It was a windy and chilly Saturday on February 28, 2009. What else would keep shipwreck enthusiasts indoors but a shipwreck festival! Everyone who met at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was there to share shipwreck sagas. Some were presenters, others vendors, but most of us just wanted to mingle and share in the mysteries of the deep.
The one-day event was presented by The Ford Seahorses Scuba Diving Club in cooperation with the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. They organized an interesting program, divided into three topics: Great Lakes, Dive the World, Information/Education. I attended four sessions in the first two categories, since I wasn’t there to gather information on the technicalities of diving.
· A Deadly Mistake….Sinking of the U-352: Jim and Pat Stayer did a great job inserting humor into this tragic event of World War II. It appears that the Captain of the German U-boat was trigger-happy (and incompetent in every way), mistaking the Coast Guard Cutter USS Icarus for a merchant ship and fired upon her off the shores of North Carolina.
· South Pacific Paradise- Solomon Islands: this striking photographic presentation by Rudy Whitworth was a relaxing break from the intensity of shipwreck stories. I took pleasure in the beauty beneath the waves: sea fans, corals, dolphins, sharks, turtles, and a saltwater crocodile were up-close and personal.
· The Gunilda: Marshall Allan shared stunning photographs of this wondrously preserved yacht at the bottom of Lake Superior. Like many shipwrecks, it was human error and folly that caused its demise.
· Phantoms of the Deep: the exciting part of this presentation, besides interesting content, was to know that the presenter, David Trotter, had made an amazing discovery: steamer Michigan resting in 270 feet of Lake Michigan’s cold, dark waters. Kudos to Mr. Trotter!
I also enjoyed making connections with dive shops, a woodcarver of the Edmond Fitzgerald, and obtaining contact information for two more Andrea Doria divers.
Never did I expect that I would become a shipwreck enthusiast. But I’m immersed!