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Rick Stanley

Preserving Canada’s Maritime Past

By | All Posts, Bell Island, Newfoundland, Cave Diving, Rebreather Diving, Underwater Photo and Video, Women Underwater | No Comments

SextantLensP10903571lOn July 7, 2015 Jill Heinerth had the opportunity to assist in the documentation of the recovery and delivery to provincial conservators of the sextant from the WWII shipwreck SS Rose Castle. The Rose Castle was sunk on November 2nd, 1942 by a German U-Boat that was attempting to disrupt the supply of high grade iron ore coming from Bell Island, Newfoundland, Canada. The event  also marks the only time a torpedo struck land in what is now Canadian soil. 28 crew were lost, but many were saved by citizens of the island. The sextant was discovered by diver Luc Michel of St. Pierre and Miquelon, France and the recovery efforts were organized and sponsored by Rick Stanley of Ocean Quest Adventure Resort in Conception Bay Newfoundland.DeliverySextantIMG_3329l

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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.

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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!

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