MOUNTAIN LIFE - Ontario | Winter 2016 - page 58

Words byNelsonPhillips :: Photos by JerzyKowalczuk
GeorgianBayhas a reputation as amenacingbodyof freshwater,
defended fromLakeHuronby the craggy limestone knuckles of the
BrucePeninsula. SherwoodFox’s book
states: “Onemust always expectwrecks tooccur off the rock-bound
shores of LakeHuron’s great promontory…The verymentionof
thePeninsula put fear into the sailor’s heart.”
So if photographer JerzyKowalczuk startedboring a huge hole
through the thick ice of FathomFiveNationalMarineParkoff
Tobermorywith ice divingonhismind, would itmake youwonder
how sane the guy is?The very thought of taking a dip inGeorgian
Bay is, after all, a coldone, even in summer. Sodoing it in the
height ofwinter is
wait for it
unfathomable, formost.
Hemust know something the rest of us don’t. Andhe’s adamant
that the danger ofwinter diving inone ofCanada’smost feared
freshwater ponds isworth the risk.
“When you’re under the ice,” says Jerzy, “it’s kindofmagical.
You forget you’re diving
youhave to reallywatch your air
Jerzy starteddiving inSouthAfrica’s shark-infestedwaters off
Capetown, beforemoving toMississauga a few years ago. “There’s
notmuch todo in thewinter,” says Jerzy. “So ice diving came into
mymindwhen I came toCanada.”
He headed toLake Simcoe but thewaterwasmurky at best.He
started thinking about givingFathomFive a trywhen some friends
from the area started a dive shop andbegan checking the conditions
on a regular basis.
The first dive happened in 2013, with a three-person crewnear
the lighthouse of BigTubharbour.The reef-like rock formations
and crystal-clear watermade the decision to return an easy one.
Factor in the numerous shipwrecks, courtesy ofTheBruce’s
brutish reputation for storms, and you’ve got a recipe for some
pretty unique photography.
Jerzy rocks aNikonD800E cozied inside anAquatica underwater
housingbuilt inMontreal. But insteadof taking a few leisurely
snaps here and there, he takes awaterproof strobe lighting setup
down into the depths sohe’s sure to get the right shot,makinghis
photos thatmuchmore intriguing.
The Icing
on the Lake
1...,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56,57 59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,...128