Southern Trail Unmoored

ST Buoy 
Southern Trail Mooring Buoy

It was a cold and blustery sunday morning, so John Millar and Chris Phinney decided to visit an old friend and take down a project buoy for the season. The trip to the Southern Trail was quick at first with Chris at the helm, the inflatable skimmed over the chop easily. Once out of the Leslie Street Spitt’s lea, the trip slowed down as one meter swells rolled in. Piloting a zig zag course to compensate, the trip was completed without too many spine shattering bumps, taking only a few minutes longer than usual. ST Buoy

ST Buoy Below 
Bottom of the mooring system
ST Stern Balast 
Mooring balast and ground tackle

Entering the sheltered bay that contains the project wreck Southern Trail, the Liquid Archaeology buoy was still sitting high in the water just as installed in the spring. Tying into the mooring John and Chris quickly slipped beneath the surface and descended, inspecting the down line and hardware as they went. Upon reaching the balast, the shackle wire was cut free and the pin loosened. Once the tools were secured the team made their way over to the wreck to perform a quick visual survey of the current conditions.  A thorough examination of the wreck was undertaken starting with the stern. The lugitudinal gap in the hull at the stern deck from the 2005 anchor damage has not changed in any decernable way. The rest of the Trail is little changed from last season with the exception of noticable silt buildup.

ST Salon Stern Starboard Corner 
Salon port window and cabinet wall
ST Top of Galley 
Top of galley cabinet was free of silt in the spring. 
Now has about 1 cm on it.

Since the 2005 damage and subsequent mooring project undertaken by Liquid Archaeology the wreck s
eems to be much more stable and no further damage has been detected. Many times durring the season when on site for survey work, various recreational vessels were seen using the mooring. None were observered anchored within the 45m radius that the text on the buoy warns of. All indications are that this mooring project is a success, protecting the wreck from inadvertant destruction. 

ST John in Salon 
John Millar inspecting the inside of the salon.
ST Lifeboat Cradle 
Lifeboat cradle on roof

Chris and John completed several training drills before returning to the boat and releasing the ground tackle. The team retrieved the buoy and dive gear from the water and secured the boat for the ride back. Upon reaching the mouth of the bay, they were met by waves of various height up to aprox 3m and a stiff arctic wind. John experly piloted the inflatable out into the lake until a bearing could be made on the Ash Bridges marina. A short rollercoaster ride later and another job completed, all before noon.

ST Chris Over Bow 
Chris Phinney above bow provisioning hatch
ST John Over Bow 
John Millar above bow provisioning hatch
All photography by Chris Phinney or John Millar.
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About Chris Phinney

An IWMS Systems Manager and part time student at McMaster University. Chris is studying anthropology, more specifically archaeology working towards his BA. Chris was formerly a dive shop manager and is factory trained in regulator and equipment service. Chris enjoys research and studying fine details.