31 December 2007

Annual MSRA Shipwreck Show date announced

Oh, I almost forgot! Put Saturday, May 3, 2008 on your calendar for the annual "Evening Beneath The Inland Seas" shipwreck show at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland, michigan.

MSRA will present, along with Clive Cussler's right hand man and shipwreck hunter Ralph Wilbanks. Others will be announced. Probably Dave Trotter and maybe even one or two others! Don't miss it!

Plus, MSRA will be presenting again at GhostShips in Milwaukee March 7 & 8, 2008.

Ice diving vs. writing books

I don't tend to spend a lot of time underwater this time of year like I used to. Heck, ten years ago Doug Welsch and I would grab the chain saw, cut a big triangle in the ice of Lake 16 in Allegan County and jump in!

Looking back that was a bit crazy, but...we were a lot younger then, too. I guess the worst part about it was there's just one way out -- the same way you went in. Lose your way, and you die. No questions. Even worse than a typical shipwreck.

Not only that, but Doug and I used to do it with just the two of us, which was sort of stupid. The prescribed methed of ice diving is to have two divers in the water, two safety divers (the 2nd team) and one surface tender.

The two divers in the water are tethered to each other, and then to a line leading to the hole. The tender keeps the line in his hand secured to a stake which we used to pound through the ice and then put a cotter pin through so it can't be pulled out.

If the team in the water lost the line, they were taught to surface to the ice and stay put. The tender would feel the slack and deploy the 2nd team with a slightly longer line. That team would go straight out and scribe a circle with their line, hopefully sweeping up the lost divers on the way. We practiced this drill but never had to use it, thank God!

These days, my winter Sunday afternoons are spent putting the finishing touches on my first book. It's called, "FOR THOSE IN PERIL: Shipwrecks of Ottawa County, Michigan". This book started out as a database of local shipwrecks, but when fleshed out, began to resemble a book. "What the heck", I thought, "I wonder if anyone would actually like to read this?"

So, watch for it in 2008. And let me know if you'd like a copy. it'll probably sell for about $14.99.

13 September 2007

Talk like a WHAT?


And, don't be forgettin' that September 19 be "Talk Like A Pirate" day or we'll be keel-haulin' yer ass!

12 September 2007


No, not the guy with the Ark, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Seems they lost track of an expensive peice of equipment in Lake Michigan and asked us to locate it for them. We did. They recovered it. Done deal.

I'm sure they paid King Salvage a lot of money to wrench it out of the sand. They didn't pay us anything. Oh well. It's nice to do favors for people....

17 June 2007

What a week!

Dave Trotter was here for 9 days and, for the first time in nine years, we had perfect weather every day! The lake was glassy calm with no wind and no rain.

I spent 24 hours on the lake with Trotter and Jack van Heest. We started out on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at 10:30 am and went all day and all night. We arriver back home on Sunday at 11AM.

The shipwrecks eluded us this year but we must have covered another 35-40 square miles of bottomland.

We were using the 5o khz fish (side scan sonar) and specifically looking for large vessels, nothing small. We covered a tremedous amount of territory. Better luck next year!

23 May 2007

Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 crash site still elusive

The NUMA crew has left West Michigan and flight 2501 remains elusive. Windy weather plagued the search this year, with only about 14 days of coverage during the month long search period. Ralph Wilbanks says they'll be back in 2008.

The MSRA 2008 shipwreck quest happens June 9-17 this year, with David Trotter joining the team for a ten day search period. Our target: The Andaste!

12 May 2007

Annual shipwreck show

MSRA's annual shipwreck show "Mysteries & Histories beneath the Inland Seas" was a success. the May 5, 2007 event attracted about 250 people to Holland, Michigan's Knickerbocker theatre. Funds raised are used to finance the annual "Shipwreck Quest" -- this year focused on the discovery of the Andaste which sank in Lake Michigan in 1929.

The highlight of the show was a $1,000 grant presentation by Kimm Stablefeldt of Great Lakes Shipwreck Research Foundation to assist MSRA in documenting the Hennepin, discovered in 2006. The Hennepin will be the subject of a National Register of Historic Places application.

22 March 2007


This weekend is the Ghostships festival in Milwaukee. Stop by and introduce yourself!

MSRA is presenting two programs on Saturday and we hope to see you there.

04 March 2007

2007 schedule

Ralph Wilbanks and the NUMA team will be arriving late in April to begin the 2007 search for Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 -- the DC-4 airliner which crashed into Lake Michigan June 23, 1950. MSRA members will team up with the NUMA crew to explore the lake bottom with side scan sonar throughout the onth of May.

Then, in June, Dave Trotter arrives to team up with MSRA in the first effort to locate the wreck of the Andaste. The Andaste is next on the list after MSRA members discovered the H.C. Akeley in 2001, the SS Michigan in 2005 and the Hennepin in 2006. After a season of hard work, and a little bit of luck, hopefully we will have another discovery to talk about this year.

12 February 2007

A web log about Great Lakes shipwrecks?

Well, it's probably not the first.

This is where I will catalog the expeditions launched by Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates -- a non-profit Michigan-based group whose missin it is to research, discover, and document historic shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. We've had some success over the years but the search goes on.

2007 will mark the retuern of Ralph Wilbanks, Steve Howard and Harry Peccorelli of Clive Cussler's NUMA organization as we again combine forces to search for the lost DC-4 airliner known as Northwest Airlines Flight 2501.

Following that David Trotter will arrive for a week-long search for the remains of the semi-whaleback Andaste.

Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to get involved!