Cottage-country scuba diver to the rescue!

A scuba diver surrounded by items he pulled out of the lake Photo courtesy Jack Milne

What cottager hasn’t accidentally dropped something into the lake? If you’re lucky enough to cottage in the Kawarthas, no worries: Jack Milne is on the case. The local scuba diver has been cleaning up the water—and retrieving lost items—for the last two years. Because it’s fun. “I go out every chance I get,” he says. “It’s great to swim around and see what I can haul out in a single day.”

Jack first tried scuba diving during a trip to Thailand in 2017. “I was immediately hooked.” So the Cameron, Ont., resident took up the hobby in cottage country. He dives near swimming areas, cliff-jumping spots, and public boat docks. And he finds “a crazy array of items,” he says. Some of it is garbage. Some of it is valuable. And some of it is…confusing. “Once, I found a perfectly intact toilet.”

Jack retrieves items for both locals and cottagers. “This past summer, a lady contacted me; she’d lost her phone. It had all her family photos on it,” he says. “I geared up and went to help her right away.” He found the phone in the Fenelon Canal and—it’s a miracle!—it was still working. “All her photos were recovered.”

Jack, who earlier this year began training to be a diver for the Navy, enjoys the praise that he gets for all of his underwater volunteering. But mostly? “I hate seeing trash in the water, and I feel responsible to clean it up,” he says. “Very few people actually have that ability.”

Featured Video