We get asked all the time, “Where can you dive in Kitchener-Waterloo?” The answer is simple; we are a short dive from some of the best diving in the world — and we can do it year-round!
In February, a group of divers from Tri-City Scuba Centre drove to Tobermory for some shore diving on a group of ship wrecks called “The Tugs”. There are four Great Lakes fishing tugboats that sank close to shore. We were originally going to run a PADI Ice Diver course, but the winter didn’t cooperate with enough ice so we went diving instead. It may not be as appealing as a trip to the Caribbean to some, but winter diving is cheap and a whole lot of fun. Like we say in the store, “If the water gets hard, cut a hole and dive anyway!”
As we shovelled our way in, many locals came by to say hello — even Stu Seldon, Tobermory’s photographer-in-residence dove with us. Mike, from Diver’s Den (the local dive shop), joined us in the water for a couple of dives as well. If someone is diving, you know that more divers will come — sort of like cats do when they hear a can of tuna being opened. During the weekend, the pack ice blew in providing us with some amazing underwater scenery, and everyone had a great time.
Ice diving may not appeal to everyone, but many divers are always itching to get in the water. So how do we do it? It starts with training and some specialized equipment. The key is to have a dry suit. The suit is a special garment that keeps the diver completely dry — much the same way a skier or snowboarder keeps warm. Even in the coldest conditions, we are quite comfortable in the water. We just add warm undergarments, (even heated vests, socks and gloves), and regulators that are suited for cold water diving and we are ready to go. We are Canadians after all, so a little cold never hurt anyone!
Tobermory is just one of many dive sites we frequent in the winter. There are local private quarries and lakes (permission is required), spots on the St. Lawrence such as Rockport’s annual winter carnival, Humber Bay and many others. It all starts with becoming a PADI Open Water Diver and a Drysuit Diver. The rest is just getting diving experience and finding some dive buddies/ Tri-City Scuba Centre offers courses and organized activities as well as venues for divers to connect with each other.
There is a lot to see in Canadian waters: from spectacular ancient geology, amazing animals (an eight-foot sturgeon is pretty impressive), to some of the best shipwrecks in the world. Scuba diving is an amazing activity and the most fun you can have — if you like fun that is!
Submitted by Tri-City Scuba Centre, Photos by Stuart Seldon (www.wetspotimages.com)