Trip Report: Western Islands in Georgian Bay, July 23-24, 2022

by Martin Bonert

We had a good Western Islands dive with eight divers in total. Ian Thompson, as assistant Divemaster, and I provided our new divers with 5 more dives under their belts. Those without cold water experience, or with limited number of dives, experienced many opportunities to work on their buoyancy and coldwater skills. There were several shallow dives and two low visibility dives to expand their diving experience.

The weather prevented us from diving three of the popular wrecks (Mapledawn, Michigan and Thomas Cranage). The winds were 15-25 knots westerly and south-westerly. The small boat provided training experience for keeping one’s gear together. It also limited the usual process of having everyone geared up on arrival at the dive site.

Water temperatures were warm on all sites. Hoods and double thickness of 7 mm wet suits were not required on the second day, and it was a personal choice on the first day. The late July timeframe meant that the water had time to warm up! All in all, we had a good, fun and incident-free dive weekend. One of the divers reported, “Yes, all the [preparation] feels worth it after the dive. Although we didn’t get to dive at the most popular sites, our group was great and the weather was nice. I am excited for Tobermory. Everyone speaks highly of the dive sites over there too.”

Special shout out to Ian Thompson. Thanks for your help on the weekend. It was good to have a second experienced dive leader around. Your help and patience were much appreciated both by me and the diving participants.

Day 1: Out of Cedar Point

Marquette
Visibility: Good at 25 ft
Depth: 30-40 ft
1st Dive: Shakedown Dive 20 minutes
2nd Dive: longer dive to use the remaining air

Lottie Wolfe
Visibility: Good at 20-25ft
Depth: 25 ft
Afternoon dive: 40-50 minutes
Highlights: Oswald and I saw the largest Crayfish ever! (6-8 inches long, with body of an inch in diameter, main claw was about 2 inches)



Day 2: Out of the Penetanguishene Township dock

Dove the Chippewa and Wales wrecks which are located in the inside passage, north of Beausoleil Island. Both wrecks are in small bays / rivers, and known to the operator. Weather and strong winds basically forced us to dive these wrecks in a sheltered area. Both are barges, mostly just lumber, I would consider them worth diving once in a dive career.

Chippewa
Depth: 8-15 ft
Visibility: Low, about 5 ft.
Description: Tannin coloured water, some fish, muddy bottom.

Wales
Depth: 5-10 feet
Visibility: Low, about 5 ft.
Description: Tannin coloured water, some fish, muddy bottom.

Wreck of the Marquette, Georgian Bay