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scubadiver888
07-03-2012, 08:55
Got another day of diving in for Canada Day. Drove up to Barrie, Ontario to do a shore dive on the J C Morisson.

To get there from south of Barrie you take the 400 highway to Essa Road. Go right onto Essa Road and follow the signs for the GO Transit station. As you go past the GO station (on your right) you should see Lake Simcoe and a big water feature (fountain spraying water into the air). Just before the water feature is a small parking lot. You want to park there. Go as close as you can to the water feature because the best entry point is the beach beside the water feature.

My shop was doing some specialty training with some advanced open water students plus they invited all the newly certified open water students. The maximum depth is something like 25 feet.

You can leave from the entry point and head 120 degrees (300 degrees to get back to shore) to find the wreck but a safer route is to swim along the shoreline to the right of the entry point. On the shore, in the rocks, will be a large tree stump. Just before you reach the tree stump there will be a line (#24 line) running out to the wreck. From here the direction is around 110 degrees (290 degrees to get back to shore). If you are in around 8 feet of water you can usually see the line running along the bottom. It is sometimes lost in the weeds.

There is a lot of boat/seadoo traffic on Lake Simcoe and many of the boaters do not know to look for bubbles. So it is important you bring a float and flag you can tow with you as you swim out to the wreck.

As you swim out to the wreck you will gently descend from 8 feet to 25 feet over the course of 450 feet. Take your time and keep off the bottom or you'll totally silt up the place.

The wreck is scattered so don't expect to see one large boat. I was told the boat hull is in one location. A little further off is the paddle wheel, laying on its side, and even further is the boiler. I found the boiler but apparently swam right past the hull. With a lot of newly certified open water divers in the water, visibility was reduced to inches at times. Most the time I could not see the line but I noticed if I got to clear water the visibility was 15 feet. If I followed the silt cloud, occasionally I could see the line.

I plan on going back again this summer. Hopefully on a day when there are no open water divers. If anyone wants to dive the J C Morisson with me (FoxHound), let me know.

Even though I didn't find the main wreck, it was a great dive and really enjoyable. Definitely a good place for 'just a dive'. Just over 100 kilometres from my house but worth it, in my opinion.