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NOAA designates new national marine sanctuary in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan

Wed, 23/06/2021 - 03:22

“Preserving this region furthers the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision of locally-led, collaborative conservation,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This designation is also an exciting opportunity for the public to celebrate and help protect this piece of our nation’s rich maritime history.”

An exciting recreational opportunity: a diver swims over the two-masted schooner, Walter B. Allen, which sank in 1880. (Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society)

Great Lakes: Lake Michigan Shipwreck Mysteries

Explorer Capt. Jitka Hanakova at stern of EMBA wreck, Lake Michigan. Photo by Becky Kagan Schott.

My first dive in the Great Lakes was 20 years ago. I remember descending into dark green water and limited visibility. My joke for years was, “Do you know why they call it Lake Erie? Because it’s just that—it’s Erie.” Soon after that, I moved to Florida with my family and forgot all about the Great Lakes because I had warm, tropical reefs in my backyard. Fast-forward to five years ago and I had my next experience diving in Lake Superior.

Great Lakes: Shipwrecks of Presque Isle

The year is 1880, and you are working on a wooden schooner, one of the most dangerous jobs during the time. It is late November and it is the last run of the season. The ship is overloaded with coal and the seas start to pick up. It is now dark and the icy waves are crashing over the sides, and all you can do is work to keep the ship afloat. Ice is now forming on the rigging, and out of the fog, the bow of another ship suddenly appears.

(Unrelated file photo) Drake Wreck Buoy in Church Bay, off Northern Ireland.

Michigan shipwrecks to be marked with buoys

The goal is to help preserve the state's shipwrecks by giving divers another option besides hooking a line directly onto the wreck, as is customary now.

"Putting a mooring buoy on a shipwreck is absolutely, hands-down, the best form of physical protection you can do for a wreck," Wayne Lusardi, a state maritime archaeologist at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, told Mlive.com

Great American Journey

Whitemouth moray eel, Kona, Hawaii. Photo by Jennifer Idol.

Returning from the pristine reefs of Tobago, I flew over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Aghast, I set out on a journey that would help me illuminate waters of the United States to help people better understand their national treasure. I became the first woman to dive all 50 states at the end of last year.

Great Lakes: A Haven for Wreck Divers

There are other areas of the world with well-preserved shipwrecks, but the Great Lakes has the monopoly on sheer mass, variety and relative ease of access. Very few known dive-able wrecks are much more than a few hours boat ride from a decent restaurant, a chain hotel or a decent-sized town. Isle Royale, in Lake Superior, is a notable exception, but most wreck dive sites in the Great Lakes do not demand an expedition set up to reach.

Shipwreck Hunters Discover U.S.A.F. Aircraft lost 62 years ago

On September 11, 1952, the C-45 was on a routine flight from Bedford, Massachusetts to Griffis Air Force Base near Rome, New York when the left engine began failing about 40 miles southeast of Utica

 

The C-45 is almost totally intact. The fibreglass nose cone is missing as are the vertical stabilizers. One of the blades of the left propeller broke off and lies nearby on the bottom. Part of the windshield was broken and the left side of the body behind the wing has been torn away.