Tag Archives: PADI Wreck Specialty

HMCS Chaudiere Dive

Greg exiting the HMCS Chaudiere using Sidemout
Greg exiting the HMCS Chaudiere using Sidemout

UWE and Ocean Quest Dive Center, was out completing Capilano University Professional Dive Instructors Program MSDT training, and today happened to be PADI Wreck Instructor certification and we had the joy of diving on the HMCS Chaudiere.  I cut my teeth on this ship as a young Ordinary Seaman back in 1987 while doing my Seamanship training when I first joined the NAVY.  The HMCS Chaudiere was then a Fleet Training ship that was all but decommissioned, not setting to sea but jetty bound.

She was later used to replace the bow on the HMCS Kootenay after she hit a merchant ship in the fog back in the summer of 1989.  Both ships being of the same class was a perfect fit, but for all of those who have been to the box of the HMCS Chaudiere will agree her bow is flat and not the normal sharp point we all know.  Interesting fact!!

The HMCS Chaudiere was sunk in the on the 5th of Dec 1992, and she is resting on her port side.  Having dived the ship on many occasions, I noticed today how much deterioration there is, having completed a couple of penetrations, I have now realized it is getting more and more dangerous to enter her, even with all the proper training.  Though still an amazing dive there are many areas that should not be attempted.

Fwd Heads and Wash place: HMCS Chaudiere
Fwd Heads and Wash place: HMCS Chaudiere

The Capilano students practiced their penetration points on the starboard side entering at the Wardroom, and the exit being back near the Communication Control Room.  This is about a 50 foot swim, very open and an excellent and still safe training point for this portion of the Instructor course and the diver level alike.

Interested Wreck training, or maybe joining the Capilano University Professional Dive Instructor Program, contact Ocean Quest Dive Center for more information, or I can help you as well.  Interested in diving the HMCS Chaudiere, let me know and we can get something arranged!


Diving with the Master!

[singlepic id=107 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]Yesterday certainly turned out to be an amazing day,  I had the opportunity to dive with Tony Holmes, my mentor the guy who taught me everything I know about diving and what a pleasure it was!!

We originally had a charter booked headed out to the HMCS CHAUDIERE, and as always I was looking forward to diving it, plus I would have the chance to get more footage of the wreck, something I certainly would not turn down….but who to dive with.  The charter was going to be a Tec Dive, with two on doubles and one on a rebreather….and I certainly was not in the frame of mind to do a long cold hang at 20 feet.  Out of the blue, Tony called the shop and said he was hoping to get out for a dive or two for the weekend, talk about timing!!

Once everything was loaded on the boat, it was off to the boat launch and the trip up the inlet.  With the sun being out, it made you think of the soon to be summer, though the air was still pretty crisp as we skimmed along the wave tops.  Once on the dive site, we tied to the stern line on the wreck, and began getting the Tec guys read…first in was Owen on the rebreather, then Keith and Jessica.   As they disappeared into what appeared pea soup, Tony and I prepared for our entry.  Determined not to hang at the 20 foot mark on a long deco, away we went.  Happily I slide into the follow position on Tony, and the tour began!

We swam the distance of the wreck and slide up through the hole at the 130ft mark, just back from the bow which leads into the forward crews heads and wash place, from there we went up through the door on Berma Road that takes you into One and Two Mess.  Normally once in the Mess we would ascend through the exit point which is overhead, but on this dive Tony decided to head straight into an opening that leads into the forepeak which eventually lead to the outside of the wreck.  This turned out to be an excellent penetration, and I was able to get some good footage, though I am pretty sure this is where my troubles began.  Since we were in the higher profile 120 cuft steel tanks I got my valve caught on the hatch combing, and had to wiggle through the opening.  Unbeknown to me, this must be the point where my 8 pound weight pouch got caught and dropped.  As when I got through the opening I was very light all of a sudden and had to dump some air from the BCD.  Though not a big problem at this point…that would not be the case when I had to maintain my depth on what was going to be a 16 minute decompression stop.

Once we came out of this penetration we headed up and over the bow of the CHAUDIERE, where we got our first glimpse of Owen on his Megladon Rebreather, it always amazes me how quiet they are.  We headed off to the penetration at the bridge where we would go in the lower hole on the bridge roof, and ascend up through the brdige to the Ops Room ladder which leads into ops, and through the Sonar control room, our exitpoint is overhead that leads out through an opening on the stardboard side of the boat.  As we proceeded aft and to our ascent line we did two more penetrations, one which was new for me, and then the final one on the stern, and out to the ascent line.

As we started up to our first decompression stop it was obvious this was not going to be a routine hold for me, as the I was about 8 pounds two light, and I had to wrap myself around the ascent line in order to maintain the 20 then 10 foot stops.  Thankfully it was only 16 minutes of a hold.

As always another great dive, I certainly have missed diving with Tony, something I hope we will get the chance to do again in the near future.  If you are interested in doing the Wreck Specialty or Advanced Nitrox/Decompressions Procedures go to the Courses page on this site, and see what it is all about!

New Wreck Diver

[singlepic id=222 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]Uwe is excited to announce that Paul has successfully completed his PADI Wreck course.  Paul too his time completing the course by splitting the 4 training dives up over two months.

Dive One and Two were conducted back in early December.  Our day out on the inlet for the first dives was pretty cold and rough.  The wind and sea was up, and made for a very challenging day of diving, but Paul was up to the challenge and did an excellent job.

His last two dives were conducted on Sunday, and even though the fog was pretty heavy, we carefully made our way up the inlet in what at times was zero and zero visibility.  Thankfully by the time we made our way to the Chaudiere the sun was out, and the fog burned off.  The water temperature is down to 40 on the the surface and 48 at depth.  Visibility was excellent….and Paul did an excellent job on his last two dives!!  Well done Paul!

Busy Training Week

[singlepic=147,320,240,watermark,right]Last week was an outstanding week of training.  We did a double wreck/Nitrox and Drysuit courses, and what a blast it was!!  Weather was a little wet, but the visibility was amazing!!

Day One: Of training was done in Tuwanek Beach, getting the students comfortable diving in drysuits, which as anyone who dives one…takes a bit of getting use to.  On the first dive we simply slide down to the Slab of rock where our resident octopus lives.  Once we got our chance to look at our friend, we did the various skills required to certify in the drysuit.  Both students had no problems conducting the skills.  Dive two had us heading out and around the left island.  Overall the dives were amazing.

Day Two: Was spent out at 9 mile point enjoying some good old fun dives/Photo Dives, where Jeremy and I spent the day snapping pictures of all the amazing marine life in the area.

[singlepic=149,320,240,watermark,left]Day Three & Four: Wreck days….both students had very little problems with the first 3 of 4 dives on the wreck course…with dive 4 being the most challenging…with the big penetration they planned.  Even though there was a dropped reel…both students recoverred with little troubles…and had a very successful finish to an amazing week of diving!!

Interested in taking some diving course…be sure to check out Uw Explorers new Course tab…and get signed up for some training with us!!

Wreck Trianing

[singlepic=108,320,240,watermark,left]Another outstanding weekend full of diver training!  I would like to congratulate Nancy on completing the PADI Wreck Divers course.  She was able to meet and surpass all challenges that were presented her on this course.

The course started off on Sunday the 24th of Aug, with the normal paper work and video’s that need to be completed.  Afterwords it was analyzing all the NITROX tanks we were going to use and then it was off to the water.  After the 25 minute trip up the inlet on the Suncoast Diving Zodiac, we briefed, dressed and rolled into the water.  Visibility was certainly murky to say the least after the day or so of rain, and temperature changes.

After dive one, it was off to the beach to enjoy some down time while we prepared for dive two.  Once we finished the brief it was back on the wreck for dive two.  Points of entry were explored, and planes were being prepared for the next day.[singlepic=120,320,240,watermark,right]
Day Two, had us back up on the Chaudiere, just in time for Nancy to do the reel work on the outside of the wreck, and as everyone knows who have tried to use a reel, it is no easy task!  Nancy, had little problems and was able to make short work of this skill, so it was off to investigating more penetration points!

Dive 4, was spent with Nancy doing a nice swim through, and then exploring the wreck some more.  Once again congratulations Nancy…well done!!

Interested in taking a wreck course….stop by Suncoast Divings web site and see what’s happening in the trianing schedule!!