2019 Presenters

Becky Kagan Schott “Truk Lagoon”

Truk Lagoon is known as one of the wreck diving destinations on the Planet. During WWII it was Japan’s main base in the South Pacific. In February 1944 American forces attacked for 3 days sinking 12 warships, 32 merchant ships and 275 aircraft. It’s considered the biggest underwater shipwreck graveyard in the world and a bucket list destination for any wreck diver or photographer.

Bob McGreevy “Walk in the Water”

The Steamboat, the story of the Walk in the Water, the first steam powered vessel on the upper Great lakes. This year is the 200 th anniversary of the Walk in the Waters arrival at Detroit. The Walk in the Water was also the first steamboat to sink in a November storm. What were the forces behind the development and building of this amazing ship and how did this single voyage change everything on the Great lakes? All these questions, and more, will be answered in the presentation about this pioneer steamboat

Jim & Pat Stayer “The Amazing Sunken WWII Planes North PNG’s”

The north side of Papau New Guinea was the location of some of the fiercest battles of the South Pacific. Join Jim and Pat Stayer as they dive 6 different WWII plane wrecks. The program highlights a couple of American B-25s with their incredible stories; one in the jungle and one in crocodile infested waters. They dove on Japanese Petes, a Zero, and a Kate. The program also includes an Australia’s Catalina underwater and Ventura on land. All these planes are in amazing shape.

Kevin Magee “The Argo”

The “Argo” is the 1937 fuel barge Tom Kowalczk found in 2015 in Lake Erie’s western basin that made a lot of international news since it was rated by NOAA as the Great Lakes’ worst environmental threat but no one knew exactly where the barge was.  When it was found, we also discovered it was leaking, prompting an immediate Coast Guard response to pump out the remaining 100,000 gal. of benzol and 100,000 gal. of crude light oil.  They did, and the wreck is now safe and open to the public.  It is actually a pretty cool wreck dive

Rich Synowiec “Shipwreck Diving in the 21st Century: How technology has changed the way we dive shipwrecks”

Technology in the 21st century has changed the way we live our lives. Communications, internet, medical advances have all reached points unheard of just 10 years ago.  Just like in other fields,  technological advances have been occurring in scuba diving that has changed the way we shipwreck dive.  Dive computers, Rebreathers, Sonar imaging systems, photographic systems, lighting, suit heaters, drysuit systems and even drysuit undergarments all have advanced at an astonishing pace.   Join Rich Synowiec, a longtime shipwreck diver and Great Lakes enthusiast as he talks about how technology in the 21st century has changed how we dive, image and explore shipwrecks.

Ken Merryman “Georgian Bay Hat Trick”
Georgian Bay has four well known ghost ships the Asia, Jane Miller, J. H. Jones, and Manasoo, which went missing with most or all of their crew and passengers and were never found.  In 2017 our search team of Jerry Eliason, Jared Daniel, and Ken Merryman found the Jane Miller lost in 1881 in Colpoys Bay with all hands and few traces.  Last winter the great-great grandson of Captain J. V. Crawford of the lost steamer J. H. Jones requested we search for his great-great grandfather’s ship.  The J. H. Jones sank with all hands off Cape Croker on November 22, 1906 en route from Owen Sound to Lion’s Head.  Last season our search team of Jerry Eliason, Cris Kohl and Ken Merryman found the J. H. Jones, in the company of great-grandson Bob Crawford.  To top off our hat trick the same team found coastal steamer Manasoo, lost in 1928 with 16 passengers and crew.  The forward half of the Manasoo is one of the most intact steamers in the Great Lakes and will be a prime destination for future tek divers.  Ken will present amazing underwater video and the tragic stories of the losses of these three coastal steamers which have deep connections to many of the residents of the Bruce Peninsula.
Jitka Hanáková “Collision Course”

Whitefish Bay, Michigan in Lake Superior is notorious for ships colliding especially around the point where the lake narrows towards the Soo St. Marie locks.  The weather has its own unpredictable microclimate and the fog comes out of nowhere.  Whitefish Point sand dune sticks far out and ships need to navigate around it and into the narrow channel.  The things that go bump in the night and sometimes during the day end up sinking – there are beautiful eerie old wooden steamers preserved on the bottom of Whitefish Bay.  Explore these shipwrecks with Capt. Jitka Hanakova and her team.

Cindy & Mike Lynch and Chris Roth “Iron Chief, Tug Fred Lee Schooner Arcturus”

The modern-day visibility has revealed how our shipwrecks are in a constant state of change (sometimes drastically.) We also found that sometimes, shipwrecks are actually constructed different, then originally thought. The fabulous visibility has also allowed broken up shipwrecks to be documented, in ways that it was never thought possible, before. Join us, while we explore the Tug Fred Lee and see the dramatic changes that have taken place, over time. We are able to correct the documentation, on the Schooner Arcturus and then take a close look at the Steamer Iron Chief.

“Decoding The Dive Tables” James Mott

James Mott is a scuba instructor committed to building thinking divers. Certified in 1990, he is a veteran of the Great Lakes area diving community, a PADI instructor since 1998 and one of the original founding instructors for Unified Team Diving in 2008. James started working at Don’s Dive Shop in 1991 and has been with Sea The World Scuba Center since its beginning in 1996 and is also a co-host of The Great Dive Podcast. Passionate about educating the diving community and sharing an underwater philosophical base, James’ instruction provides infinite possibilities and extends attainable excellence to all divers willing to reexamine their underwater behavior.

“Discovery of the Argo – The Great Lakes’ Top Environmental Hazard” Kevin Magee

Discovered by CLUE member Tom Kowalczk on August 28, 2015, the fuel barge Argo quickly made national news when it was announced by the U.S. Coast Guard to be leaking oil and was considered by NOAA to be the Great Lakes’ top environmental threat.  This is the story of how an east coast barge sank in Lake Erie in 1937 while carrying a hazardous cargo, how it was discovered by accident, and how it was eventually made safe by the efforts of the USCG. 

“Last Voyage of the Skeele: An Internet Adventure” Ric Mixter

Normally shipwreck searches involve the open water or library. Ric Mixter knew an approximate location of a shipwreck through a series of unique photographs that showed the final voyage of the Edward Skeele. He turned to the internet to help him locate the debris field of where the ship lies today and he uncovered more than he bargained for. Ric will share the connection of the Skeele to the Christmas Tree Ship, the collision and loss of the Viator and a newly located German U-Boat.