2022 Presentations

Cornelia B. Windiate – Lake Huron Mystery Ship – Kevin Magee

In 1986 Paul Ehorn and John Steele made an amazing discovery off the Presque Isle, Michigan, coast.  It was a pristine three-masted schooner sitting on the bottom in 180 feet of water with its name on it – the “Cornelia B. Windiate.”  However, it was in the wrong lake and supposedly sank in Lake Michigan in December, 1875, not in Lake Huron.  It was also remarkably intact and is one of the best shipwrecks of this type in the Great Lakes.  In 2003 Joyce Hayward organized an archaeological survey to study and document this ship utilizing recreational technical scuba diving volunteers, one of the first projects of this magnitude.  This shipwreck continues to amaze, and speculation continues on the final voyage of this remarkable vessel.

Bottled Goodbyes – Ric Mixter

Bottled messages have been discovered on shore nearly as long as glass containers have been invented. They bring tidings from ocean voyagers, invitations for pen-pals, tragic attempts for rescue and floating farewells from long lost souls.

Based on Ric Mixter’s new book, Bottled Goodbyes chronicles the most famous messages ever recovered, including three bottles found after the Titanic disaster. One of those messages was allegedly from a White House aide who served two U.S. presidents!

Ric also investigates five messages that floated ashore from the Great Storm of 1913 and shares in-depth information on the barge Plymouth and Lightship 82 notes. Both ships were lost with their entire crews, so the messages recovered made national headlines.

Each of the Great Lakes are highlighted, making this a lecture that can be shared anywhere on the inland seas. Of particular interest are the near crashes of Balloonist Washington Donaldson in lakes Ontario and Michigan and the final flight that took his life off the Michigan coast in 1875.

Ric also investigates the development of radio on the Great Lakes and how that led to a decrease in bottles recovered. The rescue of the Pere Marquette 18 Carferry is specifically highlighted as an example. That ship was discovered in the summer of 2020 in 500 feet of water off the coast of Wisconsin.

“Off the Beaten Path” – Shipwrecks of Lake Superior’s  North Shore -Terry Irvine

Lake Superior is the world’s largest lake by surface area and contains 10% of the world’s surface fresh water. 
Shared by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario Canada, the “Big Lake” has 2,726 miles (4,387 kilometers) of shoreline and is key part of the Great Lakes Waterway  running from Duluth Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean.  This in-land waterway has played an important role in moving goods and resources and colonize this region of North America.
Over the years, many vessels were lost to depths of Lake Superior from small wooden schooners to the largest lake freighters.  Their tragic stories served as a reminder of the power of the great in-land sea.
Join Terry Irvine as we explore a few of the well-known wrecks along the North Shore of Lake Superior and perhaps one that is not so well-known.

In Pursuit Of The Porcupine – Kevin Ailes

“We have met the enemy and they are ours.” That dispatch was carved into American history, hours following the Battle of Lake Erie. September 10th, 1813 was a pivotal point in the war of 1812. Had the fledgling fleet of Oliver Hazard Perry fought less fiercely, America likely would not have become the country known today. The stout little vessel Porcupine played her role well and lingered into modern times. This is the tale of a defining Naval engagement, a tale of discovery, a tale of loss, and a tale of how misguided preservation efforts achieved what the British Navy could not.

Ice Bound – Cindy Lynch, Mike Lynch and Chris Roth

An untold number of shipwrecks rest on the bottom of the Great Lakes.  Many of these were explored by earlier generations of divers but never identified.  Improvements in visibility and technology have warranted a fresh look at some of these previously explored sites.  There are several such shipwrecks in and around the Thumb Bottomland Preserve.  Join us as we use new technology and the improved visibility to document and identify the Schooner Arctic.  The shipwreck is resting within the Thumb Bottomland Preserve, close to other popular dive sites and will be a great addition to the awesome dive sites, off the Thumb.  Later in the summer, we make a long run offshore to explore a pristine, rarely dove, steamer.  Upright and amazingly intact, this is a true Great Lakes treasure.  And last, we visit a wreck found right below our noses.  An amazingly intact wreck that sits within snorkeling depths just off Grindstone City, MI.  The remains of this shipwreck have many design features of the typical utility Mackinaw sailing vessel used in the thru out the  1800’s and early 1900’s.

The Myron, Miztec and Zillah- In the Footsteps of Mariner Walter R. Neal – Jitka Hanáková

The Great Lakes mariners have endured many tragedies especially when the November gales pounded on the ships as if trying to take them down.  The story of the steamer Myron sinking on Nov. 22, 1919 in an unpleasant gale storm is a peculiar one since there were survivors and witnesses; failed controversial rescue efforts by other ships, later followed by a maritime hearing for “Criminal Behavior” on the parts of would-be rescuers.  The schooner Miztec being towed behind the Myron was cut loose and anchored managing to get through the storm.  Two days later the H.C. Franz spotted a nearly motionless body clinging to the pilot house near the Parisienne Island in Whitefish Bay.  It turned out to be the Capt. of the now sunk steamer Myron, Walter R. Neal.  Rescued that day, the brave mariner continued his journey as the first mate on the Zillah, when almost two year later he witnessed the Miztec go down only a few miles away from the Myron.  Just a few years later, in August 1926, the Zillah met a similar fate and went down in Whitefish Bay just on the other side of Whitefish Point.  Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior can be treacherous!

Shipwreck Exploration in the Modern Age – Dusty Klifman

Dusty Klifman is the creator of Blueyes Below, which shares nautical adventures and shipwreck exploration in the Great Lakes with over 9600 followers on Facebook. He uses his Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) to bring back stunning views of deep and seldom seen shipwrecks that are beyond the limits of most divers. His array of high tech equipment allows him to look for new undiscovered shipwrecks, film existing wrecks, and can even broadcast livestreams to viewers all over the world as he explores! You may have seen him on an episode of “Uncharted” last year when he took Gordon Ramsey scuba diving and spearfishing in Munising, Michigan!

A Journeyman Lineman by day working on high voltage power lines, and an explorer by night, Dusty’s attention to detail from his years in the military blends with his boyish enthusiasm to make shipwrecks accessible to everyone!

He was certified at 13 years old and currently uses a Meg rebreather for his deeper technical diving. A high quality camera setup and a passion for content creation brings the shipwrecks to the surface in digital form for all to enjoy, because he knows not everyone is a diver or explorer and may not get to experience all the Great Lakes have to offer otherwise! Dusty’s presentation will focus on the equipment and methods he uses to do shipwreck exploration in the modern age!

Two Brothers, Two Ships, Two Shipwrecks – David Trotter

The story of the discovery and exploration of the 170′ steamer Water Witch spans 20+ years of search effort to learn what happened to this one of kind, unique vessel.  Built as a sidewheel steamer in 1862, she was lost with all hands in the fall of 1863 while under the command of Captain George H Ryder.  The Watch Witch’s engine was installed so it performed transversely from beam to beam (side to side) rather than longitudinally (bow to stern).  She was reported to be the fastest vessel on the Great Lakes.  

Deepening the mystery of the Water Witch loss was the fact that the 168′ Steamer City of Detroit, while under the command of Redmond Ryder (brother of George Ryder), was lost with all hands in the same location in Lake Huron 10 years later.  What is it about the most dangerous area in the Great Lakes (Saginaw Bay) that causes the loss of these vessels; two steamers lost with all hands, two Captains (brothers) perished, and two mysteries unsolved………….until now.

Share the excitement and adventure as we descend below the waves to learn what happened to these vessels, now frozen in time in Great Lakes history.

U-1105 – Erik Petkovic

Dive into the history of one of the most unique U-boats ever constructed.A modified Type VII-C German U-Boat nicknamed “Black Panther”, U-1105 was one of only 13 submarines outfitted with an experimental rubber skin known as Alberich. Designed to evade Allied SONAR, the skin was an early stealth technology. During U-1105’s only war patrol, she torpedoed the British frigate HMS Redmill killing 32 crewmen. U-1105 surrendered at Loch Eriboll, Scotland at the end of World War Two and was a sought after war prize for study of its unique rubber skin. After radar, snorkel, and noise trials by the British Royal Navy, U-1105 was transferred to the US Navy which used U-1105 for explosive testing. A 250-pound depth charge sent U-1105 to the bottom of the Potomac River in 1949 for the sixth and final time. U-1105 remained lost to history until she was re-discovered in 1985 in 91 feet of water. U-1105 is the most accessible U-boat off the US East Coast.

2022 Presenters

Kevin Magee

Kevin Magee was certified for scuba in 1984, moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1993, and discovered shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes shortly afterwards.  He enthusiastically practices diving shipwrecks in the Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.  He was trimix certified in 1999 and has visited many of the pristine deep water wrecks that technical diving allows.

Ric Mixter

Ric Mixter has been a storyteller since he was a kid, first broadcasting professionally when he was 16.  He’s worked for affiliates for CBS, NBC and ABC and currently is a multimedia producer for “Great Lakes Now” on Detroit Public TV.  His documentaries have been seen by millions of viewers and he’s been awarded by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History for over 20 years of education to the public.  Ric’s podcasts on are the first dedicated to sharing maritime history of our inland seas.Ric Mixter has been a storyteller since he was a kid, first broadcasting professionally when he was 16.  He’s worked for affiliates for CBS, NBC and ABC and currently is a multimedia producer for “Great Lakes Now” on Detroit Public TV.  His documentaries have been seen by millions of viewers and he’s been awarded by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History for over 20 years of education to the public.  Ric’s podcasts on are the first dedicated to sharing maritime history of our inland seas

Mark Gammage

Mark Gammage has had a life-long interest in Great Lakes Shipwreck History.  Originally certified as a diver at 17 years of age and an instructor at 23 he immediately became fascinated in shipwrecks and the stories behind them, which he could tell through underwater photography.  In the past his photographs have been exhibited in venues such as Dossin’s Marine Museum, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society’s Museum at Whitefish Point and articles and photos published in periodicals such as Historical Preservation Magazine and Michigan History Magazine.  Mark was also a part of a group of friends called the Odyssey Foundation who researched, located or relocated and documented previously undiscovered shipwrecks, such as the Miztec, John M. Osborn, F. B. Gardner.  More recently he has renewed his passion with his long-time friend Joe Van Wagnen and they have discovered 3 new previously undiscovered shipwrecks during the seasons of 2020 and 2021.  They have started a YouTube channel called “Great Lakes Shipwreck Expeditions” to share their new finds and the history they represent.

Erik Petkovic

Erik Petkovic is an explorer, author, maritime historian, shipwreck researcher, and technical wreck diver with over twenty years of diving experience. Erik is the author of multiple shipwreck and maritime history books. Erik has been featured in dive publications worldwide and is a regular columnist and contributor to several magazines. Erik regularly presents at the largest dive shows and museums in the country and is a sought after presenter due to his unique storytelling. Erik is a member of The Explorers Club and is a consultant for National Geographic’s Drain The Oceans.

Terry Irvine

Terry was certified in 1987. He completed his cave training in 1995 and his Trimix training the following year. He completed his Closed Circuit Trimix Rebreather training in 2016.

Terry has actively documented shipwrecks and caves using video and photos since 2000. He has been an active contributor to Quest since 2001. Some of his video has been featured on the Outdoor Life Network and local media publications.

In 2016, Terry was part of an Explorer’s Club team that discovered and documented the steam locomotive CPR 694 in Lake Superior near Marathon, Ontario. Some of his photos and video were used for several newspaper articles, an article in Branchline Magazine and the documentary called “The Ties That Bind”.

In 2018, Terry was part of the diving team that documented the wreck of the Manasoo in Georgian Bay which has since been featured in Quest Magazine and Wreck Diver Magazine.

Terry has a keen passion for photographing Great Lakes shipwrecks and enjoys exploring sites in all five of the Lakes.

Dusty Klifman

Blueyes Below is the creation of Dusty Klifman, who has been a certified diver since the age of 13. A Michigan native, who works, lives and dives solely in the Great Lakes.

Dusty lives in Muskegon, Michigan but travels around the Great Lakes area to film and explore remote places, search for new shipwrecks, and document existing ones in stunning photos and detailed videos that he shares with the public on his Facebook page and youtube channel “Blueyes Below”.

Dusty is an explorer, adventurer and a “one man expedition team” with a camper van and boat full of gear, abundance of enthusiasm and loads of tech! His work is made possible through technical rebreather diving, aerial drones, and with his Blueye Robotics ROV.  He was featured on Gordon Ramseys “Uncharted” TV show that aired in July2021, in which he and Gordon went scuba diving and spearfishing on a shipwreck in Munising, Michigan.

Blueyes Below is on a mission to bring shipwrecks and Great Lakesexploration to  those that enjoy our nautical history, but may not bedivers or explorers themselves.

Kevin Ailes

Kevin Ailes dives with purpose. His passion for protecting and telling
the stories of our submerged maritime heritage has led to current positions
as a DNR volunteer scuba diver, Underwater Videographer for Michigan
Shipwreck Research Association, President of the Southwest Michigan
Underwater Preserve, and President of the Michigan Underwater Preserve
Council. He averages over 100 dives a year, is a technical rebreather
scuba diver, and is owner/operator of a significant variety of research
equipment. That variety includes side-scan sonar, magnetometer, and an
underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV).

Chris Roth

Chris Roth has been diving the Great Lakes for almost 30 years and has logged over 1000 dives, most of which are in the waters off Michigan’s Thumb.  He is a USCG Licensed Captain, a PADI Certified Divemaster and a TDI Advanced Tri-Mix Diver. Chris has presented at several past Seahorses Film Festivals, dating all the way back to 1998 when he presented the discovery of the Steamer Troy.  In 2017, Chris began diving with Cindy and Mike Lynch. Together they have visited and documented several previously discovered, but mostly forgotten shipwrecks lying off the Thumb.

Cindy Lynch

Cindy is an extremely accomplished technical diver and USCG Licensed Captain.  She started her diving adventures in 1997 and is now certified at all levels of both Open Circuit and Closed Circuit diving with over 1100 dives.  Cindy currently dives the Titan rebeather, but is also certified on the rEvo and Kiss Sidekick rebreathers.  Even though she loves Great Lakes diving and the lore of the historical shipwrecks, she also enjoys cave diving in the winter months in the warm waters of the north Florida cave system.

Mike Lynch

Mike is an SDI/TDI instructor and technical rebreather diver and USCG Licensed Captain.  He started his diving adventures in 2008 and has over 600 dives primarily in the Great Lakes and in the Florida caves.  Mike currently dives the rEvo rebreather, but is also certified on the Titan and Kiss Sidekick rebreathers.  Mike’s passion is for the history and preservation of the shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.

Mike and Cindy met while scuba diving on a charter boat in Lake Huron and enjoy sharing the adventures with other divers and documenting shipwrecks in both photography and video to share with others who may not be able to see them.  Mike and Cindy met Chris while diving the Thumb Preserve.  Together, the trio now enjoys making the shipwrecks accessible to divers and working to promote both the Thumb Preserve as well as the Sanilac Shores preserve. In the past  summers, they visited and documented many wrecks in the waters off Michigan’s Thumb.

 Jitka Hanáková

Captain Jitka Hanáková is the owner of Shipwreck Explorers LLC, and Owner/Captain of the charter boat Molly V, based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin since 2008.  Shipwreck Explorers Company offers recreational and technical scuba diving trips to popular destinations in Milwaukee and Wisconsin Lake Michigan.  Jitka is an avid Great Lakes diver, award winning underwater photographer, and also enjoys free-diving, cave diving, and ocean wreck diving.  She has dived waters ranging from the Great Lakes to caves in Florida, Mexico and Dominican Republic; and salt water wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean including the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Jitka has been diving since 2000, has been using rebreathers (closed circuit) mixed-gas technology since 2008, and has successfully used this technology to gain access to cold water shipwrecks at depths up to 360ft.  A US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, she has been working and diving aboard Molly V since 2007 and has been Molly’s Owner and Captain since 2008.  Jitka has been active in both terrestrial research and on-water searching for new discoveries for many years. Her first discovery was the steamer M.H. Stuart in 2009, then the historic discovery of the steamship L.R. Doty in the spring of 2010.  This world-class discovery resulted in a National Geographic documentary the “Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes”, which has aired on national television.  Jitka was the keynote speaker at the Ghost Ships Festival in 2011, where she shared her experiences discovering and diving the wreck of the L.R. Doty.  In the spring of 2015, Jitka and her team discovered and dove the long missing steamship Alice E. Wilds off of Milwaukee, completely preserved in over 300ft of water.  Jitka works as a Business Analyst / Systems Consultant for local firms when the lakes are frozen.

David Trotter

Undersea Research Associates had been involved in Great Lakes Shipwrecks………………searching, diving, exploring, and documenting new discoveries for 40+ years.  The solving of “histories mysteries” has made significant contributions to the history of the Great Lakes and proved new exploration opportunities for sport and technical divers to enjoy.  The Great Lakes are “Our Treasure” to be enjoyed by all who love our “Inland Seas” and our Marine history.  It is the Shipwreck Huner discovering and the Diver exploring a shipwreck (in 20′ or 300′ of water) that has given us the unique experience of travelling back in time.

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