Bart Bjorkman manufactures and markets gas blending systems for nitrox, as well as instructing recreational and commercial divers in nitrox and gas blending. A commercial diver, he is full cave trained and has visited cave systems in Florida and the Yucatan.
He has published articles on such diverse subjects as the use of antidiuretic hormone for diving and has been a speaker at technical diving shows. He is presently involved with the Workers’ Compensation Board for setting policy in commercial nitrox and gas blending and is researching and writing a course manual for gas blending. In 1997 he was involved in the USS Monitor Expedition as well as the City of Ainsworth.
While carrying furnishings for a new hotel in Creston, B.C., the 84′ long sternwheeler, S.S. City of Ainsworth, foundered and sank in a vicious storm on November 29, 1898. Occurring on the 75 mile long Kootenay Lake in the southern interior of British Columbia, it was heralded as “A disaster, unparalleled in the annals of the navigation of the inland lakes of Kootenay…”.
Seven crew and two passengers were lost during two attempts to launch lifeboats when the ship foundered about 3 km from shore. Twenty-two passengers and crew survived by recovering one of the lifeboats, and once ashore the moon came up and the survivors could see that the Ainsworth had beached herself nearby. Unable to secure the damaged ship, she was blown off shore and sank, with no cargo ever salvaged.
The Ainsworth was located by a side scan sonar search and ROV inspection in 1990 and in 1997 two Cambrian Foundation divers became the first open circuit divers on the wreck. The dive team made two dives to the wreck and shot video footage of the City of Ainsworth from bow to stern. Today, she rests upright in 360 feet of water, her hull and paddlewheel intact and her pilothouse and upper deck damaged, but still present. Bart Bjorkman was one of these two divers and will present video footage from this expedition.