The Ice Man Cometh

In South West Michigan, least ways in our area, ice thickness on local lakes has not been to the depths that ice divers associate with being thick enough for groups of  divers to make a hole big enough to have an ice dive.  For this type of group activity having a minimum  of 5 inches of clear ice is desired but having 8 inches or so is better if your using snowmobiles to haul gear and provide emergency transport if necessary. But for ice fishing 4 inches of ice is considered safe.

With that said, it is not unusual for individuals, when making holes to fish or waiting around for the fish to bite, to occasionally drop items that seem to gravitate to the only opening in the ice on the entire lake.  Items like cell phones.

So far this January, Kevin Ailes (Mud Club Member & Wreck Researcher) has been very busy attempting to recover such items with the majority of searches ending with success.

Three Mile Lake – Paw Paw

Carter Lake

 

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2016 New Years Night Dive 2017

The last dive of 2016 and the first dive of January 1, 2017.
Held at Hidden Valley Pond in Niles, Michigan.

Divers in the water: Kevin Ailes, Joshua Snyder, Larry Steelman, Ken Riemer, Don McAlhany.
Surface Support: Mary Beth Thar, Lucy Riemer, Jim Scholz

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Diving Withdrawal

Bob Sweeney and Kevin Ailes were undergoing extreme symptoms of diver withdrawal and needed to get wet quick. Of all the places around they traveled Gull Lake in Ross Town ship. The only place open was the Prairie View boat launch on the north side.  They ended up with about 30 minutes down time even with them inadvertently going their separate ways once underwater.

The max depth obtained was 48′, air temperature was a warm 55° F,  water temperature about 38°F and underwater visibility about 8 feet .  It was a good thing they had compasses with them as the fog settled in making surface visibility rather sketchy.
It was a Fun work up dive before Bob’s News Years Day dive at Gilboa.

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Searching for Ice

Jim Scholz and I were out checking dive sites for the New Years Midnight Dive. Hidden Valley Pond is freezing over but has only ~ 2″ of ice so far. The St. Joseph river at the Marmont street launch is not frozen over except there are small bergs flowing by and its ice along the shore line out ~10 feet. Current does require a tending line though.   Hidden Valley Pond – still needs thicker ice for New Years Diving   Marmont street boat launch – shoreline ice out ~10 feet. Current is strong enough that you need a line and tender. — with Jim Scholz.

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Bond Street Kayak Launch – Niles

Today’s dive was in Niles but the current below the dam was very fast, the water high and visibility VERY low. So we went above the dam to the Bond street kayak launch where the visibility looked good UNTIL you went in and disturbed the soft muck then visibility sort of sucked.  In the areas where you were shallow and the sun was out, the visibility was  several feet.  Pretty slim picking due to the heavy silt layer and resultant  zero viz.  We did manage to have a couple of take homes items. Water temperature was almost wet suit at~ 42-44F°. In the water today was Jim Schulz, Karen Mann, and Mack.

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Turkey Dive

Saturday, November 26-2016, “TURKEY DIVE” was held at 12:00 (High Noon) in the Saint Joseph river, Benton Harbor at Fisherman’s Park.  (next to the new Whirlpool Complex).   It was a great dive with 7 divers and several people on shore support. Bob S  ran into Mack underwater and partnered up with him for most of the 30+ minute dive time. Bob was able to provide an extra video light for Macks GoPro. Still from the video what is usually found underwater in that area. It was chilly in the water if you were in for awhile.   Visibility at the bottom was 4 to 6 ft if you were below 12 feet, in shallower water the visibility dropped to 2-3 feet but there was a lot more light from above.    The water temperature was between 42 & 44 F.   Thanks to Karen Mann for bring over and setting up her Hospitality Tent. It was great to have a warm wind break and hot drinks after the diving.

 

 


 

 

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Ship Canal – Benton Harbor, MI

This dive was made in the old ship canal where it meets the Paw Paw River and at the location of the old railroad bridge crossing now long gone.  Visibility in the shallows was maybe 3 feet until you touched the mucky bottom or got deeper than 3 feet. A light was not a lot of help when going deeper. Lots of concrete, old pilings, wooden wall, tree limbs and misc stuff. Plenty of fishing line but surprisingly few bottles and cans. Lots of metal parts, timbers and odd pieces on the shore line slope. There is a little current when out of the canal section but not enough to clear the muck plume. Water temp ~52F.

 

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Diving Salinac Shores Preserve along Lake Huron’s long western shore

On Saturday Kevin Ailes took a roadtrip to see the “Salinac Shores Preserve”. Diving the “Regina” and “Price” which were both lost during the “Great Storm” of November 9, 1913. Both had been on Kevin’s list to dive for a long time due to the entwined fate of the ships. Likely there is a story of harrowing unsuccessful rescue. We will never now as there were no survivors to tell the tale. As the pictures indicate, both dives were fabulous.  Special Thanks to Tracy and Lindsay Click for joining me on this little adventure. Their company and expertise made this an exceptional road trip which is recommended for any diver take. It’s truly amazing to find such intact and penetrable wrecks in only 80 feet of water. Adding in the historical aspect makes for some of the best diving in the state.

 

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St. Joseph River – Niles

Today’s Niles river pickings were slim. But there were a few interesting objects brought from the depths.  Divers and support included: Mary Beth, Deb W, Rob K, Karen M, Jake T and Mack. MB found a watch but the only thing we know about it is it stoped at 7:16. The compass was interesting but frozen but the bricks were embossed and the shells readily. When picking’s are slim you gotta bring back something.

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River Cleanup in Niles – Ecology Scuba Dive

Updated 9/27/2016 10:15am

October 1, 2016

11:00am to 3:00pm

Don’t forget that this Saturday, October 1, is the St. Joe river cleanup behind the Wonderland Theatre in Niles. Divers, Snorkelers, Swimmers, Kayakers, Waders, and Bubble Watchers are all needed to help out. The City of Niles is providing a dumpster and the MUD Club & local dive shops are providing the manpower to remove a bunch of “JUNK” from the river. There are bottles, tires, bottles, bicycles, bottles, car parts, bottles, and all sorts of “junk” to pick up and clean out of the river. Did we mention there are a lot of old bottles that you might want to display rather than throw into the dumpster, but that is your choice. 

We are planning to be in the river any time between 11:00 and 3:00, with prizes being awarded for the most unusual, heaviest, and biggest pile.

Everyone is invited to come out and help. If you are diving, be sure to bring a dive flag and float to mark your position in the river. Extreme caution is urged as portions of the river have strong current and multiple snag and overhead hazards. There are areas that have less hazard and depths can run from 1 foot to over 10 feet. Anyone participating is volunteering their time at their own risk.


Michigan Underwater Divers Club is organizing an Ecology Scuba Dive. The goal is to clean up as much trash as possible in the Saint Joseph River and on the shoreline along the Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail near Riverfront Park. We will be gathering behind the Wonderland Theater. From there we will be spread up and down the river with the primary plan to cover from the upstream Grant Street bridge down to the rail road bridge near Wayne Street. With enough support the area could expand up to the French Paper Mill Dam.

The ecology dive is open to all Scuba Divers, Snorkelers and anyone willing to walk the bank or shore. Shore support will greatly increase the amount of trash that can be removed by the divers. We would love to have two people on shore for each diver in the water.

The City of Niles will be providing a dumpster.

We recommend everyone come early for the best parking spots to avoid a long gear haul.

Here is the facebook event link – https://www.facebook.com/events/203018966779229/

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St Joseph River Dive – Thirsty Thursday

We had 3 drivers and one shore support (Barb) off the park boardwalk in Niles and three launched from Marmont street. We were spread out all along the shore line and collected the following. Fast current, many, many trees and snag points with 4-5 foot visibility, water temperature ~65 F surface. Saw some HUGE catfish among the sunken trees and a couple of large bass. Sorry, but no pictures of Karen’s or Steve finds. Adam joined us at Marmont and we then went to Good Anuff Pub in Niles for wings and things.

(Big John N) Saw several Light packs like this and many pieces of metal . The purse did not have any money in it, honest!

(Big John N) Saw several Light packs like this and many pieces of metal. The purse did not have any money in it, honest!

(Rob N) Very nice keeps all

(Rob N) Very nice keeps all

(Mack) Cache of older small coke bottles. No Christmas cokes and only 3 were local- one was from Texas. The large milk was a nice embosed "Twin Pine Dairy, Guernsy Milk, T.W. Keirnan".

(Mack) Cache of older small coke bottles. No Christmas Cokes and only 3 were local – one was from Texas. The large milk was a nice embossed “Twin Pine Dairy, Guernsy Milk, T.W. Keirnan”.

(Jim S) All are keepers: Off set neck on the square bottle, wide mouth bell opening on one, several nice ones embossed. Two nice Christmas cokes. "PAT'D DEC. 25 1923" (called the "Christmas Cokes") were produced from 1928 to 1938. BG Info: The December 25, 1923 is the patent date. a bottle with the Dec. 25 1923 patent date is not a rare find in most cases, especially if it is the 1989 reproduction or the 1990 bottle. Most Nov. 16 1915 bottles are worth more than double, usually more, than most Christmas bottles (with a few exceptions). BUT how many of either date have you every seen !

(Jim S) All are keepers: Off-set neck on the square bottle, wide mouth bell opening on one, several nice ones embossed. Two nice Christmas Cokes.

“PAT’D DEC. 25 1923” (called the “Christmas Cokes”) were produced from 1928 to 1938. BG Info: The December 25, 1923 is the patent date. A bottle with the Dec. 25 1923 patent date is not a rare find in most cases, especially if it is the 1989 reproduction, or the 1990 bottle. Most Nov. 16 1915 bottles are worth more than double, usually more, than most Christmas bottles (with a few exceptions). BUT how many of either date have you ever seen?

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May – Dive the “Ironsides” – Lake Michigan

Kevin Ailes & Co., dove the Ironsides – an old wooden steamer that sank in 1873, located about 4 miles off of Grand Haven, MI in 120 feet of water.

The visibility this day was 60 foot with a bottom temperature of 42 degrees at 104 feet.

Kevin Ailes photo of the Ironsides buoy pict

KA Ironsides shot May 2016

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