13#'s in the Cayman. To us it didnt make diving all that fun.

    This will be our first real dives outside of the Caymans, I am wondering what the recommendations would be for gear? We have our own bcd, reg, fins and mask. I am referring to the suit (if needed). I am told that the water is in the 70's in June up there with no thermocline. If the Caymans is almost the same, would I even need a suit?

    Still learning the ropes,

  2. petrieps

    petrieps Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Massachusetts
    When I was there I wore a 7mm farmer john and jacket. I wouldn't wear anything less there. Probably could get away with a 5 though.
  3. Mark Derail

    Mark Derail Photographer

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Montreal, Quebec CA
    I recommend diving in Ontario, near Brockville. Like Lock 21. Also Lake Ontario.
    Though I haven't dove those places yet, I know many that have.

    Diving in the St-Lawrence near Montreal / Valleyfield during the summer months, say mid-June through late August, a 3mm full wetsuit is fine.

    If you would go now, it's cold water like the 2nd or 3rd thermocline of a quarry. Thus 7mm or better w/boots & head, plus the current might be stronger.

    In the summer, it's warm like Lake Champlain, just with more current. Going to 100 feet in the summer in Lake Champlain near Burlington, would get chilly...but I wouldn't even dive that deep, plenty of stuff at 50 feet and less.

    If you've never done a drift dive - you might want to try a regular lake first - for practice, and go with a group / guide(s) for St-Lawrence drift dives, as they will know the entry & exit points.

    Just know that for diving in Quebec, you need a FQAS permit, which is a "written exam & one checkout dive w/instructor" and can cost you 75$ per person (part of the 75$ goes to the instructor). You then renew the FQAS every 3 years, unless you haven't dove in 12+ months.

    Ontario has none of that.

    Makes me wonder - how good is the diving in Lake Ontario right off the Fort Niagara State Park (US)? Seems like a few nice spots for shore diving & a nice beach.
  4. dv

    dv Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I've done around 12 dives with fairly large groups at different locations along the seaway. I've never seen anyone go without a full wetsuit though. It does get up to the low 70's sure, but that's only for a short amount of the dive season. Once it gets in the 60's you ditch the hood though, and maybe use thinner gloves, which makes the dives much more enjoyable. I wouldn't want anything less than a 5mm full suit though.
  5. Bossman

    Bossman Nassau Grouper

    I think you'll like it. Make sure you get more dives in similar environmental conditions first, especially your son. Cold water changes things in a hurry, from breathing, to mobility in a thicker suit, etc. So some colder quarry dives until you're really comfortable and not "ready to quit".

    Warm to cold is a big transition every time unless you dive cold a lot. Get used to it and learn to enjoy that it's different than warm water sight seeing, you'll experience much more.
  6. billgraham

    billgraham Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: Long Island, New York
    It's been a while since I dove there, but from what I remember you'll need a full suit, gloves, boots, etc. There are moorings on a lot of the wrecks and those lines can cut your hands, I think there were also lots of zebra mussels-- sharp. Some of the spots had a ton of current and there are some challenging dives, so keep it simple. Good luck!
  7. bleeb

    bleeb Photographer

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ottawa, Canada
    This is meant to be constructive and not belittling, and I certainly can't judge your buoyancy without seeing you dive, but 35 lbs is a large enough number to be worth a second opinion. That much weight could make your experience a lot less pleasant, especially if it turned out that 10-15 lbs were unnecessary. It's not possible to say over the Internet whether it happened or not, but it's unfortunately common for instructors or guides to overweight students and new divers to make it easier to go down, at the expense of (among other things) more weight to lug around on the surface, making buoyancy control more challenging, and in some extreme cases, greater risks in an emergency. If you can do a better weight check in cold water gear, or get a local mentor to give you a hand, it might not take away quite as much of the fun for you.
  8. RTee

    RTee Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, ON
    Couple points...I use 14 lbs wearing a full length 3mm wetsuit and using an Al 80 cft down south and about 30 when diving 7mm + a 7mm shortie on top locally.

    St Lawrence Seaway...I dive it regularly from early spring (39 - 41 F) to late fall (50 -52F). Mid Jul - beg Aug, I have hit 73F in the seaway as deep down as 100 ft. When not diving doubles, some of those dives were done only wearing a full length 3mm with a Bare Chicken vest underneath (8-10 lbs). Therefore you should be fine using a full length 5mm or 7mm (16.5 lbs for me or 20.5 lbs with Chicken vest) without the shorty on top.
  9. elan

    elan DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I would not dive anything thiner than 7 mil in St lawrence. It gets to lower 70s in August but if you do a weekend of diving you can be quite cold at the end wearing anything less.
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    The ocean here doesn't usually get much above 60F at best (if that, some years). Around that temp. I use just the top to my 7 mil farmer john. But in summer in the NY area it can get to 70 or so and that means a shortie for me--I usually consider the shortie when it gets above 65. It's impossible to answer the old question "What should I wear for what water temp.?" because people vary in cold tolerance so much. Yet people keep trying to answer it. If not sure, I guess the best idea is to rent something one time and find out what you need for what temp. I do much agree with wearing gloves, probably thick ones, as the wrecks there are probably similar to all the NS stuff.

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