Social Media Brings New England Divers to Descend on Moosehead Lake
By: Moosehead Lake Divers
"It's a pretty remote area, and when you dive, you don't dive alone, so I began looking for other divers on social media and various dive websites." Robbins met Jonathan Slack of Winslow, ME over Labor Day Weekend 2014 where they both made their first Moosehead dive on the remains of the steamship Kineo. "I heard there was someone up at Moosehead looking for a dive buddy and I was in the area," said Slack, "So I contacted him [Robbins]." The two dove on the remains of the steamship Kineo the next morning. "I wasn't really sure what I was going to see," said Slack. "At about 40' in near darkness we saw the Kineo stern and steam engine rising out of the bottom…then right nearby were the intact wooden timbers of the old shipways!" Inspired by their experience, Robbins and Slack became friends on Facebook.
Moosehead Lake offers history for the curious; Robbins looked to social media and used the Moosehead Memories community page on Facebook for some of his research on Moosehead steamships. "I started by posting an album of about 100 pictures of the Squaw Mountain Ski Area…it's turned into a collection of over 160 albums with more than 15,000 pictures and articles which tell the story of the area," said Lisa Devin of Greenville, ME, who curates the page. Devlin had posted images from a collection at the Moosehead Marine Museum in Greenville, ME of sunken steamship maps drawn by previous divers. "People love the dive videos these guys share with me…it's fascinating to see what's down there," said Devin.
Early this summer, Ryan met another diver, Garrett Kane of Bridgewater, MA through Scubaboard.com. "After swapping stories about diving in Moosehead, Ryan and I did a shore dive together in Rockport, MA and decided to dive together over the July 4th weekend up at Moosehead," said Kane, whose family owns a camp in Lily Bay and whose father Matt Kane is also an avid diver. Robbins and Kane made two wreck dives and one terrain exploration dive on an underwater pinnacle Robbins found using sonar charts. "We both surfaced after that dive and were exhilarated and amazed by what we saw. It was like Mount Katahdin…but underwater!" beamed Robbins. The two report giant 10' tall ledge steps, sheer walls of bedrock carved by glaciers, and a lot of fishing tackle. "I'll never forget that dive," said Kane and continued, "While it was nearly pitch black at about 50' deep, with our dive lights we saw some amazing rock formations…and decided we had naming rights." The two described "Dead Eye Rock" as simply a rock about a foot wide with a hole in the middle of it. Robbins and Kane also quipped about "Alien Head" which looks pretty much like it sounds. "We both vowed to come back and share this with other divers," said Robbins.
Robbins reached out to social media with dive videos to gather some interest in another dive trip to Moosehead. Robbins posted an open invitation on New England Scuba Divers' group page on Facebook. "I started the page to provide a network of local divers to be able to find divers to go when and where you want to dive….local divers, for local divers," said Bruce Webber of Boston, MA who moderates the New England Scuba Divers Group page.
On July 25th Robbins returned to Moosehead with Slack, Kane, and two other divers – Matthew MacDonald and Patrick Laase of the Lake Winnipesauke, NH area. The group made two terrain dives, and one wreck dive on the steamship Twilight. One was a discovery dive at another 'new' area Robbins pinpointed from his electronic sonar charts. "I operate a dive charter boat on Lake Winnipesauke and take people out all the time. I always thought that was good diving…'till I came up to Moosehead. Black Ledge was a totally out of this world experience. It's a vertical wall with ledge overhangs, clear visibility, but dark as night. I hit over 100' feet and still couldn't find the bottom of that wall!" remarked Laase. "I've logged over 1000 dives…it still blows my mind."
After these dives, Robbins decided to put together the "Moosehead Lake Divers" group page on Facebook. "While I love diving, discovering, and seeing what's down there…my favorite thing is hearing the first few stunned speechless words out of my dive buddies mouths after a Moosehead Lake dive," said Robbins. "There's no better feeling I get than sharing this place with others…social media was an easy solution to getting the word out."
Diving is a social sport with a tight-knit community. Robbins has found a way to combine his love of Moosehead Lake nature and history with diving and share with other fellow scuba divers using social media. "Like other popular outdoor sports…I want to see Moosehead become a destination for divers too!" said Robbins. "The opportunities to make discoveries are endless – Moosehead has an amazing story to tell of numerous steamships, the Kineo House Hotel, and also a 12,000 year old geological history. We get to see it all underwater."
Moosehead Lake Divers will return over Labor Day Weekend with a total of eight divers in their group. Visit the Moosehead Lake Divers Facebook group page to learn more!