By John Moore, Columnist
On May 7th, a very exciting event took place at Maskwa Aquatic Club on Kearney Lake. Halifax Search and Rescue(HSAR) and Torpedo Ray Scuba Adventures diving performed several rescue exercises the main one being an operation to recover several kayaks that had been underwater for a number of years. I had the pleasure of observing this amazing rescue which featured new Sonar equipment made possible by Councillor Tony Mancini and all his fellow HRM Councillors. This operation would not have been successful without the help of this new equipment as the water at Kearney Lake is very dark and murky especially at greater depths. These boats were down 50 or 60 feet so not a task for the faint of heart. Viewing this operation with me was Mary Ann Cameron, Chair of the Kearney Lake Residents Association as well as the Chair of Friends of Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Association. Mary Ann is a keen advocate of protecting all things in and around Kearney Lake. She is particularly concerned about silt run off coming from the former concrete plant site on the roadside of Kearney Lake and feels it should be closely monitored. It is hoped the new Lake Watchers initiative sponsored by HRM will help keep an eye on this to make sure it does not get out of hand.
I had the occasion to speak at some length with volunteers from HSAR. First and foremost, I was told they are a volunteer organization that rely on the public for funding. More than ever, because of increased outdoor activity, their services are in great demand . They desperately need more volunteers and funds to keep up with this increased demand. The three large rescue vehicles that were located in the Maskwa parking lot were all named after former HSAR members who were instrumental in obtaining these vehicles.
While the rescue of the Maskwa kayaks was taking place a mock search and rescue mission was taking place in the Blue Mountain wilderness park where volunteers were tasked with looking for a lost mother and daughter. In real life the volunteers told me the increasing numbers of users in the Blue Mountain area are resulting in more people getting lost. The mapped directional signs are a help however GPS coordinates on these signs would be a tremendous help for any search and rescue efforts. Another idea would be for users to draw up a trip plan and leave it on their car windshield should they get lost. This would be something for the stewardship team from Friends of BMBCL to consider. Given how expensive search and rescue missions can be it is an idea worth pursuing . Meanwhile back at the lake the Torpedo Ray divers managed to snag not one but two kayaks . The first one brought to surface was a K 2 in relatively good condition . This would be worth $7500 brand new, so Maskwa was excited to get this back into service . Another find and part of Maskwa lore was the infamous lost K 4 sunk over 20 years ago. When it was brought to the surface only half of it was there. Nevertheless Maskwa’s Mr. Fix It extraordinaire Dan Dugie indicated parts could be used for other club boats. This gem costs $10,000 brand new so this rescue mission was very worthwhile and beneficial for Maskwa.
A big shout out to Halifax Search and Rescue for organizing this great event and to Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures for rescuing these lost Maskwa boats. If you are interested in volunteering, feel free to google the HSAR website. HSAR is also in the middle of their annual fund raising campaign so please bear that in mind as you search them out. Happy June knowing summer is on its way!
Photo credits to https://www.facebook.com/HalifaxSAR/