You think you know Muskoka?
Think again. Think under your dock. Think below your boat.
Those who visit this unseen world find a whole body and soul experience—tranquility, weightlessness and intrigue. Divers are engulfed in a sensory solitude while at the same time participating in an activity that demands technical skills necessary for safety and enjoyment.
When you hear the term scuba diving, you most likely think of the jewel-blue waters of the Caribbean. To be sure, some of the world’s most stunning sights lie in warm, tropical waters. The salinity of seawater offers a higher degree of positive buoyancy, or floating. Tropical waters demand that a diver refine skills of buoyancy control (using weighting, for example). Typically, warmer waters boast a greater number of aquatic wildlife. Tropical ocean scuba diving has quickly become a popular destination activity around the world.
For a different, or altogether new, experience however, many divers are choosing to build skills and experience in freshwater diving. It offers unique experiences, with unique technicality— as it relates to the gear worn, weighting, as well as diving in colder temperatures and with lower visibility. When diving in Muskoka, the colder freshwater means that your drysuit allows for a relatively steady buoyancy, reducing concerns around overweighting. In fact, it’s been said that if you can dive in Muskoka waters, you can dive anywhere.
Many treasures lie in wait here in the waters of Muskoka’s 1600 lakes. Divers have found everything from stunning geographical features and underwater boat wrecks, to surprising freshwater jellyfish, and even a 94-year-old bottle of J.P Wiser’s whiskey.
We wanted to learn how to explore Muskoka’s murky mysteries so we spoke to the owners of Scuba Shack.
“Scuba diving is so much more than simply a hobby or a sport,” says co-owner Jane Mark. “There’s something about the peace of being underwater.”
Scuba Shack is Muskoka’s own recreational and technical dive headquarters based in Gravenhurst. Owners Dean & Jane Mark take pride in their shop’s ability to effectively outfit, train and certify scuba divers and snorkelers, and to make sure that customers have a safe and exciting experience in the waters of Muskoka and beyond.
As a year-round dive store, the Scuba Shack specializes in selling and servicing snorkeling and scuba diving gear. They are the only CTC hydrostatic test centre in Muskoka.
“We pride ourselves on spending time with our customers, making sure that their equipment is theright equipment for the type of diving that they’re
going to do, and that it fits them properly,” says Jane.
So what are some of Muskoka’s best dives? The Waome is definitely a must-see. At about 70’ deep, this passenger steamship found its resting place on October 6, 1934, taking three of the seven lives that were aboard it. A storm sunk the ship in less than a minute. It sits upright and quite intact, making for a very interesting dive. The dark water of Lake Muskoka requires sufficient dive lighting in order to enjoy the decks and hidden wonders of the Waome.
The J.C. Morrison wreck dive, off Barrie’s waterfront docks, will have you exploring the remains of a steamer that caught fire in August 1857. The Morrison was quickly cut loose from the dock and sent into the bay to burn. Woken from their sleep, all four passengers, plus Captain Bell, dashed off the boat, some of them nearly naked. With considerable misfortune, this was the fourth such loss by burning for Captain Bell, who never bore blame for the wreck of the Morrison.
The Grotto & The Wall on Lake Joseph is an enjoyable, cavern-type dive in a playground of rocks and glacial boulders. It offers interesting geographical features and swim-throughs to explore. Of the Muskoka lakes, Lake Joe has some of the best visibility. The Wall is a match for both recreational and technical divers, with a depth of up to 285’.
Whether you have made Muskoka your recreation home
for years or are experiencing it for the first time, consider seeing it in a new way—underwater. (Of course, cottage owners also use scuba diving as a tool for independent property maintenance or object recovery).
Invite the adventure of scuba diving into your life—starting from your own dock!
Contact the Scuba Shack today at 705.687.5879 or by email