Townsite, September 19th, 2010

Posted on 19. Sep, 2010 by Greg Mossfeldt in Minnewanka

As the work week came to an end I was looking forward to the weekend of diving. Two weeks ago Travis Benoche and I secured a the date of Sunday, September 19th for a long scooter run out to the townsite. This was going to be fun!

On Saturday, September 18th I was also enthused to be diving with Paige Pfefferle who has become a keen enthusiast. She has fantastic self motivation along with great family support! It is a pleasure to share the finer points of this endeavor with her.

Paige is fourteen years old and is not simply interested in jiggling her way feet first to the bottom of the fishing bowl or mud puddle. Paige is intent to learn and refine her technique so she is able to participate in the adventures she has seen, heard and read about.

I first met Paige while she was out camping/diving with her Aunt Leigh-Ann and Uncle Greg McCuaig. This is a well rounded diving family in Alberta and I always enjoy participating with the entire clan :).

We completed two dives on Saturday with Greg filming the descent and the beginning of the learning process. One just never knows how the learning perspective will present itself. Today Paige learned the immense frustrations this activity offers to bolster life skills. It was the inception of diversity this activity offers will offer our mindset.

Paige made the journey to the dive site with her Mom ... Gina ... and it was very nice to see Gina's devotion and participation so Paige could be included in this enjoyable but disciplined endeavor.

The next days diving would take us out to the townsite on our CUDA scooters which some would say is as fun as watching paint dry.

Our hardy group of individuals has a MUCH varied outlook on this as it is the best meditation time one could search for. We all enjoy great camaraderie drving out to the site and then suiting up and checking life support systems. It is then in the water for the first of the challenges and down under to understand the visibility of the day. We then mount our steeds and glide off on the destination which is simply being out for the day and under the water.

Our group all remained close for the tour today with one of the buddy teams utilizing rEvo closed circuit rebreathers staying for a 205 minute duration. I was able to take a lot of photos as we made it all the way over to the Old Wharf along the shores of the original lake which historical goers used to make well of.

At the old Wharf we contemplated the history of the construction, I took some images of the divers enjoying the site and then it was back to the end of the long wharf. Back at the long wharf we observed remnants of an old boot along with a pyramid shape we believe beamed in from the outer planets. We took some images of this kryptonic emblem and Greg McCuaig shot video. Once we felt this area was documented well enough it was over to the old boot which Leigh-Ann McCuaig brought our attention too.

Now I had mentioned the visibility was very poor so it was time to navigate up the blurring path of the long wharf sections which we recognized by dark silhouettes against the underwater horizon. The group made it up to the chain which marks the location to surface dwellers and then we took the LEAP OF FAITH over to a barrel that marks the direction to the Hotel of yesterday. Once at the Hotel we noted the address and viewed what the past tenants called home. The old chimney or fireplace lay face down in the foundation and the basement section had fallen bricks and an old stairway. James Dixon tested his skills, adjusting his trim and buoyancy to make a perfect exit under the stairwell header and out into the open front porch.

We also checked out the old wood burning stove and I captured Mark Gangl moving in close for a look at the finer points of this artifact of old. Travis Benoche and Greg McCuaig were over a concrete foundation where there were ornate bed frames and posts were layed out. The townsfolk probably had to leave them there and run as the water rushed into the flooding reservoir.

Some of the group were beginning to feel the chill of the aquatic freshness which was very apparent as we scanned the posse. It was the point awareness collection point as divers communicated their comfort levels along with open circuit air supply.

The group then directed our sleds back along the cookie trail tracing our steps and anticipating the long ride home. Mark and Travis joined forces with Greg and Leigh-Ann as they made their way in the direction of the causeway which is the shore exit point. They would head back past the LEAP OF FAITH, long wharf, Norman Luxtons, the old money safe deposit box, railway car, mining shaft, cemetery, foundation one, outhouse, root cellar, foundation with lantern, iron and water pump while stabilizing their compasses at 150º in order to find our cookie trail past the 1895 Dam, Bridge Pilings and back into shore to enjoy some more decompression before meeting with the fresh mountain air ... whoo ....

James Dixon and I had the advantage of constant PO2 with our rEvo rebreathers which allows us to greatly extend our bottom time. James and I opted to spend a little more time out at the townsite and we took in some details of the foundations which I captured with my camera. We then made a stop at the 1895 Dam so we could document further. I was taking a still image of James Dixon who was hovering very calmly over the water barrier of the 1895 Dam and what do I see blaring out at me??? The name RICK DARLING scratched/scribed into the old plank boards on this historic artifact. I couldn't help including this graffiti in the pics with James hovering nicely over the artwork. I bet Rick Darling won't be happy that someone scratched his name into the 1895 Dam which very few have even made it to ... certainly a crime some diver would do something like this.

James and I then headed back to the road which guides us back into shore. We slowed to connect our electric suit heaters as the duration or exposure to the cold water was reaching historical. It was like melting into a warm hot bath when our suit heaters took effect and our bodies could feel the warmth wrapping and soothing our core :) These things are beyond awesome! Add a P-Valve and we could really have a tea party down there!

The sign now said shore "five minutes" away so we angled in over the old riverbed and wrapped up our deco then broke the gravity of the surface. James and I spent 205 minutes under the water today and if bottom times were added up we would have a weeks pay.

It was time for some good carbs to complete our days journey so of course it was off to Craig's to tie a knot in the day.

Greg Mossfeldt