The Big 5 Dive had 15 divers: 14 women of varying dive experiences and ages, and one man who filmed it all.
So how did it go?
On PADI Women’s Dive Day, July 16th, I sat on the shores of Lake Superior with Kyle, kitted up and waiting for midnight to hit. Dive 1 was about to get underway.
Earlier in the evening, the divers, the production crew, and assorted helpers had caravaned out from Alpena to get some pastis in Mackinac, hit the Mackinac bridge that officially put us in the Upper Peninsula (the UP), and arrived at Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum, all in preparation for Dive 1.
They opened up the museum especially to allow us a chance to look around before we got suited up.
The museum recounted the many shipwrecks that have been identified in the area, including the Edmund Fitzgerald (which was made famous by the Gordon Lightfoot song). The displays had artifacts from each wreck, as well as a recounting of how the ships went down. To be faced head-on with images and possessions of the men who had lost their lives to the same waters we were diving in was moving, and also very humbling.
We were going under the waves to see what they lost, while they had desperately fought to stay above the cold waters of Lake Superior.
After suiting up and watching the sun set over Superior, we took a before picture, packed up, and caravaned to the first dive site, at Pendill’s Creek, 50 miles away.
There, the head of the museum, Bruce kayaked out to the buoy and set up a light so we knew where to swim.
The water was cold, but in 14 mm of Neoprene, hood, gloves, and booties, I was dandy. We swam out to the buoy, descended and explored this unidentified shipwreck.
The construction of the wreck was wooden, and the estimates going around that night was that the boat was from around the early 1900s.
The dive went well for us, we had a good swim, and the night sky was gorgeous. The constellations of Ursa Minor and Cassiopeia were particularly easy to spot.
We stripped off our BCDs with tanks still attached, emptied the water out of our booties, and hopped into our heavily tarped van. Jessica drove us through the backroads and frost heaves on the pavement to get us to dive site #2, the Headlands Dark Sky Park, only 66 miles away.