Tag

Newfoundland

Jellyfish May Inherit the Earth

By | All Posts, Arctic, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Royal Canadian Geographical Society | No Comments

At Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland, I had the incredible opportunity to dive into a bloom of jellyfish. These organisms seem to thrive in the most challenging conditions, laughing at the very chaos we humans have brought on with global climate change. Jellyfish adapt and thrive in warming waters, as well as those with low oxygen content. They can literally clone themselves asexually, making millions of copies that form massive blooms like this one found in Newfoundland. They have been on our planet for millions of years and may even outlast humanity as they inherit the earth.

 

Share Button

Online Classroom for World Ocean’s Day, June 8

By | Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

12079874_10156814976005508_8416076154464600743_oJoin me at 9:30 on World Ocean’s Day, June 8, 2016. I will be broadcasting an online classroom from the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada. I’ll be sharing my exploration work from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Expedition of the Year in Bell Island Newfoundland. I’ll give a presentation about the WWII shipwrecks and a flooded mine followed by interaction with classrooms who have signed on for camera positions. Even if you can’t get a camera spot, join us for the broadcast or check it out later through Exploring by The Seat of Your Pants on You Tube.

June 8th is World Oceans Day and Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants is celebrating our oceans with a full day of Google Hangouts with ocean scientists, explorers and institutions from around the world. The day will consist of 24, 30 minute Google Hangouts spread out over 12 hours!

How Can Classrooms Take Part?

There are three ways that classrooms from around the world can take part in Exploring Oceans by the Seat of Your Pants:

1) Every hangout will have up to 6 classroom camera spots available. Classrooms joining on camera will be able to interact with the speakers and ask questions. To secure a camera spot, fill out the Google Form at the bottom of the page and if there is a spot available, it’s yours!

2) All of the Google Hangouts stream live via the Google event page. Simply push play on the video screen at the appropriate time.

3) The Google Hangouts will record directly to YouTube allowing classrooms to view the sessions that might not fit in with their school day.

More times and speakers are being added daily! Any questions don’t hesitate to reach out: ebtsoyp@gmail.com

SlideShowCue5601lJill Heinerth – 9:30 AM

Camera Spots Are Filled!

Undersea and cave diving explorer Jill Heinerth shares stories from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Expedition of the Year for 2016. She’ll whisk viewers away into a submerged iron ore mine and to sunken shipwrecks off Newfoundland, Canada that tell the history of when WWII arrived on the east coast of North America. Jill Heinerth is recognized as one of the planet’s great underwater explorers. An expert in one of the world’s most dangerous endeavors – cave diving – Jill is a photographer, filmmaker, author, and instructor with over 7000 scuba dives to her credit.  Recognizing a lifetime of achievement, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society awarded Jill the first ever Canadian Medal for Exploration.

Event Page: https://plus.google.com/events/coaot95fkik3po4f90251dk5hhk?hl=en

First Day Dip in a Blizzard

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland | No Comments

I like to arrive on an expedition with plenty of time to assemble gear and work out the kinks before a project begins. I’m really pleased I kept to that plan, since today we are experiencing an epic blizzard in St. Johns. Several of our team members are stranded midway here due to cancelled flights. Johnny, Cas and decided to hit the water in full gear and make sure everything was operational. One flooded glove and one broken inflator meant more of a dip than a dive, but at least we identified some issues and will dive again in the morning.

Our shore dive site was an interesting spot in Conception Harbour with three wrecked whaling ships. One sticks up out of the water, so it makes a gorgeous backdrop for the snow.

Site info from the Shipwreck Preservation Society:

SS Charcot was a steel whaling ship built in Tønsberg, Norway in 1923 for the A/S Hvalen whaling company. In 1943, it was sold to the Polar Whaling Company (owned by Christian Salvesen) and was based at the Hawke Harbour whaling station in southern Labrador. In 1956, Charcot was sold to the Hawke Harbour Whaling Company (owned by Johan Borgen) and it remained catching whales in southern Labrador. The Hawke Harbour whaling station burned down in 1959 and Charcot ended up in Conception Harbour, where it was berthed during the 1960s. Between 1968 and 1970, Charcot broke its moorings and ran aground on the beach in Conception Harbour, where it remains today.

In 2013, the Shipwreck Preservation Society surveyed the three whaling shipwrecks in Conception Harbour and identified this ship as Charcot (it had previously been mistakenly called the Sposa by many in Conception Harbour). This wreck is visible from shore and is a favourite with photographers.

Share Button

Team Working Hard in Mine to Prepare for Cave Diving

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Sidemount Diving, Women Underwater | No Comments

The team at Ocean Quest Adventures is hard at work preparing for the upcoming cave diving expedition that will establish safe guidelines and infrastructure for future visiting divers. An amazing group of volunteers is putting in lot of hard labor installing the following:

1/ Extending waterline by aprox 1000 feet for controlled water hose and electrical for lighting.
2/ Cleaning off 125 feet of mineshaft 4-6 feet wide for a walkway to staging area.
3/ Cleaning a 12×12 area for staging and benches along column pillar.
4/ Building benches and seats along pillar area or install HD picnic tables.
5/ Building and install 4x 24′ foot dock system so to have on dry slope going into water with 6 feet of water depth at end.
6/ Ramsetting 10 posts and 100 feet of rail starting from wood step landing area for rigid 100′ to staging area.
7/ Pressure wash all to have clean with no rust or mud in any of area.

For further information on the project visit: www.IntoThePlanet.com/Newfoundland

Share Button

Humpback High Five

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Sedna Expedition, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments
When Humpbacks Hit

Snorkeling with humpbacks can be challenging. They are here in Newfoundland feeding voraciously on a buffet of capelin. There are literally schools of millions of fish that the whales gently scoop up to fill their bellies. Visibility can be challenging, but we floated quietly for over five hours in the chilly water, bouncing in the growing seas. The humpbacks became curious for a short while and swam by us, sometimes turning around and catching us in a wake of bubbles created by their crashing tails. The repetitive behavior was entrancing and fun. On one pass, a pair of whales dropped their load, dowsing Cas and I in a cloud of endless, murky whale shit. The capelin went after it… cannibalism I suppose! Some of the whales rolled and showed us their bellies, flapping their flippers in a slow pass. But when a humpback gets too close, their tail slap is a wake up call. We were incredibly privileged to share the water with these amazing creatures.

Share Button

Icebergs are Moody

By | All Posts, Sedna Expedition, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments
Icebergs Make Their Own Weather

Icebergs are temperamental. They make their own weather and effuse a moodiness underwater that is visceral. The approach to a small berg is done cautiously. In the waning days of their lives, they are petulant. They calve and roll with unexpectedness. The create unique down-currents as the fresh water pours off the melting mass. They emit a dense fog along their girdle and fizz as they dissolve in the warmer air temperatures. Underwater, they can be a cacophony of noise. Cracks and bumps are punctuated with thuds so loud that they shake the core of your soul. As the first person to ever dive inside an iceberg cave in Antarctica, I have witnessed calving that sealed my entrance, currents that pinned me down and the complete destruction of a 4 square mile iceberg I had just emerged from. I am paranoid around icebergs. My partner Cas Dobbin and I approached slowly with Debbie Stanley and Luc Michel. Rick ran the Zodiac, offering strict instructions not to surface by the berg but to swim back away on the safe side before coming up. We planned a short 30 minute peek to check it out. Halfway in to our dive, a deafening thud reverberated through my body as the berg slammed the sea floor pounding everything on it into a pulp. Debbie, a wise veteran of icebergs headed for the boat. She had seen it all in the past and wasn’t going to push fate. We skirted along the edge of deco to reserve enough conservatism to emerge at any time. Safely aboard the boat, we were jubilant. Cas had completed his first iceberg dive for his 32nd birthday!

Want to join me to dive icebergs, historic shipwrecks and swim with whales? I’ll be back July 7-15, 2015 here at Ocean Quest Adventures. Contact holly@oceanquestnl.com to join me or drop me a note on my contact form for more information.

Share Button

Icebergs

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Sedna Expedition, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments
Icebergs Make Their Own Weather

Icebergs are temperamental. They make their own weather and effuse a moodiness underwater that is visceral. The approach to a small berg is done cautiously. In the waning days of their lives, they are petulant. They calve and roll with unexpectedness. The create unique down-currents as the fresh water pours off the melting mass. They emit a dense fog along their girdle and fizz as they dissolve in the warmer air temperatures. Underwater, they can be a cacophony of noise. Cracks and bumps are punctuated with thuds so loud that they shake the core of your soul.

As the first person to ever dive inside an iceberg cave in Antarctica, I have witnessed calving that sealed my entrance, currents that pinned me down and the complete destruction of a 4 square mile iceberg I had just emerged from. I am paranoid around icebergs.

My partner Cas Dobbin and I approached slowly with Debbie Stanley and Luc Michel. Rick ran the Zodiac, offering strict instructions not to surface by the berg but to swim back away on the safe side before coming up. We planned a short 30 minute peek to check it out. Halfway in to our dive, a deafening thud reverberated through my body as the berg slammed the sea floor pounding everything on it into a pulp. Debbie, a wise veteran of icebergs headed for the boat. She had seen it all in the past and wasn’t going to push fate.

We skirted along the edge of deco to reserve enough conservatism to emerge at any time. Safely aboard the boat, we were jubilant. Cas had completed his first iceberg dive for his 32nd birthday!

Want to join me to dive icebergs, historic shipwrecks and swim with whales? I’ll be back July7-15 here at Ocean Quest Adventures. Contact Holly@OceanQuestAdventures.com to join me or drop me a note on my contact form for more information.

Share Button

Bell Island Shipwrecks

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Sedna Expedition, Underwater Photo and Video, We Are Water, Women Underwater | No Comments

SagCas5032lFew Canadians are aware of the time when WWII came to the shores of Newfoundland. During the Second World War, mines on Bell Island, Newfoundland supplied iron ore to Cape Breton’s steel mills, accounting for one third of Canada’s steel production. Germany knew that if they interrupted this flow of ore, even temporarily, Canada’s war output could be seriously affected.

On the night of September 4th, 1942, a German U-Boat followed the ore carrier Evelyn B into its anchorage. The next morning and under the guns of the Bell Island Battery, the U-Boat sank two ships: SS Saganaga and SS Lord Strathcona. Twenty-nine men were killed in the attack, all aboard Saganaga. While nothing appeared in the press about this incident, news quickly spread. The Battle of the Atlantic had suddenly come close to home.

On November 2nd, 1942 another U-Boat entered the bay, and found several ore carriers at anchor. A half hour later, one torpedo was fired at the 3000-ton Anna T. It missed and exploded ashore at the loading dock, awakening the whole of Bell Island. Two torpedoes were fired at SS Rose Castle. Rose Castle sank, taking twenty-eight of her crew with her. The vessel PLM 27 was next, and she sank almost immediately after being hit, with the loss of twelve men. In the ensuing confusion, and despite the presence of a corvette and two patrol boats, the U-Boat escaped on the surface in the darkness.

This event contributed to the province’s identity by directly connecting residents to a global conflict, and by increasing awareness of the strategic importance of Newfoundland and Labrador’s industries both here and abroad.

Cas Dobbin and I dived on the Saganaga today. Cas is working on his Technical Diver qualification with me and I had a chance to test out new Kubi gloves with my Santi Ladies First drysuit.  The water was 1.5°C, so it was a good test of equipment. We managed 2.5 hours of submersion today in two dives and I was comfortable and warm.

If you want to dive the Bell Island shipwrecks, come visit Rick Stanley and Ocean Quest Adventure Resort.

Share Button

Departure Day

By | All Posts, Sedna Expedition, We Are Water | No Comments
Happy Canada Day

It seems only fitting to head to my ancestral home on Canada. By midnight I’ll be arriving in St. John’s, Newfoundland and will be picked up by my dear friend Rick Stanley from Ocean Quest Adventures. I’ll have a few days to get wet and enjoy the icebergs and whales in Newfoundland before heading north with the women of Team Sedna. They’ll be arriving over the next week with their piles of equipment and big smiles. I’m hoping for a fireworks show from the plane as I fly from Toronto to Newfoundland tonight.

I’ll be keeping a blog up to date here as we travel but expect some outages when we travel beyond the reach of the internet. I have some posts scheduled to launch while I am in the far north and will catch up as connections permit. Adventures ahead!

Share Button