(The Mason Family relax after training dives at Mamainse.)
Picnic at Mamainse August 17, 2004
From right to extreme right: Hans Devos, Bob Cooper, Graeme Cooper,
Meghan Alton, Katherine Dowding (uppr.) and Rebecca Beith
What: A former artillery anti-aircraft practice site, interesting for its underwater rock formations, including quartz and copper outcroppings.
Where: About 19 kilometres past the Canadian Carver in Mica Bay, on Highway 17 north of Sault Ste. Marie.
Wow Factor: Adjust your gear in the small 20' deep bay at the entrance point, then head out on the ledge to your left. A cut in the rock will take you into Lake Superior and down as far as you want to go. Starting at about 100', start looking for the WWII drones used as target practice used for target practice. (Not everyone was a good shot, apparently.)
Caution! If you see unexploded shells - LEAVE THEM BE!! Do not attempt to bring them back to the surface.
Note: Use your compass. It's easy to get confused out here and there is a whole lake to get lost in.
Also: Watch your depth gauge. On a clear day the visibility is excellent, and it's easy to go too deep.
Dive #1 - Mamainse Chasm (May be combined with Dive #2)
Experience Level: Beginner to Moderate shore dive. (Surf may cause swells. Sometimes quite rough. Exercise discretion.
Depth: 30' to much, much deeper.
Directions: To Mamainse Point. Follow Highway 17 North out of Sault Ste. Marie for about 95 km, until you pass through the Hamlet of Mamainse Harbour. A little further up the road is a billboard forthe Big Bird Inn. Turn left onto the gravel driveway opposite this sign and keep to your left. You will come to a cul-de-sac with a fire pit in it. This is where you suit up.
Entry Procedure: Follow the pathway (Watch the big step up.) toward the lake. You'll have to go out onto the short point of rocks in front of you (about 20 metres or so from the step). On the left side of this point the bottom drops quickly to about 15'. A giant stride entry will do you well here. Take a look lakeward and you'll see a rock point, with a smaller rock visible out of the water. Between these there is a crack in the rock, your first entry point. Swim between them and bear slightly to your right and you'll find a chasm about 4 feet wide.
Exit Procedure; Simply put: swim back the way you came, or follow the point out and around.
Dive #2 0 Mamainse Depths and Drones Follow your compass and watch your depth gauge.
Experience Level: Advanced shore dive. Deep and surf may cause swells. Proceed with discretion.
Depth: To 130'. It is possible to go deeper by inattention to your depth gauge. Proceed with caution.
Entry Procedure: Same as for the Chasm. On the far side of the Chasm you'll find smooth, dome-shaped bedrock. Keep going down to the bottom at about 70'. By swimming further you will easily hit 90+ feet. If your air permits, there are some old target drones out there at about 120'.
Exit Procedure: Same as for the Chasm.