First Day Dip in a Blizzard

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jill HeinerthInto the Plant

I like to arrive on an expedition with plenty of time to assemble gear and work out the kinks before a project begins. I’m really pleased I kept to that plan, since today we are experiencing an epic blizzard in St. Johns. Several of our team members are stranded midway here due to cancelled flights. Johnny, Cas and decided to hit the water in full gear and make sure everything was operational. One flooded glove and one broken inflator meant more of a dip than a dive, but at least we identified some issues and will dive again in the morning.

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Our shore dive site was an interesting spot in Conception Harbour with three wrecked whaling ships. One sticks up out of the water, so it makes a gorgeous backdrop for the snow.

Site info from the Shipwreck Preservation Society:

SS Charcot was a steel whaling ship built in Tønsberg, Norway in 1923 for the A/S Hvalen whaling company. In 1943, it was sold to the Polar Whaling Company (owned by Christian Salvesen) and was based at the Hawke Harbour whaling station in southern Labrador. In 1956, Charcot was sold to the Hawke Harbour Whaling Company (owned by Johan Borgen) and it remained catching whales in southern Labrador. The Hawke Harbour whaling station burned down in 1959 and Charcot ended up in Conception Harbour, where it was berthed during the 1960s. Between 1968 and 1970, Charcot broke its moorings and ran aground on the beach in Conception Harbour, where it remains today.

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In 2013, the Shipwreck Preservation Society surveyed the three whaling shipwrecks in Conception Harbour and identified this ship as Charcot (it had previously been mistakenly called the Sposa by many in Conception Harbour). This wreck is visible from shore and is a favourite with photographers.

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