2020 Presentations

How Cave Diving shaped Technical Diving Lamar Hires

Cave divers were the original technical divers, we didn’t think of it as technical diving but as our techniques were embraced outside our small community our standard practices are the foundation for technical diving. Where is it going?

Most intact schooner shipwreck in the world Cal Kothrade

 In 2019 a team of divers, historians and shipwreck enthusiasts found and identified a new shipwreck in northern Lake Michigan.  Though the W.C. Kimball was not unlike many other vessels that sailed the inland seas during the late 1800’s, it is the condition she is in now, that makes her one of the most significant finds ever. 
    Cal Kothrade tells the story of how shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson found the Kimball, and of the diverse team that would eventually solve the mystery of what this sail away’s name is. Through video, photographs and artwork, Cal discusses the condition of the wreck today, and the forensic clues which led to its identification, as well as what the vessel’s final hours might have been like.

Vanished with a trace  Robert Mcgreevy

Tells the story of the Great Lakes most famous and mysterious shipwreck.
Why did LaSalle build her, was it only for the fur trade or was there another far more reaching purpose for her, and did this have anything to do with her disappearance.
These questions and more will be answered as Robert McGreevy takes us along on her final and only voyage.

Most Famous Shipwreck of All Ric Mixter

Shipwreck stories are as old as writing itself, from the Babylonian quest of Gilgamesh to the earliest cuneiform mention of The Flood.  Ric Mixter separates fact from fiction and shows the oldest artifacts ever discovered as well as Great Lakes legends.  From Blackbeard to Titanic, you’re sure to learn something new in Ric’s newest presentation.

If you Buoy it, They will come Kevin Ailes

The Michigan Underwater Preserve system has undertaken a program with the goal of placing mooring buoys on 186 shipwrecks around the Great Lakes. Through this program the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council (MUPC) hopes to prevent further anchoring damage to shipwrecks while providing a more safe and reliable access to them for scuba divers. This is a cooperative effort between the Michigan Preserves, US Coast Guard, Michigan DNR, NOAA, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Lake Carriers association. Come hear MUPC Vice President Kevin Ailes share the importance of this program and how it will improve the shipwreck experience for historians and divers alike.

CPR 694 Locomotive Tragedy and Exploration Terry Irvine

In the early morning hours of June 10, 1910 the train encountered a rock slide on the tracks near the Mink Tunnel.  Unable to stop, the locomotive, coal car and two box cars collided with the boulders on the track. The de-railed train lurched over the embankment and fell 60-feet to the lake below
The damage was substantial.  In addition to the loss of all three crew members, the locomotive complete with the tender car and two box cars the telegraph lines along the railway and 130-feet of track had also been destroyed. 
CPR 694 remained undisturbed for 106 years until 2016 when a combined American and Canadian team located and documented the wreck. 
Join Terry Irvine as he revisits the tragedy of CPR 694, its discovery and documentation as well as still un-answered questions about the locomotive and wreck site.
Twenty-five years after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway,  The D10 steam locomotive, CPR 694, was travelling East on the Trans Canada Railway heading from Schreiber to Marathon along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Cave Diving Adventure History Lamar Hires

Since 1986 I have traveled the world pioneering cave diving in other countries, my adventures and stories of cave diving in Florida and other places. My dive buddies and I were coined the “Moles of Florida” in a 1997 Outside magazine article as we developed sidemount as it is known today.

Lost Tales of Death & Survival Erik Petkovic

Through Erik’s unique storytelling, relive some of the most harrowing tales never told of shipwreck and rescue. These stories, which have been lost to history, are now brought out of the depths and being presented like only Erik can. Through a mixture of archival, historical, and underwater photographs, Erik pieces together these remarkable tales of death and survival.

The Forgotten Souls of 1913 Mike Lynch, Cindy Lynch, and Chris Roth

There are many sad and tragic stories from the Great Storm of 1913. The storm
left incredible carnage across all the Great Lakes. Lake Huron took the greatest
toll when it came to the Shipping Industry, with the sinking of eight giant
steamers and many more left on the reefs and beaches. Some of the ships were
recently discovered or remain to be discovered and several of them have been
extensively documented and are popular dive sites. But a few were discovered
many years ago and lie on the lake floor, in deep water, with the ships and their
stories larely forgotten. Join us as we visit the two of the forgotten Steamers
Argus and John McGean and explore the breathtaking toll that Mother Nature
inflicted on these two massive ships, during the greatest storm to ever hit the
Great Lakes!

Mabul, Kapalai and the World Famous Sipadan Rudy Whitworth

Scuba divers of the world want Coral Reefs, Walls, Blue Water, Big Animals, exotic
species and Muck Diving. Mabul, Kapalai and Sipadan have all that and more. These
unique locations will be highlighted in this species rich presentation. Join Rudy as he
presents a Bucket List sample of these world class dive locations in North East Borneo,

2020 Presenters

Lamar Hires

I started diving in 1979 and my first dives were in the springs of North Florida and immediately ventured into the caves then realized I didn’t know what I needed to know to stay alive in the caves. I read Sheck Exley’s “Blueprint to Survival” for cave diving and immediately took a cave course. By 1982 I was exploring North Fla caves and by 1986 exploring caves in Mexico. Since then I have explored caves around the world including Japan, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Italy and Australia.

I became a NAUI instructor in the spring of 1984 and by fall of 1984 I was a cave instructor for the National Speleological Society Cave Diving Section (NSSCDS).  In 1987 I wrote the first sidemount course for the NSSCDS and became Training Chairman of the organization in the early 1990’s. I have trained more than 1000 divers to dive in the overhead environment over 36 years and written articles on cave diving adventure, training and safety.

In 1984 I started Dive Rite with a friend, the first technical diving equipment company supplying the staples of technical diving over 35 years. In 1997 my wife, Lee Ann and I bought him out of Dive Rite and continue to run it today with our son Jared Hires. I continue to cave dive and explore caves and enjoy wreck diving around the world and travel to remote diving locations.

I have been Training Chairman for the International Underwater Cave Rescue/Recovery (IUCRR) since its inception and continue to serve on the NSSCDS training committee.

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.

Cal Kothrade

Cal Kothrade is an award winning underwater photographer, maritime artist and published dive travel author, specializing in shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, mosaic photography, digital renderings, and fine art paintings. Cal is a board trustee of Wisconsin Marine Historical Society, as well as being active in various other clubs and groups devoted to diving and underwater photography.

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.

Ryan Staley

Ryan Staley lives in Portage, MI and has been diving since June 1994. Ryan received his instructor certification in 2002. Ryan is a PADI Master Scuba Diving Trainer with 19 specialties and 3 distinctive specialties. Ryan is also a NAUI instructor with certifications in Ice, Technical Nitrox, Decompression Techniques, and Heliotrox. Ryan also holds certifications with TDI and IANTD in Trimix and dives an Inspiration CVar. Ryan became a Licenced Coast Guard Captain in 2006 and as been increasing his boating experience on Lake Superior, as well as the waters off Key West. In addition to Lake Superior diving, Ryan enjoys diving in the Caribbean with his favorite spot in Little Cayman. Ryan’s favorite wrecks at Isle Royale are the Emperor and the Kamloops.  His favorite wreck not on the island is the Gunilda.

Kevin Ailes

Kevin Ailes firmly believes it is important to both protect and appreciate
our shipwrecks. This is a perspective he has shared in numerous interviews and
repeatedly on the Scubaobsessed podcast. He averages over 100 dives a year and
is a technical rebreather scuba diver. His passion for protecting our Midwestern
Maritime Heritage has led to his positions as a DNR volunteer scuba diver,
Underwater Videographer for Michigan Shipwreck Research Association, board
member of the West Michigan Underwater Preserve, President of the Southwest
Michigan Underwater Preserve, and Vice-President of the Michigan Underwater
Preserve Council.

Erik Petkovic

Erik is an explorer, author, technical wreck diver, and shipwreck researcher who has over 20 years of diving experience. Erik has been featured in dive publications worldwide and is a regular columnist and contributor to several magazines. Erik is the author of multiple books including the highly popular Lake Erie Technical Wreck Diving Guide. Erik regularly presents at the largest dive shows and museums in the country. His presentations have become popular due to his unique style of audience engagement.

James Mott

James Mott is an instructor for Unified Team Diving International, a DIR-based training agency that is building thinking divers. A veteran of the Great Lakes area diving community, Mott started working at Don’s Dive Shop in 1991 – just two years after learning to scuba dive – and has managed Sea the World Scuba Center since the 1996 opening. He loves the Great Lakes as well as the shipwrecks in them. Mott has found a new love in Florida’s cave diving as well. He is a firm believer in the education of diving.

Chris Roth

Chris Roth has been diving the Great Lakes for over 25 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 Extended Range 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 visited and documented several previously discovered, but mostly forgotten ship wrecks 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 summer of 2017, they visited and documented several previously discovered, but mostly forgotten wrecks lying off the Thumb.

Sgt. Dale Lynema

Sgt. Lynema has been with the Michigan State Police since 1994 and joined the Marine Services Team in 2004.  He is currently a Sergeant at the Wayland Post.  Sgt Lynema obtained his recreational diver certification in March 1987.  Sgt Lynema also holds Master Diver and Tri-Mix certifications along with six other certifications.  In addition to Remotely Operated Vehicle, (ROV) operator, Sgt Lynema is also certified in Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, (AUV) operations and currently utilizes the IVER III for deep underwater sonar missions.

Sgt. Randy Parros

Sgt. Parros has been with the Michigan State Police since 1999.  Sgt. Parros joined the Marine Services Team in 2002 and has been their Commander since August 2013. Prior to that, Sgt. Parros served at the Reed City, Detroit and Monroe Posts.  He was first certified as a PADI open-water diver in 1987 while stationed in Okinawa in the Marine Corps.  Since then he has earned instructor certifications from PADI, NAUI and DAN, Tri-Mix, Poseidon MK VI advanced and rEvo rebreather certifications, IANTD rebreather to 60 meters, ERDI surface supplied air diver, ROV and AUV operator in addition to about 20 other specialty and technician certifications.

Rudy Whitworth

Rudy Whitworth has been an entertaining speaker at multiple scuba shows since 1985.
His fish and critter ID images are marketed in New World Publications books. He has
contributed to 10 scientific descriptive papers. Rudy’s coral reef restoration program was shown at the Conference for Global Warming in Denmark. Rudy recently recorded eight half hour travel programs for “So Far, Safari” on CMN-TV Public Television.

Captain Luke Clyburn

Luke Clyburn is a United Stated Merchant Marine captain operating the research/training vessel Pride of Michigan. He is an AAUS and PADI dive instructor, underwater photographer/film maker, and commanding officer of the Great Lakes Division Naval Sea Cadets. Clyburn is the president of the Noble Odyssey Foundation, which brings scientists and young people together to document underwater research projects and expand understanding of Great Lakes science and history.

2019 Show Presenters