February 23, 2020

Three Weeks Out

Only Three Weeks until we visit this guy, the Joseph Fay freighter. photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Only Three Weeks until we visit this guy, the Joseph S Fay freighter. photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Good morning Adventure-lovers. Or Evening. Or Middle of the Night (shouldn’t you go to bed? Don’t you have to work tomorrow?). We are only Three Weeks Out from the Big Five Dive.

Just in case there is some remote possibility that you had not run across any information on this event, let me recap. No, let me sum up. On PADI Women’s Dive Day, July 16th, there will be a group of women diving all 5 Great Lakes in 24 hours.

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A shallow wreck, the Fay. photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Not only are we going to dive from the cleanest–>to–>the more polluted lakes, we will be diving five of the Great Lakes’ over 6,000 shipwrecks. This isn’t the same as diving wrecks in the Caribbean. The Great Lakes were a shipping lane, and in some areas, treacherously shallow.

The Fay in its hay day. See what I did there? photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
The Fay in its hay day. See what I did there? photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

One of the five sites we will be visiting is the resting place of a portion of the Fay. Built in 1871, the Joseph S. Fay was a bulk freighter ship. A schooner, the D.P. Rhodes, was paired with the freighter. In 1905, with the Fay hauling the Rhodes behind it, both ships loaded down with iron ore, a bad gale in Lake Huron swept the freighter towards shore. Even with competent handling, the Fay broke apart.

 

The starboard side of the Fay resting on the beach. photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
The starboard side of the Fay resting on the beach. photo credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The lower hull, still loaded with iron ore, sits in 17 feet of water, which we are going to go visit. A portion of the starboard side is on the beach near 40 Mile Point.

A detailed account of the actual sinking can be found here, written by the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society.

So what happens until we visit the Fay? Well, in the next three weeks, we will celebrate the Fourth of July. The Georgia contingent of the filmmaking crew will drive the 1,100 miles north to the forefinger of the Michigan mitten. (You think you’re excited? Wait until you see early morning pics of me and Tami leaving out of Atlanta at 5 am.)

Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for this delicious suggestion.
Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for this delicious image.

The big cheeses, Liz & Kyle, will stop by the Bettermade Snack Food factory in Detroit to pick up a donation of well…not celery. I’ve asked them to take some video because I have never been to a chip factory. It sounds like going to the Budweiser factory in Jacksonville, only better, because there might be a chip tasting room.

Also in those three weeks, Kyle and I will get night-dive certified. They’ll film interviews in Alpena. I will be posting pictures of all the activities, which will probably be me sitting with a bunch of small bags of chips, perched like a dragon over its golden cache while the rest of the crew actually works. Delicious.

But at the end of the third week, we will be waddling into the water in our wetsuits, breathless no doubt, maybe from sleeplessness, maybe from a touch of the cold, but most likely because of the excitement.

If you have the Twitters, the Facebooks, or any Instagrams, you can follow us with the #Big5Dive tag. Search there, and you will find our shenanigans. Hopefully the good kind where we are all laughing and not the kind where we only laugh after the wound has healed.

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