October 20, 2020


Alpena, Big5diveFive Days Left, and the team is in Michigan.

Alpena, Michigan might be one of the most welcoming cities I have ever visited. Sure, it’s the smiling faces of everyone I meet, but man, the SIGNS.

alpena, big5dive
Our first welcome sign.




alpena, big5dive
the island welcomes you.

It’s like they mean it here.

Maybe for good reason, as Alpena is above the 45th parallel, and a long ways from…most things.

big5dive, mini cooper
How many miles? Doesn’t matter.






So how did we get here, of all places? Driving. Lots of driving. 14.5 hours from Atlanta to Alpena, Tami and I got a little over-tired. Every time we saw a tractor, Tami freaked out. (We saw a lot of tractors)



Big5dive roadtrip to Alpena
That is one full Mini Cooper.

But after singing along to Journey and Queen, we made good time in the Mini, packed full of video gear, dive gear, and camping gear.



mural in Alpena big5dive
Mural in Alpena


Liz and Jessica were our tour guides, as Alpena is their home town. It was late on a Sunday night, so we just had an opportunity to window shop, but after some Midwestern burgers and beer (and poutine for Tami), we returned to Liz’s mom’s house and crashed.

Can I tell you about the house? Let me tell you about the house.

Big5dive, in Alpena
We’re here!

Built in 1908, Kim and Gary renovated the place themselves, restoring many of the original framework. After spending three years renovating my own home, a spry, young house built in 1936, I can sympathize with how much work it must have taken.

Original details make the place stunning.

But never fear, as much as I would like to take the opportunity to drink a cup of tea and curl up with a book in the chaise lounge, I will keep on with the week’s work.

film gear, alpena, big5dive
Kyle and Tami going over film gear.

There is so much left to do before Friday night when we drive up to Pendills Creek to begin the 24 hour odyssey that is Big 5 Dive.

But you have to start somewhere, and a good first step is to gather your gear.

gear at Great lakes Divers in Alpena, Big5dive
Nick, owner of Great Lakes Divers, and Kyle looking over gauges


Tonight is our first night dive, and we got all kitted out at Great Lakes Divers, thanks to Nick. He was patient, even though it took me an hour to try on a wet suit. I think trying on a 7 mm wetsuit might be the worst thing I have done all year.

Big 5 dive in Alpena at Great Lakes Divers
The logo on a sticker!


We are waiting on a few more pieces of the Big 5 Dive puzzle to fall into place, but it won’t be long: FIVE more days, and we will be in those waters.


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