The JC Morrison

Canada, Ontario
Entry Map
Max Depth
25.9 ft

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at The JC Morrison

The JC Morrison ( approx 75 ft long)is a dual side wheel paddler built in 1854 that sank after catching fire in 1857. She was cut adrift from the nearby wharf to save other ships and sank where she currently lies after burning to the water line. Initially, both paddle wheels were present on the wreck but a local sailing club took it upon themselves to remove them to deeper water. After getting their behinds smacked for doing this, they managed to locate one wheel and dragged it back to the wreck. The other is still missing. The remaining wheel lies on it's side about 40 feet from the port side of the wreck, 20 feet aft of the bow. The hull is almost flattened, other than the walking arm ( part of the engine) which protrudes towards the surface. If you're looking for Bass with attitude, this is where they hang out. Of note, there is a plastic encased artifact case attached to the bow, directly below the surface marker line. A clay tobacco pipe is the most easily identified artifact. If you follow the hull aft, you'll eventually come across a line leading out into the gloom. There is a tank like structure there that is commonly mistaken for the ship's boiler, but apparently has nothing to do with the wreck at all and is just something to look at. Following that line further ( about 2 more minutes) will lead you to the city of Barrie's water treatment outfall pipes. If you're cold, this is the place to warm up. That water is bathtub warm and also clean. You can also use the outfalls as a means of propulsion from one to the next as they are little jet engines when you cup your hands in front. The viz on site varies considerably with both weather and if there have been classes in the last hour or so as it's a popular OW training site and mud puppies abound. It can be 40 can be nothing. If the wind is onshore ( from the east), viz drops too. It's a fun little dive to do if other sites are weather bound as this one rarely ever is closed other than for effluent problems. Edit: What a difference two years makes!!!I dived the JC a week ago after a two year hiatus. Silt's still there, viz still iffy but my gawd has the bow been busted up. It's been twisted 90 degrees to port!!!! The supports for the walking beam are going as well. The diver traffic has gone up substantially with many operators using this site as a training ground which explains a lot. Not even the fish want to hang around there anymore. Shore dive: Grab a spot in the parking lot and approach the water (only a 20 second walk). You'll find a tree stump with a line either attached to it or on a chunk of concrete nearby. This is your entry, watch your footing and don't stir up too much muck or you'll have difficulty finding the line again. You could always surface swim to the marker if need be, it's about 300 feet out. Dive flags are a must here. The area is supposed to be off limits to PWC's but they show up anyway and the wreck attracts fishermen.
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