Monday, September 22, 2008

A little background to the KGH Wreck...?

Long-time POW member, Rick Neilson passed me an article recently that seems to relate directly to the wreck we've been referring to as the KGH Wreck, off Murney Tower. It dates from August 25th, 1881 and here's the full text:

"OBSTRUCTION REMOVED - Some time ago while the hulk of an old barge, from which hoisting machinery had been taken, was being towed across the harbour, it grounded upon the bar of Point Frederick. The obstruction was not only dangerous but unsightly, and some ill feeling was caused on account of the efforts which were made to have it removed at once. The position of the civic functionaries did not seem to have been properly appreciated, but a plain duty had to be performed, and it appears to have been executed with as little unpleasantness as possible. The old barge has been towed to and sunk off Murney Tower, and will, Capt Gaskin says, be regarded as the commencement of the breakwater which it is proposed to build there."

That there is little or nothing to suggest the presence of a breakwater now, suggests that this structure was never constructed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dive 'n Dine a modest success...

This evening's event for Preserve Our Wrecks, featuring a dive outing and on-board barbecue, courtesy of Proteus Diving, brought 14 divers (and a couple of non-divers) out to Treasure Island Marina. The dive portion of the evening was conducted on the Wolfe Islander II - a favourite, and always a site that delivers. Tonight it was absolutely alive with Bass at the stern and on the afterdecks. Despite visibility of only about 20-30 feet, most visitors found the new Yamaha motorbike and both 'gnomes'. Some were even lucky enough to enjoy a sighting of a now rare American Eel.

Moving back to Treasure Island, the barbecue was fired up for delicious hamburgers. The record for consumption, just for interest's sake, was 6 burgers. No prizes for guessing that the consumer was a young sportsman.

All in all, the evening was an opportunity for a good exchange of views between members. Hopefully, the model can be repeated in future.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wilderness Battleship - Public Lecture - September 30th

Anyone interested in the naval history of Lake Ontario should pencil in September 30th at 7 pm to attend a public lecture in Kingston's Memorial Hall (inside City Hall). The lecture, celebrating the '25th Anniversary Archaeology Public Lecture' series will be given by Timothy J. Abel, Director of the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown , New York. The title 'Wildnerness Battleship' will tell the story of Lake Ontario's Forgotten Naval Shipyard.

Admission is FREE...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

International interest in our shipwrecks...

I had the pleasure this morning of spending a couple of hours in the company of a reporter from the German radio network ARD. They were interested in Kingston's wonderful wreck diving and its historical context. I was able to take them out on the water and put some of our local landmarks into their proper place against the passage of the centuries. We visited the shallow sites in Deadman Bay and the remains of HMS St Lawrence. These locations make the richness of our legacy clear, but also demonstrate how little really remains to be seen - and how important it is to protect and preserve it. I was able to put recent excitement about wreck 'discoveries' into a more sensible perspective, stressing the need for caution over identifications and the exploitation of rare archaeological remains. Whenever we speak to anyone about our wrecks, particularly the ones of greater historical significance, we should be sure to mention their fragility and the need for care over visiting them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More photography of the KGH wreck now available

A group from Northern Tech Diver's Collins Bay base visited the KGH wreck yesterday. Tom Rutledge got some excellent shots of the site, which can be viewed on his Flickr Pages. If you haven't been able to see this wreck for yourself yet, they give a great impression of what to expect.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Visit the past - get out and dive the wreck off Kingston General Hospital

A combination of work done by POW members, divers from G.L.U.E. and others has made a visit to the wreck off Kingston General Hospital really accessible to most divers. The picture above was taken today and there's some video taken by Kevin Leblanc on You Tube too. Check out other pics on Flickr too. The great news is that less than a week after a line was laid to the wreck, at least 24 divers have enjoyed this wreck already. What a shame that the City doesn't appreciate the need for access and the provision of basic facilities for divers seeking to enjoy the wrecks that lie at various points along the City's shores. I've heard it said that the City doesn't want to encourage more divers because there isn't the infrastructure to support them - but what comes first - the investment or the divers? Kingston's councillors would do well to look at the facilities provided to divers at sites along the St Lawrence - and reflect on the income these divers bring to local restaurants and other businesses.