May 31, 2020
Big Five Dive

Big Five Dive

Snagged from


Fact: Michigan is shaped like a mitten.

Big Five Dive shipwreck
Shipwreck in Lake Huron! (I took this one from pinterest.)




Fact: There are 6,000 shipwrecks lurking in the waters of the Great Lakes.

Big Five Dive
Diving in Honduras




Fact: Someone is going to go dive there this summer.  That person has two thumbs and writes this blog. (I also have fingers.)



I’m really hoping you read that as Dwight from the American version of “The Office.”

I said last week that I wanted to talk more about adventure this week.  Let’s be honest, when do I not want to talk about more adventure? Always. Always, always.

Two friends of mine, Liz Kaiser and Kyle Maddux-Lawrence make documentaries.  I have the especial privilege of saying “I-knew-them-when.”

Madlaw Media Big Five Dive
Big Check

If you follow me on any social media, you’ll have seen them as Big Check, and also the makers of “How to Be Sexy,” and “Bouncing the Well.”

They have a Vimeo and Youtube channel, if you want to check them out.

I am tagging along this summer to participate in a crazy, awesome SCUBA adventure called The Big Five Dive. I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but I want to really show off about it now.

Specifically, I want to talk about those shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.  6,000 of ’em, and not all of them deep.  Don’t get me wrong, some are deep, and a great list of favorite dives, both deep and shallow is here.

Big Five Dive shipwreck
From the 1812 warship Hamilton, pic from

But the cool thing about these shipwrecks is that you don’t have to have expert level certifications to see them. The water is clear enough that you can see them just fine from above (so they say–I will find out in a few months), and others are shallow enough that you could snorkel out to them.

The cold freshwater of the Lakes has done the preservation work, and there are several marine sanctuaries that protect the shipwrecks.  For the Big Five Dive, we are going to be hanging out with Stephanie Gandulla, who is a Marine Archaeologist. 

Yeah.  You heard me. A REAL one.

There’s a ton of amazing work happening in the field now, the biggest news recently was the mammoth tusk found off the coast of Florida that upset the previously understood timelines of the first people living in North America.  The mammoth tusk (which had tool marks on it) is proof that people had a settlement on the Florida coast much older than previously supposed.

So I’m going to go diving near SHIPWRECKS with a MARINE ARCHAEOLOGIST.


Stephanie works for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of the sanctuaries in the Great Lakes to preserve not just the shipwrecks but the ecology.  They’ve named the area Shipwreck Alley because it has the most shipwrecks and some of the best preserved sites. This is a link to a nice page about how to dive the area.

Gandulla Pee Dee SC
Stephanie Gandulla, Marine Archaeologist, credit: Stephanie Gandulla,

I mean, just to recap, this summer, on PADI’s Women’s Dive Day, I’m going to be SCUBA DIVING with a MARINE ARCHAEOLOGIST from SHIPWRECK ALLEY.

If you aren’t hyperventilating right now, I think there is something wrong with you.

Big Five Dive
That’s me.

Of course, being underwater for extended periods of time is dangerous, and while I have my open water certification, this trip is pairing with The Great Lakes Divers dive shop so me and some of the other crew don’t do something stupid.

I’m hoping to hang out with Stephanie above-water first so I can get all my geekery out of the way so I don’t drown trying to talk through my regulator.

The OTHER amazing part of this is the documentary film-making aspect. We (me and a MARINE ARCHAEOLOGIST and some other fabulous ladies too) are going to attempt to dive all Five Great Lakes in 24 hours. We’re going to do this on the second annual PADI Women’s Dive Day (July 16th), and hopefully with the documentary, bring awareness to the sometimes fragile ecology of middle America’s water-based shipping lane. We’re going to have some amazing shots (because it’s Kyle Maddux-Lawrence behind the camera, that’s why), we’re going to see some of the incredible marine sanctuaries, and meet the lovely people who live on the shores of the Great Lakes and call the place home.

My task during this whole prep and filming is to tell you all about it. Come July, I’ll have the opportunity to post Kyle’s pictures, show you how we are preparing for this event, and hopefully, make you just as excited as I am (is that possible?) about this project.

If you want to check us, there’s a Facebook page, and if you want to learn all there is to know about our project and help support us, there is a webpage too: As always, donations help, even if its just five bucks for us to split a sandwich between all of us. Diving is hungry work.

Sorry for the lack of pics on this particular entry–I stole most of them from Pinterest.  When I do get those images–you’ll be the first to see them.

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