What is The Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival?by Rudy Whitworth
I hope you were one of the over 400 people that attended the 32nd Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival on March 2nd, 2013.
If you were, you were treated to your choice of three topical programs going on concurrently between 9am to 5pm. The seminar programs were in three rooms and the topics were Great Lakes Shipwrecks, Dive the World and Technical/Education. In the Exhibit area, there were a variety of book signings, exhibits from local maritime artists, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and representatives from the dive industry, equipment manufacturers, dive travel destinations and dive travel agents. A number of local dive shops were represented as well as underwater parks, and quarry opportunities for local diving.
Shipwrecks are always the theme of this event and this year is no exception. In the Festival Shipwreck Room we had a number of entertaining presentations; Valerie van Heest shared two new Lake Michigan shipwreck programs—including the wreck of the whaleback Henry Cort. David Trotter, straight from the front page of the Detroit Free Press, presented four new shipwreck finds from 2011/12 including the 268 foot steamer New York. Jim and Pat Stayer highlighted the 100th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1913 in their program. Tony Gramer brought us video on the tug Anna Dobbins lost in Saginaw Bay in 1886. Ross Richardson shared his presentation on some of the Mystery Disappearances in the Lakes.
In the exotic Salt Water Room, Tony Gramer took us to the Philippines where his program included a very special whale shark encounter. Roger Roth took us to Hawaii. Dave Haas shared his presentation on the Caribbean destination Bonaire. Jim and Pat Stayer showed us their video of Yap “Sharks, Mantas and Macro”. David Heidemann shareed his images of Diving the Blue Heron Bridge in Florida. Rudy Whitworth provided presentations from Indonesia: “Flores – Alor – Komodo” and “Raja Ampat—Papua Paradise” which included Komodo dragons and erupting volcanoes as well as proof that this area has the greatest bio-diversity in the world.
In the Tech/Ed Room, Rich Synowiec took us “From Wreck to Tec Wreck” diving. Luke Clyburn and John O’Shea brought us their presentations on Copper Industry and Ice Age caribou hunters of Lake Huron—respectively. Robert McGreevy provided a historical presentation on the Key Stone State—She was a side wheel steamer built in 1849 and lost with all 33 souls on board in 1861. Officers from the MI State Police UW Recovery Unit gave a standing-room-only presentation on the search and recovery of a light plane lost in Lake Michigan. James Mott presented a seminar on “Gas Management”. David Haas took us on “The Digital Journey in Underwater Imagery” and concluded with info on the latest and greatest UW photo gear.
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