Adventure Journal

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Trip to Mount Hope Cemetery

Wednesday, October 31 - 2007
08:50 – 21:00
Start: 08:30
Roads: Dry / clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +17C
Area: Rochester, NY
Vehicle: 2007 Chevy Cobalt AYTK-941
Travelers: Wolf, Tori, Chris
Weather: Some Clouds
Plan: Annual Visit to Mount Hope

Our day started out waking up at 08:30hrs and getting ready to go. We left the house around 08:50 and headed to the United States border at Queenston-Lewiston. We took the rental gold Chevy Cobalt I have since my Niva got wrecked a few weeks ago and is still in repair. We arrived to be asked our place of birth, and when me mum said England, we got pulled over and questioned for a while as me mum didnt have all her citizenship papers. They eventually let us go and we were on our way. We took the I-190 to the I-90 East and headed towards Albany.

About an hour into the trip we saw a sign for the Kutters Cheese Factory and Flying J and decided to stop. We pulled in at the Flying J and bought a large coffee mug for Chris. We went on to the Cheese Factory which wasn't really anything spectacular as we have seen in Montreal or other places. We bought some cheese curd which wasn't very good as the one we had at the Granby Cheese Shop in Quebec. En-route back to the highway we saw a sign for a Halloween party but as we drove up to the place, sadly it was closed.

We got back on the I-90 and headed out towards Rochester and made our way to Mount Hope Cemetery. For no particular reason we have made this fateful trek each year now for over five years. This trip has kind of become our mini tradition. Mount hope has over 400,000 permanent residents. The cemetery was created in 1837 and is over four square kilometers in size and has some of the most unusual, diverse, and fascinating monuments which can be seen in North America.

We stopped at a flower shop across from the cemetery to buy two roses for a grave which we planned to visit. The woman in the shop had a huge bulldog and pug cross which we played with. We entered the cemetery off Mount Hope Avenue at the main entrance. and went to the welcome room, then started on to our journey through the amasing amount of graves here. It is difficult to document all the unusual things we see here. From the massive gothic churches which dot the landscape (sadly, none are in service anymore) to the small, half earth covered stones marked "baby".

We started our journey today by paying a visit to the slavegirl Anna who is buried on this spot. Anna lays in section R, Lot 11. The founder of the city Rochester – Colonel Nathaniel Rochester brought his slaves with him when he moved from Maryland. Although he freed them, some stayed as his domestic employees. The headstone of one of these freed slaves carries a simple, poignant message: "we called her Anna" - a woman whose complete identity consisted only of a first name. We lay two roses on her grave. One from Tori and I, and the other from a friend of mine in British Colombia called Reptoid. We took some photographs so I could send him some via e-mail when we got home.

We spent the afternoon walking amongst the graves, examining some of the unusual things. We took tons of photographs of various baby graves, unusual adult graves – mostly in sephia tone to give them a very unusual look and feel.

At one point we found a gravestone with a nice, neat hole dug beside it. Chris grabbed her coffin purse and we put it in the hole, and took some photographs of it. We laughed and they turned out very unusual. We then found a bench which said Blythe Coffins. Aparantly placed there as an advertisement for a coffin company at some point. Tori and I took turns laying down on it with hands folded, and got some more photographs.

Around 13:00hrs or so we left the cemetery to stop at a local Subway to get some food, then returned to the cemetery.

We drove to the old section and walked amongst some of the greatest people in American History including Buffalo Bills son, World War I and World War II heros, Civil War Heros, Susan B. Anthony, Freemasons, and some of the wealthiest men and women in Rochester, NY.

As the day progressed and we explored some of the most forgotten graves, including some which had been smashed by falling trees, slipped down the sides of hills, and been consumed by the Earth herself, we decided to head home around 20:00hrs.

We stopped at the Cracker Barell just outside of Buffalo and then crossed the border with relative ease and arrived home around 21:30hrs.

It was a great way to spend Samhain.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

East Main Street Bridge (Dive 123)

Sunday, October 14 - 2007
08:50 – 11:00
Dive Number 123
Start: 08:39
Roads: Dry / clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +18C
Water Temp: +18C
Area: East Main Street Bridge, Welland, Ontario
Vehicle: Lada Niva
Weather: Mostly Cloudy
Visibility: 10m
Divers: Wolf, Chuck
Dive Wench(es): Tori, Rob
Maximum Depth: 10m
Plan: Exploration

We arrived early around 08:30hrs to find Rob waiting in his black sunfire for us. I kitted up and entered the water to relax a little bit as I brought my large 17L tank and wait for Chuck to arrive and kit up. The first thing I noticed about this particular area was that the visibility was significantly better than it has been in many moons. I could see so much further than ever before. Chuck arrived and kitted up as I was looking at the large amount of rubbish. Shopping trolleys, discarded bicycles, machine parts, photocopier parts, oil drums. There is so much rubbish here.

Chuck arrived on the bottom around 09:00hrs and we began our dive in this great visibility. We could see a lot of fish where before there weren't that many.

We swam around the bridge in awe of the rubbish and debris deposited here. Chuck managed to find himself another bowling ball!

It was an interesting dive with a lot to see. This is a great spot.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Trillian Railroad Bridge - Dain City (Dive 122)

Monday, October 08 - 2007
13:10 – 14:30
Dive Number 122
Start: 13:00
Roads: Dry / clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +20C
Water Temp: +10C
Area: Trillian Railroad Bridge - Dain City, Ontario
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Sunny and Clear
Visibility: 6m
Divers: Wolf, Chuck
Dive Wench(es): Tori, Rob
Maximum Depth: 10m
Plan: Exploration

Bridges are normally famous for people throwing things off of. Secluded bridges like the Trillian Railroad Bridge in Dain City, Ontario usually have even more rubbish and surprises under them.

We arrived around 12:30hrs and kitted up while waiting for our shore crew member Rob to arrive. We kitted up near a large transformer across from M.J. Jones Trucking. We entered at the base of the bridge and started to descend. Te bottom was full of silt and quite a bit of kelp near the edges. We saw all kinds of wooden pilings, a fire extinguisher, milk crate with a construction helmet in it, metal grates, ladders, slides, and even a rowing buoy attached to a bicycle. The visibility was around 6m near the bridge pylons but for some reason near the middle of the water way it was 1m or less. Near the large west bridge pylon there was quite a current. We returned to our exit point and relaxed for a bit to fill out our logbooks. The water was warm and there was a lot to see. There was a lot to see and another dive at this location would be warranted. Especially in cooler water when the visibility would be greater.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Welland Canal Night Dive (121)

Saturday, October 06 - 2007
20:30 – 21:15
Dive Number 121
Start: 20:30
Roads: Dry / clear
Visibility: 24km
Temp: +22C
Water Temp: +20C
Area: Old Welland Canal Train Swing Bridge
Vehicle: Black Sunfire
Weather: Starry Night
Visibility: 6m
Divers: Wolf, Chuck
Dive Wench(es): Tori, Rob
Maximum Depth: 12m
Plan: Night Dive

We arrived around 20:00hes and kitted up under a street lamp. There were a few prostitots and kinderho's nearby who expressed an interest in our activity. One exclaimed that people poop in the river. It has been several years since I have done a night dive. We walked across the street and down the hill to an old wooden dock. We entered the water and turned on our strobes and torches. I used my large black UK black torch and Chuck had a small back-up light as his main torch. We swam across under the bridge to see the rototiller, bed, and other items we had seen on the last dive here. There were quite a lot of fish here. The great part about diving at night is the environment is completely different. The fish all have their fins up, and were very docile. There are also a lot more fish to view. It always feels like we are hundreds of metres deep due to the darkness, not the shallow 12m we were at. For some reason we got an extra 2m depth at this spot than the last time we were here, which was an unexpected surprise. We found a small metal bucket which I filled with exhaust air and attached a weight to it and sent it up to the surface. It did, however, come back and knocked me in the noggin. Chuck found a small cement trowel. We saw a large piece of guard rail and a large metal slab and the top of an old oil drum. Sadly we came across the road cone with the model helicopter in it, but someone had removed the helicopter and it was nowhere to be seen. Around 50bar we ascended to the surface and swam back to the dock which Tori and Rob had lit up with candles so we could see them from the water. This was a great dive, and visibility was okay at 6m.