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Diving the "Monster" near Ottawa

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Jason Billows

New Member
Sep 17, 2002
For anyone who's not aware of it and who will be in the Ottawa area this weekend, Dolphino's dive shop is organizing a dive to a mystery quarry called the "Monster".

Apparently it's crystal clear and is over 300m deep.

Dolphino's is only allowing 100 divers (scuba and freedivers) and most of the spots are gone. If you're interested in going, call Dolphino's ASAP.

Those of us at the Ottawa Freediving Club are excited as this new quarry is just what we've been looking for. At our last two competitions the constant ballast events had depth limits as the quarry we currently dive at is only 38meters deep. If this new quarry is everything we're expecting, we may have the capabilities of hosting some national or maybe even international competitions some day.

I'll post again after the dive and let everyone know how the "Monster" dive went.

We took on the "Monster" and survived. Below is a quick account of our day diving.

At 8am on Sunday, July 25th I arrived at Matt Charlton's home in Ottawa, the usual meeting place when we're heading out for a dive. Matt was waiting for me along with Roberto Cerdena, Aaron Wood (who drove up from Toronto) and David Rousseau (who was joining us from Tremblant). Before long we were loaded in the cars and heading off to the "Monster".

The "Moster" is a quarry that Tom Alberelli, owner of Dolphino's Dive Shop, had discovered last year. After some scouting dives, he made arrangmens with the land owner to organize a day of diving. This mystery dive site had attraced interest from lots of scuba divers, but it was us freedivers who were most excited.

The Monster was rumoured to be over 300 meters deep with easy shore access. If true, us Ottawa freedivers would have a solution to our depth limitations at the current quarry we dive at, which is only 38 meters deep.

An hour after leaving Matt's we pulled onto the quarry road. Tom Alberelli directed our cars into their parking spots and checked our names off the list. After a quick briefing we were getting ready to dive.

As we suited up there was lots of excitement around us. With so many cars and close to 100 divers, there was plenty of action and even more neoprene. It was a hot sunny day and the Salsa music blaring from the group of Cuban divers beside us had us all in a good mood.

The quarry was huge and looked more like a lake. The old quarry road which spirals down to the bottom of the water filled pit provided easy access to the water. We slipped into the water along with our floats and made our way to the deep water. Amazingly, the 300 meter section of the quarry was less than 50 meters off shore. We dropped our lines and started our warm ups.

As each of us emerged from our warm-up pull downs you could hear the words "That's *$%&#@$% Cold!" echo across the water. A thermocline at about 10m gave us a jolt, but it was the next thermocline at about 30m that made all of us wish we were wearing a parka. One of the scuba divers claims that the water temp was three degrees celcius at 30meters, but none of us took the time to hang around an check our guages. That being said, by the time you returned to the toasty temperatures on the surface you were warm again.

The water colour went from light green on the surface to black at depth. Visibility in the first 10 meters was only 5 to 8 meters, but below 20 meters in depth the viz was a good 15 meters without lights.

Despite the cold and darkness at depth, three of the five of us diving that day had personal bests. Roberto and David both pulled off easy 42 meter dives while Matt dolphin kicked his way to a personal best of 52 meters with his new monofin. Watching Matt pull off the dive with ease leads me to believe he'll be making a few more personal best performances before the World Freediving Championships in a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately Aaron was having some sinus trouble and wasn't able to dive to his potential. My siuses were a little squeaky also, and while I came within sight of a PB, there's no way I was going to do it that day.

After a couple of hours in the water we all decided it was time to go and dive bomb the scuba divers. We played around in the shallow waters with the scubbies for quite a while and eventually eased ourselves out of the quarry following more than three hours of diving.

All in all it was a great day. The "Monster" certainly has it's challenges (cold and dark), but we're always up for a challenge. We're hoping to return to the quarry again before too long and are already planning to host an Eastern regional competition there -- hopefully in the Fall. Who knows, maybe we'll be able to consider a national, Pan American or even international competiton some day.

So, if you're in the Ottawa area and looking to do some deep diving, we've got a 300 meter deep "Monster" waiting for you.

  • Like
Reactions: smellsfishy
Thank you Jason, for making such a precise description of the first dive at the Monster!
We really had a blast freediving over there.....after scratching several times for the last months our masks' glasses at the bottom of the Morrison's quarry, we finally got ''deeper'' waters!

Cheers to all the freedivers/spearos

Fantastic write-up Jason!

It really was a fantastic day. Although I wasn't feeling the best, it was great to see David, Roberto and Matt hit new PB's!

Although it's not really that close to the Toronto area, it's nice to finally have some deeper water in the East. Looking forward to the clinics and competitions we'll be able to host now as well.


are people still diving "the Monster" in Ottawa area?
I haven't seen anything about it since this post, and haven't heard about it anywhere else?

Hi Sushi!

Wow, I haven't even thought about the Monster Quarry in a long time! I haven't heard of anyone diving there. The divers I know from the Montreal area use Morrison's in Wakefield from time to time, and I'm not sure if there is still a freediving community in Ottawa or not.

If you do find yourself in the Toronto area give us a shout at Freedive Toronto!

Hi Aaron ;)

Thanks for your reply! Yes, its really weird, no mention of The "Monster quarry" anywhere else. It really looked like the perfect spot. Will look more into that.

And, not sure either if there is still a freediving community in Ottawa. Haven't found anybody yet.

Hopefully I can make it to Toronto this summer for some freediving!

Please do!

If you time the week properly... you can do freedive pool training on Monday, under water hockey on a Tuesday, underwater rugby on Wednesday (or deep line diving in lake Ontario), more uwh or more freedive pool training on Thursday and then a weekend trip to Tobermory!

Toronto as a freedive / apnea mecca... who knew or ever figured??

Hey Compadres!

My name is Marc, I am a freediving instructor for Apnea-Total in Thailand for few years already. I'm soon moving to Toronto and would be please to meet dives buddies (Toronto-Ottawa and Montreal). Keep on posting guys!

Marc Beaudet

AWESOME club with tone of breath-holding activities throughout the week and different activities throughout the year!

You'll be a great addition to the club!

He, I live in the ottawa area and am looking fo some kin of communit so at least if theres not I know a few people who woul be intereste in making one. Le me know!

And where exactly is this monster??
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