The weather gave us a welcomed break and we met the dive boat A.B. Marie and our captain, Jean-Pierre Bouillon at the marina at 10 am. Although this is a bit late to start the day, it gave me an opportunity to check and re-check the closed-circuit rebreather that I will be using throughout the course of my dives to the Empress. I will be using air as my diluent and my deep PPO2 setpoint will be 1.3. In my dive group, I will have some of New Jersey's upincoming leading wreck divers named Tony Granata, Charlie Howlett and Ray Stine, all making their first dives to the Empress. The trip to the Empress from the Rimouski marina is only a brief 25 minutes and the seas were very calm. I had Jean-Pierre place our mooring right at the forward mid-ships section of the Empress of Ireland. The first dive team to the shipwreck consisted of Charlie Howlett and myself. Our plan was to circumnavigate the entire bow from the tie-in at the mid-ships area. Our tie-in is through two portholes that are in the first class dining salon forward of the explosion hole that hard-hat divers used to get the mail and silver from the Empress back in 1914. Once on the wreck, it was very dark and I led Charlie down to the promenade level where beautiful teak flooring is readily apparent. We proceeded to the remnants of the ships bridge, where we saw the port side access way where the bridge officers would walk out to take their daily readings. As we move forward, we went over the bridge area and down the forecastle where several decks are seen. Their empty portholes and window seem to call us to take a peek inside. While down on deck the huge cargo winches are clearly seen and I took Charlie down to an intact stairwell that connected the crew's quarters and the cargo area to the rest of the ship. As we passed over the huge expanse of the cargo hold, we can see two plaques that were dedicated to three divers who lives were lost on the Empress and another plague that marked the 80th anniversary of the loss of many Salvation Army lives while going over to England for a band competition. Going forward, we saw the crew's quarters with very wide access that could entrap an unsuspecting diver. I proceeded to go to the extreme portion of the bow so that I could showcase the beautiful port side letters that spell out the ship - EMPRESS of IRELAND! No mistake about what we are diving here. While making our way back amidships, I decided to show Charlie one of the remaining lifeboats on the ship. I took an unconventional route that saw us take a diagonal swim right across the collapsed bridge, over the collapsed music room where a beautiful glass dome once stood and down to the bottom of the murky St. Lawrence where a starboard lifeboat was still in place on its davit. The wooden lattice of the lifeboat was very apparent. Now it was time to end our dive but before we surfaced, I showed Charlie some beautiful black-and-white checkered tiling from one on the social rooms that were very pristine. Small pieces of broken porcelain littered this area of the wreck. As we hit the portside railing, we were right at our tie-in spot. Having over 100 dives to this shipwreck gives you the opportunity to be that precise on a wreck where visibility was about ten feet and the temperature was between 34-36 degrees Fahrenheit. We spent about 25 minutes decompressing and then got back on our dive vessel. Following a ninety-minute surface interval, we got in a second dive where I treated Tony to a similar dive that I had initially completed with Charlie.