Downey Duck

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St. Lawrence River

Do you like wreck diving, but donít care to travel as far as Truk or Morehead City, and prefer warmer water than Lake Erie?† Try the St. Lawrence River, about seven hours from Pittsburgh. 

The St. Lawrence has become more popular as the zebra mussels have cleaned up the water, making the visibility quite good, fifty feet or more!† The water during the summer months reaches the low to mid seventies, so wetsuit diving is no problem.

There are different areas to base from on the American or Canadian sides; we headed for the Thousand Islands area near Clayton, New York.† This was our first time in the area, so we booked through the 100 year-old Thousand Islands Inn.† The price was a bit high, but included lodging, three very good meals a day, and diving; if youíre into historical buildings, this is the place for you!† 

Ken Kozin, of Thousand Island Dive Excursions, provided our diving, picking us up at the dock across from the inn.† The boat is a 24í Delta set up for six people.† Thereís a comfortable cabin for protection from weather or sun.† A cold front moved through while we were there, so the cabin was appreciated.† 

We did two dives a day, beginning at 9:30 and returning about 2:00.† The wrecks range from twenty to one hundred feet.† Our favorite was the Keystorm, a 2300 ton steamer built in 1908, which sank on October 12, 1912 after running aground in fog.† Lying on its side, the bow begins in twenty feet of water and the stern is at 115 feet.† The engine room is in great shape and there are many interesting things to look at throughout the ship.

The current was mild on the wrecks we did, and they all had moorings.† After tying to the mooring and receiving a briefing, we followed the line down to the wreck.† There was no divemaster in the water, but we didnít need one.† 

There were many interesting activities to pursue when not diving.† Clayton is a great area for walking, and we checked out other motels and restaurants for future trips.† There is a large nautical museum in town, and we spent an afternoon at Boldt Castle, begun by George Boldt, millionaire proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, for his wife.† Construction was halted in 1904 when his wife died, and it sat neglected until the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority assumed ownership in 1977.†† Alexandria Bay, the next town over, has quaint shops, an aquarium, and a wreck that can be shore dived. 

Itís also possible to stay on the Canadian side, which might be less expensive.† Passports are a must, as some of the wrecks are in Canadian waters.†

The St. Lawrence River can be done during a long weekend, although there are fewer crowds during the week.† Join us for what we hope will become an annual tradition, or contact us for more information.