Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Speakers announced for 32nd Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival

The 32nd Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival has been set for March 2 at Washtenaw Community College.
The event will be located in the college's Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River Drive in Ann Arbor between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The festival is a partnership between the Ford Seahorse Scuba Dive Club, the Detroit Historical Society's Dossin Maritime Group and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.
I attended the festival for the first time last year, and it was a tremendous experience. I wrote several stories about the festival and recorded several interviews, all of which are posted on this blog.
I plan on attending again this year and recommend it to you as well.
Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For ticket information or program details, visit, call (734) 485-0492 or e-mail
Shipwrecks are always the theme of this event and this year is no exception. The Festival will provide seminars that include Great Lakes maritime history and shipwreck presentations along with Saltwater exotic locations and Educational/Technical topics.
In the Festival Shipwreck Room they will have a number of entertaining presentations; Valerie van Heest will share two new Lake Michigan shipwreck programs—including the wreck of the whaleback Henry Cort. David Trotter will present four new shipwreck finds from 2011/12 including the 268 foot steamer New York. Jim and Pat Stayer will highlight the 100th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1913 in their program. Tony Gramer brings us video on the tug Anna Dobbins lost in Saginaw Bay in 1886. Ross Richards will have a program on Michigan Mystery Losses.
In the exotic Saltwater Room, Tony Gramer will take us to the Philippines where his program will include a very special whale shark encounter. Roger Roth will take us to Hawaii and share his video “Why Dive it Again?” Dave Haas will share his presentation on the Caribbean destination Bonaire. Jim and Pat Stayer will show their video of Yap “Sharks, Mantas and Macro.” David Heidemann will share his images of Diving the Blue Heron Bridge in Florida. Rudy Whitworth will provide presentations from Indonesia: “Flores – Alor – Komodo” and “Raja Ampat—Papua Paradise.”
For the Tech/Ed Room, Rich Synowiec, in his presentation will take us “From Wreck to Tech Wreck” diving. Luke Clyburn and John O’Shea, were standing room only last year and both speakers will return with updated presentations. Robert McGreevy has a historical presentation on the Key Stone State — she was a side wheel steamer built in 1849 and lost with all 33 souls on board in 1861. Officers from the MI State Police UW Recovery Unit will have a presentation on the search and recovery of a light plane lost in Lake Michigan. James Mott will present a seminar on “Gas Management.” David Haas will take us on “The Digital Journey in Underwater Imagery” and conclude with info on the latest and greatest UW photo gear.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dying Loons: Thousands of dead birds are showing up on northern Michigan’s shorelines

This story has nothing to do with scuba diving, but I will make the assumption that most scuba divers care about the environment or at least are concerned about damage being done to the enviroment.
I wrote this story because I think it's something that everyone in the state of Michigan, the Midwest and the southern part of the United States should know about.
Thousands of Michigan waterfowl washed up dead on the banks of Lake Michigan this past fall, the majority of which were common loons. The working hypothesis is that the loons died because they consumed botulism-infected round gobies, an invasive species. As any of you who dive Great Lakes shipwrecks know, the shipwrecks, at least in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, are often covered with gobies. Here is the link to my story, which includes a video with my primary source for the information.

I'd like to know what you think.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sea-Side Dive Shop offers into to scuba classes on Jan. 12

Sea-Side Dive Shop in St. Clair Shores is offering Bubblemaker and Discover Scuba classes in their pool on Jan. 12.
The Bubblemake class is designed for 8- and 9-year old children. Class fee includes use of all the equipment plus the Bubblemaker Kit. Kids love this program and it is a great way to introduce children, grand children, nephews and nieces to diving. The program runs noon-2 p.m. and costs $50.
The second program, the Discover Scuba class also takes place between noon-2 p.m. It is a great way for non-divers to find out just how much fun it is to scuba dive. Sea-Side provides all the equipment. Upon completion, the fee can be applied to the cost of the confined water class if the student signs up within 6 months.
Call 586-772-7676 for more information.