Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Video Promotes Kingston Diving and our Wrecks...

Harold and Anne at Kingston Dive Charters feature in an excellent video distributed by Canada Travel and featuring Kingston's wreck diving opportunities. Well done to both of them. It's great to see someone stepping up to do the job that our City and its tourism offices should be doing...

If you visit the site, be sure to comment positively and encourage everyone to come and share our wrecks - and contribute to their protection.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Annual General Meeting Arrangements...

2009 Members in good standing will receive a personal invitation to attend the Annual General Meeting, but just in case, here's the information you need for your 2010 diaries and calendars.

The Meeting will take place at the Kingston Archaeological Centre (home to the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation) on Sunday, January 24th, starting at 2pm. A keynote presentation will be given by Sue Bazely, CARF's Executive Director. It will include new revelations about discoveries made at Kingston's historic Naval Dockyard.

Nominations for the governing Board are cordially invited. Please confirm that anyone you nominate is prepared to stand for office before submitting their name to our Secretary, Marg Barker.

The quickest and easiest way to renew your membership is by visiting our website and using the online arrangements provided by Canada Helps.

The opportunity will also be made available to renew subscriptions on the day.

Wherever the holiday season finds you - have a safe and happy one!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fish sighted - Cayman Brac

Here's an update. Started scootering from shore. Its a hoot, especially when the current us up. Save a lot on air. But you have to be careful not to go to far. Water temp is between 81 and 83.

No pictures, but here is a short list of what we saw:
-Spotted Eagle Ray, 6 turtles (on the last dive), peacock flounder, Yellowtail Snapper (very tasty), Queen Couch (in season and very tasty too), Stingray, Spotted Moray Eel, etc,

There are 41 positively identified and more the I am not sure about.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New wreck site located in Lake Ontario...

Intrepid wreck researchers Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard have announced another discovery. Their website, Shipwreckworld, contains full details of the discovery and features many pictures and an excellent video.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

POW to report on Guenter's Survey...

POW President, Mike Hill, will speak at the Marine Museum in Kingston on Sunday, November 15th. His brief is to inform a wider audience about progress on the survey of the wreck known as Guenter's, which has been the subject of examination by POW volunteers over the Summer.

Come along to hear what's been discovered - and what remains to be done.

Doors open at 1:45 for the 2 pm talk.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

POW on Daily Planet...

Last night the Discovery Channel's Daily Planet programme featured the work of Preserve Our Wrecks as its lead item. The feature is the result of a visit to Kingston earlier this year in preparation for the Show's Fall lineup. The piece is a good one. It can be viewed online by clicking here. It's very gratifying to see that a Canadian programme devoted to international scientific issues should have taken an interest in our work - and more gratifying still to see that their report very accurately represents our work and its challenges and realities. While we may not have achieved everything we would have liked this season, a very good start has certainly been made. And it's not necessarily the case that we have made our last visit of 2009 to the site...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shipwreck Hunters chalk up another find..

Dan Scoville and Jim Kennard, who famously located the wreck of HMS Ontario last year, have made yet another discovery in the deep waters of Lake Ontario. The wreck of the steamer Samuel F. Hodge has been found off Oak Orchard N.Y. Amazing sonar pictures and video of the site can be viewed on the Shipwreck World website by clicking here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nautical Archaeology Training Opportunity...

Save Ontario Shipwrecks has announced the availability of places on a NAS Level 1 course in Ottawa in late September. Anyone interested in this opportunity can obtain more details from Chris Holloway or download the registration form by clicking here. NAS Level 1 is an excellent introduction to both theoretical and practical aspects of avocational underwater archaeology.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Alexander Henry turns 50 - and POW is there...

Today, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes celebrated the 50th anniversary of the launch of her signature vessel, the Coastguard icebreaker Alexander Henry, with a variety of events on site. Preserve Our Wrecks, closely associated with the history of the Museum, was delighted to provide a presence and to organize a diving demonstration. Friends from the Dolphin Scuba Club - and the Museum's own curator - Ben Holthof ventured into the basin of the dry dock and, using full-face masks with communication devices built in, were able to enjoy a dialogue with interested spectators topsides. Adam Rushton, who was good enough to provide the masks, also enabled visitors to watch the divers through a monitor linked to an underwater camera. The day was a great success - and members are advised to follow up on the celebrations of the vessel's birthday by getting along to the Brew Pub in downtown Kingston in the coming days. The Pub has commissioned a special 'Icebreaker Ale' for a limited period. Quite apart from the enjoyment of this fine beverage, patrons will be benefiting the Museum with a donation of 50¢ for every pint sold.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting the message across...

This weekend, the Poker Run roared into Kingston. This annual event brings strong emotions to the fore. You can imagine that when Preserve Our Wrecks was invited to share a space in Confederation Park during the event with a wide variety of other organizations there was a debate about our acceptance. The argument was won by those who insisted that we could capitalize on the audience that the Poker Run attracts to get our own message across. Our experience today bears out the wisdom of this approach. I don't believe that we attracted any of the hard core speed demons to our stand, but we did answer a lot of enquiries about our work from the general public. The efforts we've been making to publicize our activities are clearly paying off. Many of those who spoke to our representatives, Dianne, Marg and Steve, had seen our news spots and read about our survey work. They were unanimously supportive of what we do.

Many thanks to those who gave up their Saturday to serve Preserve Our Wrecks. Their support is a fine example of what keeps us going. As I said to a couple of people today. The POW operating budget probably wouldn't buy enough gas to get one of the cigarette boats to the starting line, but we still have fun and do a lot of good work...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

SOS Ottawa offers Nautical Archaeology Training

SOS Ottawa is running a NAS Level One course over the weekend 24-26 July at the Nepean Sportsplex. Bids for places on the course, with payment, should be made by July 19th. Details can be found on the SOS website or by downloading the information sheet accessed by clicking here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

More divers contribute to the survey work on Guenter's

The fine weather today permitted 5 divers to descend on Guenter's wreck and complete more work on the ongoing survey. Preliminary studies and baseline capture work are almost complete. Very shortly, the datum points will be placed and the detailed measurements that we hope will go towards the identification of the wreck can begin. Particular examination of currently accessible features is producing encouraging results. The accompanying picture shows Lynn, one of our NAS-trained volunteers, moving along the wreck centreline, recording lengths and depths.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Preserve Our Wrecks makes National TV News...

Some time after a visit to investigate our survey work on the site of Guenter's Wreck, Global National TV featured divers engaged in the project this evening. This link will take you to coverage. The interest in our work is very welcome. It's already clear that it has awoken interest both locally and further afield. Hopefully, this will give us a leg up when the time comes to seek additional financial and practical support for the activities of Preserve Our Wrecks.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Newsletter now available online...

The Summer edition of our Newsletter can now be downloaded from our website. If you want to take a shortcut, click here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ungentlemanly Conduct...

An incident occurred on the Lake today that was most unfortunate. A dive charter operator, who had no reasonable grounds to do so, refused another operator access to a mooring.

Preserve Our Wrecks deplores behaviour like this. It is worth remarking that the moorings we place are positioned primarily to protect the wrecks they mark. No charter operator is entitled to treat them as their private domain. Local charter operators face stringent economic times. Cooperation between them is strongly encouraged and the suggestion that any one, for whatever reason, might seek to suggest by their actions a proprietary interest in particular sites is shocking.

There were representatives of no less than four thriving dive clubs on the boat that was sent away today. The ill-considered actions of the operator who acted in such a high-handed fashion will have done little to encourage future bookings.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just another day on the water...

Despite a thunderstorm watch and some very intimidating grey skies, seven divers, from two boats, participated in work on the survey this afternoon. The picture shows the Steve and Steve team with Pat Coyne, one of the charter operators good enough to make a boat available to POW.

Work today included measurement of the stern features, collection of a depth profile and detailed measurement of the Riding Bitts, including placement of them in relation to the ship's sides and stem. Efforts to locate the keelson, using a sub-bottom profiling device, have so far been unsuccessful. Such minor frustrations just make the work more interesting though.

Preserve Our Wrecks thanks all the divers - and particularly the two boat captains, Pat and Mark Hanley.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Video Montage of the NAS Course now available...

Adam Rushton, who was good enough to attend various aspects of the land phase of the recent Nautical Archaeology Course and to capture some video memories of the activities, has made an excellent pair of montage films available on You Tube®.

Click here for the first, which concentrates on pool activities and here for the second, which, besides pool shots, contains some lecture material and student discourses on the excellent deductive exercise.

A big thank you to Adam for this excellent footage.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Discovery Channel Crew visit Guenter's Site...

Divers from Preserve Our Wrecks were interviewed today by the Discovery Channel during another survey visit to the site of Guenter's Wreck. This welcome attention for the work we're doing neatly complemented the front page story in the Kingston Whig Standard. The well written piece outlined our hopes for the work, included authoritative commentary from Parks Canada expert, Jonathan Moore, and set our work in its proper context.

It's likely that the piece being prepared by the Discovery Channel will air on Daily Planet sometime in the Fall. The intention is that the channel will keep pace with developments over the summer and report progress on the work of researching and working towards identification of the vessel in a wrap-up piece.

Work today included further photo taking, the introduction of Steve, a newcomer to the site, to the various features - and some general stock-taking. The visibility was very good and the strong sunlight overhead penetrated the depths rather well, making for good ambient light shots. A selection of recent pictures is available for perusal on our Flickr site.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Survey Work Continues on Guenter's

Thanks to the generous assistance of a local boat owner, who made his vessel available to us today, we got in a good working dive on the wreck that is our principal survey target. The picture shows measurements being taken of an interesting, and conspicuous, cylindrical wooden object protruding from the centre of the wreck, and lying out, at an angle, over the Port side. In our opinion (untested and unchallenged) this is too small for a mast (and masts were all believed to have been removed), but no obvious attribution is forthcoming. Other significant wooden projections are present, and hard to identify. With each dive, the puzzle becomes both clearer and more opaque. More objects are noted - and more remain invisible. Almost the whole Port side lies under silt that cannot be disturbed. Moving around the wreck, interest and suspicion are aroused by objects that may, or may not, be associated with it. Keep following this blog to find out where we stand in our work - and whether we get any closer to the answers.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nautical Archaeology Training rounded off...

Today provided the opportunity to complete the open water work for the Nautical Archaeology Course commenced in May. Thirteen divers assembled at Portsmouth Harbour to undertake the underwater exercises required to achieve full Level One certification. The weather cooperated almost completely (we'll overlook the last half hour or so of drizzle, which gave a perfect justification for adjourning to the Portsmouth Tavern). The Lake was calm and the day mainly overcast; a bonus for divers wearing heavy exposure protection or drysuits to dive in the 56℉ (13℃) waters. Judging by the smiles and enthusiasm of the participants, there was fun to be had as well as knowledge and experience.

A huge thank you is due to all of those who came to take part - and especially to Marg Barker, our NAS tutor, who did an excellent job of encouraging and guiding everyone.

Friday, June 5, 2009

POW makes the Kingston News...

Your President and Treasurer were only mildly discomfited yesterday to find themselves the subject of local media attention. CKWS News, who lead Kingston's local TV coverage spoke to us about progress on our survey of Guenter's Wreck. You can view the footage and read the transcript of the short segment here. The underwater footage was shot very recently on and nearby the wreck itself. It gives a reasonable feel for the site.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

TV Team visits Guenter's Survey Site...

Media interest in the work that Preserve Our Wrecks is doing in Kingston to identify Guenter's Wreck has been quite steady this Spring. Today, a reporter and cameraman from Global National TV, based in Toronto, visited to discuss the work to date and to shoot some footage of dive operations. They were impressed, as all the media representatives have been, with the significance of Kingston's maritime heritage and the wrecks that represent it.

The interview and coverage, probably just a small news item, are expected to air sometime early next week. It's likely that the piece will include underwater footage shot by Preserve Our Wrecks.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fly through HMS Ontario ... CAD images online..

Members who have followed the story of the discovery of HMS Ontario last year, and who are interested in the ship, may like to visit this site, which features a computer generated tour of the vessel. And while you're passing the time, check out the original underwater scenes shot by the vessel's discoverers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Online Subscription and donations now possible...

In the interests of making it easier for our supporters to renew their annual subscriptions and to make donations, Preserve Our Wrecks has now enlisted the support of Canada Helps, an organisation that provides online donation opportunities for charities. You can even use your credit cards - what could be easier..?

If you wish to use the new facility, the link is on our homepage with details of membership rates (in a downloadable application form) You don't need to submit an application form when you pay through Canada Helps, just tell us who you are and which category of membership you're seeking in the remarks box.

We hope that this will be a welcome development and that it may further expand our membership and levels of support.

Preparations well advanced for our Summer Survey...

Many of you are interested in supporting our Summer Survey work. This year's project is the wreck known for many years as 'Guenter's Wreck'. Although little remains of the original structure of the vessel, sufficient evidence is available, many experts believe, to identify its type and period, and perhaps even to be able to name it as a specific ship.

This week a block was placed to enable work on the survey to be undertaken from a mooring. Earlier visits have relied on locating the site and either anchoring nearby or requiring divers to rely for surface support on a boat circulating overhead. Some graduates of the recent Nautical Archaeology Society course held in Kingston are likely to be amongst those working on the wreck in the weeks ahead. Look out for more details shortly - or contact us at to offer your support.

We have already enlisted researchers and videographers. Offers of boats to support the survey have also been gratefully accepted. We'll keep you in touch as work proceeds.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mooring Status Update now available...

DIver and charter operators alike will be pleased to note that POW's online mooring update is now available. If you detect an error, or have new information to offer, please contact us to make us aware of it - in the interests of all your fellow divers and boat operators.

Have a great and a safe season...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nautical Archaeology Course - Day One

The long-awaited Nautical Archaeology Course began today. Twenty one students benefited from superbly coordinated and delivered instruction from the Parks Canada team drawn from their Underwater Archaeology Service. The morning concentrated on survey techniques and the background to the whole discipline. An excellent exercise using real artifacts and challenging the students deductive skills began. It will run throughout the course in stages, with each introducing more information until firm conclusions about the origins of the various objects and the vessel to which they relate can be drawn.

The afternoon provided the challenge of working survey skills in an outdoor environment and the evening brought the realities of testing those same skills underwater. Altogether, the day was a great success and pleased the students, who had come from as far afield as Toronto and Montreal to attend the session...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

T-Shirts in Stock...

The POW T-Shirts promised a week or so ago are now available for sale. Priced very reasonably at $12 to members and $15 for non members, the shirts, which come in Navy Blue only, can be ordered from our surface mail address. An order form is now available for download on the website. Post and Packing will be $5 to Canadian addresses, $7 to the Continental US. All prices in Canadian dollars.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nautical Archaeology Course set for big attendance...

The course being offered by POW over the May 2/3 weekend looks set to have a large number of students. Applications have been received from as far afield as Toronto and Montreal, reflecting the real need to provide this training. It's very gratifying for the organizers - and justifies the strong support being lent to the enterprise by Parks Canada. News of the course - and plans by POW for a major survey in Kingston waters this Summer - have caught the attention of many blogs and news sites with an interest in maritime history and shipwrecks. Late applications for the forthcoming course will be considered, but it's likely that there will be a waiting list.

Friday, April 17, 2009

POW T-Shirts coming soon...

Featuring a simple design on a Navy Blue shirt, new T-Shirts will be available in early May. The Organization's logo will be shown prominently on the front and centre, with the slogan 'Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future'. The website address will be displayed on the reverse.

Pricing on these garments will be very competitive, and POW members will enjoy a substantial discount on the regular price. Expect to see the shirts for the first time on the NAS course over the May 2/3 weekend.

POW's good works gaining publicity...

The efforts of various members are beginning to pay off this year in terms of recognition of our activities. This feature appeared on the Queen's University media site recently. Generally accurate, it highlights the training in avocational nautical archaeology that we will offer in early May - and the survey to be carried out a little later this Spring and early Summer. Your President and Treasurer ( a Queen's prof) were also interviewed by CBC' Radio's local correspondent a few days ago on the subject of the survey and POW's work. Expect to hear that very soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

NAS Course Details now available..

Parks Canada have been good enough to provide the program for the course to be held in Kingston on May 2/3. It can be downloaded by clicking here. This course will be rich with examples of the Underwater Archaeological Service's uniquely Canadian experience. Places are still available. Application forms are available on our website (link opposite).

Monday, April 6, 2009

Many people interested in the maritime history of Lake Ontario will already possess Arthur Britton Smith's excellent book, "Legend of the Lake". The richly illustrated work tells the story of HMS Ontario, not only capturing the story of an important warship, but artfully outlining its role in the historical context of the development of Upper Canada.

Now, in the wake of the 2008 discovery of the wreck off the American shore of Lake Ontario, an updated edition of the book is available to readers. (ISBN: 1-55082-186-5) With the benefit of new imagery and knowledge of her fate, the book tells the whole story of HMS Ontario in three new chapters.

This is a must-have publication for anyone interested in sailing warships and the history of Lake Ontario and the communities that bordered it over the centuries.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mystery Wreck talk well attended...

The talk given by Nadine Kopp at the Marine Museum in Kingston was well attended and drew many questions from an attentive and well-informed audience. Nadine presented her findings from last year's survey of the wreck that lies in Navy Bay. Briefly, the wreck is quite likely a warship from the early 19th C. A short list of candidate vessels has been drawn up, none of which, given the limited evidence currently available, can be firmly identified. The picture shows POW President Mike Hill thanking Nadine on behalf of the three sponsors of the talk; POW, the Marine Museum and the Dolphin Scuba Club.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nautical Archaeology Training Course Available...

Everyone is reminded that vacancies are available on a Nautical Archaeology Level One course to be held in Kingston over the weekend of May 2/3. Instruction will be given by members of Parks Canada's Underwater Archaeology Service and the cost of the package will not exceed $200. This certification gives a great insight into ship construction, archaeological principles, survey techniques and methods as well as legal frameworks governing our activities underwater. It is highly recommended, even if you do not intend to undertake survey work. If you do, it is an invaluable foundation to that work. An application form can be downloaded by clicking here. It should be completed and returned by April 20th, if you wish to take the course.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Marine Museum Talk - Friday March 27th

Don't miss the talk to be given at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston on Friday, March 27th at 7 pm. Nadine Kopp will describe the work she directed last year on an underwater survey of a mystery ship in Kingston's Navy Bay. Nadine's talk is based on one she presented to the Society for Historical Archaeology in Toronto earlier this year. There's a poster available for download by clicking here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great day at Great Lakes Underwater...

The Great Lakes Underwater Event co-hosted on Saturday, March 7th in Oswego by the New York Sea Grant and the Oswego Maritime Foundation proved, once again, to be an outstanding venue for presentations and discussions on underwater topics, and especially those affecting the Great Lakes. Keynote speaker Jim Kennard delivered two tour-de-force contributions. In the first, he caught the audience up to developments in the process of bringing last year's discovery of HMS Ontario into the public eye. Jim expects that an agreement concluded with a media production company will result before long in a film that allows everyone to enjoy 'access' to the historic shipwreck while providing an accurate context and background to its original role and purpose. His second talk, in the afternoon, focused on three shipwrecks discovered in the deeper waters of Lake Ontario, including the only surviving dagger-board schooner believed to exist.

Other speakers talked about such varied subjects as 'Mapping the Titanic', which outlined the effort to catalogue and geo-locate the artifacts recovered from that incredible site and the story of the U.S. Navy's first warship to sail the Great Lakes, the USS Oneida - an American participant in the War of 1812.

For those who wonder whether this event is worth the 200 Km drive from Kingston, which, incidentally, runs through some of the most beautiful countryside in Upper New York State, I can honestly say - Yes...

Congratulations - and a sincere thank you - to the organisers and their sponsors.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Newsletter online...

Members - and other interested parties - are now able to read the Spring Newsletter. Just click here to view and download your copy. There's news of what lies ahead for POW - and of events that might interest you. The next Newsletter will be produced in May. Please consider contributing your news and pictures - or ideas for things that POW might do to attract new members and inform and entertain existing ones...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation celebrate new home...

Saturday, March 7th will see the Grand Opening of the new premises occupied by CARF at 611 Princess St, Kingston. There will be public tours of the new offices and information about the Foundation's history and its work. An information leaflet about the day is accessible by clicking here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

NAS training to be offered by SOS...

Save Ontario Shipwrecks have just announced a great leap forward in the business of underwater archaeological training in the Province. In a landmark deal with the Nautical Archaeology Society, they have gained permission to run courses under NAS auspices in Ontario. This is a really welcome development. Resources for training have been significantly lacking in recent years, despite the best efforts of government agencies at all levels and interested avocational groups like SOS and POW. The news release announcing the development can be downloaded by clicking here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

AGM Minutes online...

Members - and any other interested party - can now click here to view the Minutes of POW's Annual General Meeting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

AGM Outcomes...

The Annual General Meeting was held in Kingston on Saturday, January 24th. There was a good turnout of members who have renewed for 2009. It was a particular pleasure to conduct business in the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, a venue with which POW has been closely associated over the years.

Full Minutes of the meeting will be published on the website in due course. Members will be interested to know immediately that the Board composition has changed. Three of last year's directors, Jen Bush, Dan Haslip and Christopher Haslip did not stand for office again. Their work for POW in 2008 is much appreciated and their support is sought in what will be a busy year for the group. Mike Hill, who indicated his willingness to continue service on the Board was confirmed as a director. New directors, who were elected to the positions indicated in a follow-up Board Meeting on the day, are Marg Barker (Secretary); Dianne Groll (Treasurer); Harold Vandenberg (Mooring Director); Steve Chew (Vice President) and Kevin LeBlanc. Mike Hill was elected to the office of President for a second year.

Members will immediately notice that, for personal reasons, Nick Drakich has reluctantly given up the duties of Secretary and Treasurer. Nick's commitment to POW - and his vast institutional memory and considerable local experience - will be sorely missed. It is the intention of the Board to co-opt him regularly, as his time and circumstances allow, to assist in its deliberations.