North Bay News: Scuba Club cleans marina boat ramp

Divers from the North Bay Scuba Club were gearing up and diving into the boat ramp at the Lake Nipissing marina to clear the waters of trash and debris ahead of the boating season.

It’s also a warm-up dive for club members who can’t wait to start their diving season. Six divers split into pairs to pull out what they could find from the depths of the murky waters.

“For sure, anything foreign in the water contributes to pollution and we do that as a service to the town and the marina,” said North Bay Scuba Club member Rick Taylor. “Let’s say there’s a lawn chair underwater and you’re coming in with your boat. It could get stuck in your propeller.”

Divers fished out beer cans, tires, rope and an entire beach umbrella.

It’s also a warm-up dive for divers like Andrew Taylor. With his goggles and air bottle strapped to his back, he is mesmerized by the underwater mystery.

“There’s this experience of weightlessness that you have when you can see 40 feet below you and you see the bottom and you’re just flying towards it,” Taylor said.

They’ve been cleaning the shallow area for 20 years and finding all kinds of stuff.

“In the past, we’ve removed things like boat tops, tarps, barbecues, tools, sunglasses and propellers,” Rick Taylor said.

In some cases, divers are able to return lost items to the owner. The North Bay Fire Department has contacted the club asking its divers to search for a lost fire axe.

“Apparently they were doing water rescue simulation and training and it got lost or eluded them over the winter,” diver Rick Thibeault said.

It was Thibeault’s task to find and recover the axe.

The diving club celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It offered training courses for new divers. But that stopped ten years ago. It always welcomes new divers of all levels who are looking to find calm and serenity when they are immersed underwater.

“If I could stay longer, I would live there if I could” smiles Thibeault. He added that seasoned divers always get that thrill when they take a trip underwater.

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