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					                                                                                       July 2008

                               Ontario Diver    Official Newsletter of the Ontario Underwater Council

Sturgeon of the St. Clair River                                      By Mike Napran, OUC Regional
                                                                     Coordinator, Ontario West and
                                                                     President of London Skin &
                                                                     Scuba Club

The Sturgeon that
are found in the St.
Clair River every
spring look like
they came right out
of the movie Juras-
sic Park. They are
grey in colour, doc-
ile, BIG , and have
a very prehistoric
look to them. Some
of these fish are
over 5 feet long. To
get a good look and
the opportunity to
pet them you need
to do a SUPER-
MAN dive down
the river from the
mouth of the river
just north of the twin bridges. The best time to only 15 feet at this point but once on the bot-
see them is mid-May to the end of June when tom if you continue to head west you will be in
they are here to spawn.                          deeper water within 10 minutes. This is where
                                                 the Sturgeon are. They can be found anywhere
We enter the water at Canatara Park off of the from 55 to 74 feet in the gravel around the re-
beach. You can enter at either the southern-     mains of the Fontana, a wrecked schooner sit-
most beach or the next one north. If you enter ting right in the mouth of the river. On any
the more northern beach you will be able to see given dive you can see from 5 to as many as 30
the remains of the Gladstone, a steamer sitting Sturgeon. Some will even let you pet them if
in 10 - 15 feet of water. We swim on the sur- you are very slow moving and quiet (very little
face heading west and let the current take us    bubbles). With the current approaching 6
from the lake that we started in into the faster knots it is a WILD ride that can last up to an
moving river. When you are 90 degrees to the hour.
yacht club it is time to descend. Watch for
heavy boat traffic in the summer. The water is                               Continued on page 5
President’s Corner
Raimund Krob

Fellow members of Ontario’s Scuba Community:                to me, namely Jennifer, Jeremy, and Jamie, my now-
                                                            almost-fully-grown-up children.
This afternoon I was looking through my stash of old        (I won’t hear the end of that for a long time :)
dive log books and was surprised to find that I made my
very-first-ever dive more than 30 years ago, on June        Seriously though, I encourage all of you to reflect on
10th, 1978, in Skeleton Lake at the tender young age of     how you adjust the conservatism of your diving for
19 (no, please don’t do the math!).                         different situations and I look forward to diving with
                                                            many of you in my next 30 years and my next 2,000
At the time I was being certified by Instructors with       dives.
SUCI (Scarborough Underwater Club Inc.), an organi-
zation I still dive and teach with today.                   Have a great summer!

Since then I have made close to 2,000 dives all around      Yours in safe & enjoyable scuba diving,
the world in one of two fundamentally different ways:

The first way is diving in organized groups, as in with
Scuba Clubs or Stores, and the second way is just diving
with my circle of dive buddies.

When I dive in organized groups, I get to meet a lot
more new friends and dive buddies than I would other-       Raimund J. Krob
wise. I also appreciate Dive Masters taking care of the     President
organizing, planning, and pre-dive briefings, the Safety    Ontario Underwater Council
Divers standing by, and things like First Aid Kits, Medi-
cal O2, and AEDs in case they’re needed. I know that I      Landline: 416-283-0467
am always personally responsible for myself, but it is      Cellular: 416-427-4500
comforting to know that there is another layer of folks
looking out for my safety and well-being in addition to
just me. Also in diving with organized groups, there
always seem to be lots of folks around to help make         Want to give something back to the
things run smoothly. I also appreciate the little things,
like being completely covered as a teaching status In-      sport of Scuba in Ontario?
structor under my home club’s professional liability
insurance policy through OUC (this means that I don’t       OUC is now accepting nominations for the following
have to personally shell out $300 every year for the        positions coming up for election at our AGM on Sun-
privilege of instructing).                                  day, November 16th, 2008:

On the other hand, when I dive with my circle of dive       - OUC Director of Sport Safety (2yr. term)
buddies, or just join as a walk-on to a charter, I find I   - OUC Director of Finance* (2yr. term)
very much enjoy the greater spontaneity and freedom.        - OUC Regional Coordinators (1 yr. term)
Along with freedom comes responsibility however, and
I’m always acutely aware of the absence of the support-     Duties for the above roles will be posted shortly at
ing infrastructure that I’d normally enjoy in my diving     www.underwatercouncil.com in the “About” / “OUC
with organized groups. So to compensate for that, I in-     Team” section.
crease all the safety margins in my just-diving-with-
friends profiles accordingly.                               Nominations may submitted by regular mail or via e-
                                                            mail to: ouc.president@underwatercouncil.com
This is especially important to me now that I’m diving
increasingly with 3 dive buddies who are extra special      *Incumbent standing for position
The Value of Continuing Education
By Dave Noble, Director of Sport Safety

Continuing Education, sounds like going back       tures much quicker.
to school. Sounds expensive. Sounds bor-
ing. Well when it relates to diving, you might    The main thing for a newly certified diver to
want to rethink those ideas. If you’ve just got-  remember is that you have only mastered the
ten certified, you may be having a few nerves.    most basic skills to allow you to dive
What better way to build your confidence, by      safely. The recommendation I make to my
diving with other people and meeting new dive     new divers, is to consider training for advanced
buddies.                                          skills of Navigation, Deep, Advanced Buoy-
                                                  ancy, and perhaps Night. This will give you
When you became an Open Water Diver you understanding of the safety issues and give you
received a certification card. That was your      more confidence in your day-to-day diving. A
license to learn. Many of the dive skills needed diver with this experience and confidence is
to be a safe, competent diver are learned after much more noticeable than a new diver. In fact
the Open Water Course.                            you should consider the full specialties in Deep
                                                  and Buoyancy as well as completing a course
Continuing the adventure is one of the best at the Rescue level.
moves you can make.
                                                  Many new divers argue that they want to take
    By going beyond Open Water Diver (or more time to practice before moving on. For
      any other level you are at), you can:       most, this may be a mistake. You need to find
    Learn additional skills specific to your    buddies to dive with, and you don’t want to
      interests                                   learn things that you may have to un-learn
    Be more confident in and around the wa- later. Your instructor will help you to plot an
      ter                                         appropriate learning path for you.
    Continue to develop your dive skills
    Better understand the aquatic world         You need to remember to dive within Your
    Dive where only divers with appropriate limits of training and confidence and not be
      advanced training can go                    pushed by your buddy to do things you are not
    Work with new/more technical equip-         comfortable with.
    Learn from people with more formal          And lastly REMEMBER this: ANY diver can
      training and experience                     abort ANY dive at ANY time without having
                                                  to explain to anyone else.
Learning skills related to your interests will
usually increase the fun you have diving. Often Even the most experienced instructors and
there may be frustration trying to learn the dif- technical divers follow this credo. Some di-
ferences between skills learned in the air world vers have a three strike rule, some a one strike
compared to the underwater world. Photogra- rule, whatever you decide, don’t be pressured.
phy is a great example of this. A course here
will get you taking amazing underwater pic-       Stay alive to dive another day.
Hunting bloody red shrimp in the St. Lawrence
(Re-published with permission of Trevor Pritchard, Standard-Freeholder, Cornwall)

Editor’s note: OUC spoke with Dr. Jerome           from the University of Quebec at
Marty as this issue went to press and he           Montreal.
would be very grateful to Ontario divers if
they could report sightings of Hemimysis to        “They won’t have food to sustain their growth,”
him at jmarty@riverinstitute.ca                    he says.

To assist you in the identification of this mostThe invasion of Hemimysis anomala, the
recent of Great Lakes invasive species,         shrimp’s scientific name, began between 1948
please refer to:                                and 1965. During that time, says Marty, the for-
http://www.glerl.noaa.gov.hemimysis             mer Soviet Union released “hundreds of mil-
                                                lions” of shrimp from several different species
It’s got bulbous black eyes, a voracious appe- into the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, and the Sea
tite, and a name straight out of a Grade Z hor- of Azov.
ror flick. The bloody red shrimp, one of Can-
ada’s newest invasive species, has already      The goal, he says, was to encourage the growth
been found in Lake Michigan,
Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie.

And this summer, Dr. Jérôme
Marty plans to hunt for the nick-
lesized invertebrate with a taste
for zooplankton in the St. Law-
rence River.

“It’s been predicted to be here.
It’s likely to be found,” says
Marty, 34, a freshwater aquatic
ecologist who joined the St. Law-
rence River Institute last November.             of fish populations. But as time passed, the
                                                 bloody red shrimp – which fish rarely eat – mi-
The tiny shrimp, named for its distinctive red grated westward along the Volga and Rhine riv-
colour, can destroy entire aquatic ecosystems ers.
by gobbling up the food fish need to survive.
                                                 By 2004, they had been seen off the coast of the
Adults eat zooplankton – small organisms that United Kingdom. Two years later, the first
are energy sources for many fish – while the specimens appeared in Canadian waters – car-
juveniles consume algae.                         ried across the Atlantic, says Marty, in the bal-
                                                 last tanks of ships.
It’s a toxic combination that’s resulted in fish
stocks disappearing in European rivers and
lakes, says Marty, a recent Ph.D. graduate                                    Continued on page 5
Sturgeon cont’d...                                 Shrimp cont’d...
Our exit point is usually 1 km downstream          For now, says Marty, scientists can only make
south of the bridges. If you are very good on      educated guesses as to whether the bloody red
air you can even visit the Barge and Monarch       shrimp is living in the St. Lawrence River.
(tugboat) wrecks sitting just south of the
bridges in 25 - 55 feet of water. This dive is     In fact, with only 10 peer-reviewed papers
called a SUPERMAN because all you can do           published on the shrimp, there’s not much
with the current blasting so fast is put out       known at all about the species, including what
your arms and steer. What a BLAST!!!               impact it’s having on the Great Lakes

Diving in the St. Clair River requires the ut-     It’s those two questions Marty hopes to find
most care. You are dealing with an overhead        answers to this summer. He’s applied for an
environment due to the busy boat traffic (to       Environment Canada grant to search for the
surface, you have to swim underwater to            creatures along the river between Cornwall
shore), possible buddy separation, and very        and Kingston, with the help of his colleagues
fast water. Although a very demanding dive,        at the institute and researchers from both
the numerous fish (pike, pickerel, sheepshead,     sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
(from mid-May - end of June) and of course         Given they can survive in waters as cold as
the very fast current all make for a very excit-   two degrees Celsius, Marty says he wouldn’t
ing and exhilarating dive. If you are consider-    be surprised if the bloody red shrimp is already
ing doing this dive please contact someone at      here.
the Sarnia Underwater Club or the London
Skin and Scuba Club for an orientation.            Yet ironically, the shrimp has almost disap-
                                                   peared from the eastern European seas where
                                                   it was first introduced, he says. Scientists
                                                   don’t know why, says Marty, but believe there
 Do you have an interesting                        might be a virus or an unknown parasite at-
                                                   tacking the shrimp – which means it’s possible

 dive site, story, or photo
                                                   that if the species does establish itself in the St.
                                                   Lawrence River, it could one day be eradi-
 you’d like to share?                              And because they gather in large red “swarms”
                                                   along the shoreline, anglers and boaters can
 If so, please submit it to me, David Black,       easily detect the shrimp if they do appear, he
 OUC Director of Communications, at:               says.
 om                                                For now, says Marty, the best way to keep the
                                                   invasive species out of the waterway is to care-
 The submission deadline for our next issue        fully regulate the dumping of ballast water.
 is September 15th, 2008.                          “There is nothing (else) you can really do,” he
                                                   says. “When it’s there, it’s there.”
WIMBY DIVERS?                                                 History Mystery
                                                              There’s a large barge in the Niagara River just up-
                                                              stream of Miller’s Creek Marina (see screen clip from
                                                              OUC’s Shipwreck & Shore Dive Directory below).
                                                              Anyone knowing the history of this unique shipwreck
                                                              is asked to please contact us at
The Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association
(EOARA) invites you to become WIMBY (that’s short
for Warship In My Back Yard) divers. The warship in
question is the decommissioned HMCS Terra Nova, and
plans are afin to sink her in the St. Lawrence River in
the vicinity of Brockville, Ontario area.

To find out more about this initiative or to support it by
signing an online petition, please go to www.eoara.org

If successful, EOARA will effectively lift the Ministry
of Natural Resources’ current moratorium on the delib-
erate scuttling of shipwrecks in Ontario waters.

The OUC Board of Directors and the Regional Coordi-
nator team fully endorse this initiative and encourage all
Ontario divers to help support it.

OUC’s 72-Hour Ontario                                         Seriously, folks...
Scuba Incident Report
                                                              The article on the following two pages was e-
                                                              mailed to many Ontario divers back on April 1st,
One of OUC’s many commitments to you, the greater
Ontario Scuba Community, is to report on all Scuba fa-        Courtesy of Brian Pallock, OUC Commercial
talities within 72 hours of being notified of the incident.   Member and owner of “Dive Source” in Oshawa,
                                                              we are republishing it here for your reading inter-
We report on the following 3 things:                          est and entertainment.
1.    A summary of what is known about the incident
2.    Any respected public domain reports about the           OUC is currently securing international marketing
      incident                                                and distribution rights to the Spitnik and expects
3.    OUC recommendations to prevent recurrent of the         to be able to launch the product on April 1st of
      incident                                                2009.
This year we have already had to report on 2 fatalities.
                                                              For the full-size version of the article, please go
Reports going from 1965 all the way to 2008 may be            to:
found at www.underwatercouncil.com in the Safety sec-         http://www.divesource.com/aprilfools.html
   OUC around the Province...1 of 2
On Saturday, April 5th in Welland, Ontario, Niagara Divers As-
sociation hosted “Shipwrecks 2008” to a crowd of more than 450
avid divers from Canada and the US.

OUC’s entire Board of Directors was on hand to staff the OUC
display, explain about OUC’s sport safety programs and initia-
tives, and to distribute Commercial Member promotional litera-
ture. =>

                                                                 On Saturday, April 19th, in London, Ontario, the Mu-
                                                                 seum of Archaeology put on “The Legend of the Ed-
                                                                 mund Fitzgerald”.
                                                                 The event was emceed by Andrew Hibbert, Publisher of
                                                                 the Lake Erie Beacon with presentations by:
                                                                 - Tom Farnquist, of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Histori-
                                                                 cal Society
                                                                 - Lieutenant Commander Robert H. Gwalchmai, HMCS
                                                                 Cormorant’s Diving Officer during the 1995 Edmund
                                                                 Fitzgerald bell exchange project
                                                                 - Mar Smith, Recreational and Technical Dive Instructor
                                                                 and past President of SWODA
                                                                 - Don McLeod, Underwater Documentary Film Pro-
                                                                 ducer, and
                                                                 - Hank Halliday, past OUC President (1967).
                                                                 OUC set up its display in the museum and during the
                                                                 lunch break engaged virtually the entire attendance

 On Saturday, April 26th, in Etobicoke, OUC-Member On-
 tario Underwater Explorers Scuba Club hosted their “2008
 Scuba Swap”.

 Dozens of private vendors and area Retailers offered buy-of
 -a-year specials on new and used scuba equipment to the
 hundreds of customers lined up for the event held annually
 in the Etobicoke Olympium gymnasium.

 OUC Regional Coordinator, Ontario Central-West, Michael
 Krznaric (shown in photo on left) and Raimund Krob, OUC
 President, set up and manned the OUC display for the day.
       OUC around the Province…2 of 2
On Thursday, April 30th, in Belleville, OUC presented to OUC-
member Canadian Sport Divers Scuba Club.

OUC Regional Coordinator Ontario Central-East Joe Sildiryan
(shown on right in white shirt) presented on OUC’s investigation
into the twin fatalities in the Niagara River last year.
Raimund Krob, OUC President, presented on the subject of
OUC’s current and future plans and programs.

The presentation was give at Canadian Sport Subs Ltd. Dive store
at 48 Dundas Street West in Belleville, who generously donated
their facilities for the presentation.

                                                                   On Monday, June 2nd, in Brampton, OUC-
                                                                   Member Etobicoke Underwater Club hosted 3
                                                                   1.     Introduction to OUC, its Board of Direc-
                                                                          tors, its mission, and many programs,
                                                                   2.     OUC’s investigation and recommenda-
                                                                          tions into last year’s Niagara River inci-
                                                                   3.     Marianne Collins presented on EUC’s 2nd
                                                                          annual “Dive for a Cause”, being held on
                                                                          August 23rd, 2008.

                                                                   Raimund Krob, OUC President, filled in for
                                                                   Dave Noble, OUC Director of Sport Safety.

On Wednesday, June 25th, in Whitby, Ontario Under-
water Council and Niagara Divers Association pre-
sented to Durham Divers Scuba Club at the Sports Gar-
den Café.

70 people were in attendance, many from Durham Di-
vers and many from the local scuba community. Repre-
senting Ontario Underwater Council were David Black,
OUC Director of Communications, and Joe Sildiryan,
OUC Regional Coordinator Ontario Central-East.

Dave Mekker of the Niagara Divers Association pre-
sented on the topic of the Niagara River, Chippewa
Creek, and a in-depth history of the area’s hydro-electric
power generation facilities and factors influencing the
flow of current in those two waterways.

Raimund Krob of Ontario Underwater Council followed
with a presentation on OUC’s investigation into the
double fatalities in that area in September of 2007, and
OUC’s recommendations to prevent recurrence.
       Special Offer to OUC Members from Diver Magazine
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exclusive offer to all OUC Members:

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