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Wreck Diving the Islander

Features:

 

  • popular: easy to find a dive buddy
  • tank fills within 100 feet of the site
  • Sunk: September 16, 1909
  • Depth 35 to 50 feet
  • Dive obstacle course downstreem of wreck
  • floating restaurant nearby

 

Introduction:

The Islander is one of the most popular shore dives in Alexandria Bay.  Easy parking, access, entry and support make this a delightful introduction to diving in the 1000 Islands.  Located just downstream behind the Hospital at Alexandria Bay, it’s easy to find. You will also generally find other divers there, so you can nearly always find a dive buddy, if you didn’t bring your own.  It’s a popular site for Open Water and other dive certification classes.

 

The dive site is sponsored by Delta Divers of Rome, NY.  Delta Divers maintains an underwater navigation course and underwater dive platform at the site. Weekends during the summer months parking can be at a premium so get there early and have a full day of fun.  Hunt’s Dive Shop has air and nitrox right at the dive site to support multiple dives.  Many people consider this DIVE CENTRAL for diving the Thousand Islands.

 

There are actually at least 4 distinct dives you can do from the Islander.  There is the Islander itself, a drift dive from Casino Island to the Islander, a trip to “The Wall” and a tour under “The Only Floating Restaurant” in the Thousand Islands.

 

History:

The Islander was a wooden side wheel steamer built in Rochester, NY in 1871.  125 feet long, displacing 118 tons owned by the Folger Lines. She was tied to the Cornwall Building Dock near the Thousand Island House in Alexandria Bay, when she caught fire just after midnight and burned to the waterline on September 16, 1909.   It was feared that the Thousand Island House and the nearby Marsden House would catch fire as well.  The guest were woken, but fortunately the buildings were spared. The Islander was valued at $50,000 at the time of her demise.

 

She lies mostly intact in depths from 35 to 50 feet with a mild current. She lies parallel to shore with her bow pointed upriver. Be aware that the current at this site is usually reverse of the way you would expect it, due to the eddy created by Casino Island and the speed of the current in the main channel which lies beyond the green buoy.

 

With years of being one of the most popular dive sites, she still turns up an occasional bottle or piece of china.  Some of it is planted there for your entertainment, so please leave it for others to enjoy as well.

Just downstream from the wreck there is an obstacle course and underwater dive platform set up for dive training. A nice opportunity to test your skills and polish up your communications and other techniques.

 

As you continue your tour down river you will pass the pilings holding up what’s left of Captain Thomson’s old hotel.  Shortly thereafter you will find the Captain Thomson’s Floating Restaurant overhead.  On the southwest corner of the floating hotel, you will find a camera on a pole.  Do a favor for the nice folks sitting up in the bar, clean the lens and then smile and show them your pearly whites.

Watch your depth and your air at all times and determine the best time to turn around and go back to the Islander for your 3 minute safety stop and/or deco if you’ve been down long enough to require one. If you follow the contour of the shore and stay at 15-20 feet for the return, you’ll likely not need to stop when you get back to the collapsed pier and the Islander.