Views
2 months ago

AD 2016 Q1

LOCAL DIVING LAKE

LOCAL DIVING LAKE MICHIGAN unexso @unexsobahamas the bottom. It’s an incredible sight to take in. About 150 feet off of the port side of the ship lies the original wheelhouse, which in 1908 was converted to its chartroom. Even after 86 years on the bottom of the lake, the painted name “Milwaukee” is still visible above the chartroom doors. Farther down the ship are train cars filled with a cargo of sinks, toilets and bathtubs. The Milwaukee has two massive propellers. The starboard propeller shaft sits atop the wheel truck that smashed through the sea gate during the ship’s descent to the bottom. The U-shaped sea gate on the stern is bent and mangled, a testament to the ship’s violent end. Along the rail deck one of the railcars that breached the hull can be seen. Depths range from 90 to 120 feet, and visibility can be as much as 80 feet. It’s a fantastic wreck dive, and those with the requisite training will also find much to explore in the engineering spaces and crew quarters. S.S. WISCONSIN The S.S. Wisconsin went down in a violent storm just one week after the Milwaukee. A 215- foot steel-hulled passenger and freight steamer, the Wisconsin was operated by the Goodrich Transportation Co. It sank in a storm six miles southeast of Kenosha, Wis., on Oct. 29, 1929. Nine crew members, including the captain, lost their lives. The wreck sits in 90 to 130 feet of water. Much of the ship’s superstructure has collapsed onto the deck or can be found among the massive debris field. It was carrying a mixed cargo of household goods, radiators, heaters, stoves, furniture and other boxed freight. Several automobiles, including a Hudson, an Essex and a Chevrolet, are feet away from an open cargo door. The stern and bow are visually striking and offer great photo ops. The ship is large and difficult to swim around in one dive, so several dives on this site are recommended. PRINS WILLEM V The next wreck we visited was a 258-foot, Dutch-flagged steel freighter called Prins Willem V, Erik Foreman swims alongside the schooner Grace A. Channon. Above: Dave Sutton looks at one of the train car trucks sticking out from the Milwaukee railroad-car ferry wreckage. 38 | WINTER 2016

one of the most visited wrecks in the area. The ship was lost Oct. 14, 1954, in a collision with Sinclair Oil Co.’s barge Sinclair No. 12, which was being towed by the tug Sinclair Chicago. It foundered in 45 to 90 feet of water three miles east of Milwaukee. The Coast Guard rescued the crew of 30, but the ship went down with a cargo of TVs, automobile parts, machine parts, printing presses, instruments and animal hides. Several attempts were made to raise the Prins Willem V, but all failed. The wreck lies intact on its side and has large open hatches, several masts and machinery to observe. Many barrels that were abandoned after a salvage attempt remain inside the hold. GRACE A. CHANNON The wreck of the Grace A. Channon lies in technical-diving depths. This three-masted wooden schooner was built in 1873 and lost in a collision Aug. 2, 1877. It was en route from Chicago, Ill., to Buffalo, N.Y., with a cargo of coal when the steam barge Favorite struck its side. The crew of six sailors along with three passengers escaped to the schooner’s workboat and were picked up by the Favorite. Alexander Graham, the 7-year-old son of the schooner’s co-owner, was the only person killed in the disaster. The ship now sits upright in 180 to 200 feet of water with its masts unstepped. It’s only 140 feet long, so it’s easy to swim around in a single dive. The ship features rare diagonal outer-hull planking on its transom. Damage from the collision can be seen in the form of a big gash on the port side that’s largely below the ship’s original waterline. Many intricate carvings on the wooden stem post and along the bow are kept free of mussels by divers. The clear water means ample ambient light at depth, and visibility can exceed 100 feet. This visibility and the incredible degree of preservation on this 143-year-old wooden schooner make for excellent photographic opportunities. There are hundreds of wrecks in the area, each with its own story of how it ended up frozen in time at the bottom of Lake Michigan. These truly incredible wrecks allow glimpses of American history and Great Lakes shipping. There are still missing ships, and with advances in diving, sidescan technology and remotely operated vehicles, a few new wrecks are found each year. Lake Michigan diving entails rich history, gorgeous shipwrecks and so many sites as to keep underwater explorers busy for years. AD ALERTDIVER.COM | 39

Q1 2016
AD 2018 Q1
Q1 2016
Q1 2016
Q1 2016
AD 2017 Q1