January 2022 – Newsletter

Next Meeting: January 18, 2022

Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, 1123 Territorial Rd., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

(The 3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

Meeting starts at 7:30 PM
There was no meeting in December (per the schedule)

Dive Events:

Seven divers braved the cold and late hour to continue the tradition of bringing in the New Year underwater. This was at least the 45th annual new year’s dive for the club and Mac. Sir Larry missed one so this was #44 for him.  Just think about the tradition these 2 have upheld, longer than some of our members have been alive! 

Upcoming Dives:

Winter has finally arrived so many of us are waiting for the opportunity to do a “Hard Water Dive”. If you never have been under the ice before, it is an exhilarating experience but also a technical dive that should not be undertaken without proper training, experience, equipment and support!  ALL of those are critical to a successful ice dive and shortcutting any part of it is asking for trouble.

Tip of the Month:

Proper gear for cold water dives.  Any dive in water below 45 deg. Fahrenheit is considered a “cold water” dive. Not all regulators are certified for “cold water” and using the wrong regulator can be a BIG problem. Even “cold water” regulators can freeze up when flowing high volumes of air or exposed to near freezing water, or sub freezing air temps. Many cold water regulators are also “environmentally sealed”, meaning that the balancing chamber is sealed and does not allow water into the chamber. These are the best type of reg for sub zero dive temps.  If you are not sure if your regulator is cold water certified, consult your user manual or contact the manufacturer to find out.  Did you know that many people dive with their regulators upside down? Which way is up? Check with your manufacturer but many people dive with the open part of their regulator facing down so that it will drain water in the winter not hold the water inside when you surface from a dive.  Join us at the January meeting to see a show and tell of what was just covered.

Wreck of the Month:

“Mac’s Wreck” is located near the D.C. Cook plant in 72′ of water. It is called “Mac’s Wreck” in honor of the person who provided information that led to the location of the wreck, our own Don McAlhany! Reviewing some old log books from the 1980’s, Mac found a note with a set of LORAN numbers and the note “wreck’. He had no other notes about the wreck itself and given the visibility at that time, may not have seen enough to know for sure what it was.  After some legwork, the numbers were converted into GPS coordinates and the search was on. Jim and Mac spent many hours mowing the lawn in the area of the coordinates but never picked much more than an occasional blip on the sonar. After multiple trips out to the area, we finally identified a small blip and irregularity on the bottom that was repeatable on different days.  Believing we had something worth checking out, a dive was planned. On October 9, 2010 Mac, Jim and Ken dropped anchor near the blip and headed to the bottom. We stretched a line out 150′ with a diver every 50′ out and started a circle search around the anchor.  A few minutes into the swim, Ken signaled he had something so Mac and Jim left the line where it was and headed to the anchor. What Ken had found was a post sticking up out of the sand about 3′ high and 8×10 inches square.  We lifted the line over the post and returned to our spots on the line to continue the search.  No sooner had we started swimming again when Ken again tugged on the line and we headed back to see what he had spotted.  What we saw was a line of small posts sticking up out of the sand in a curved row leading off into the sand. 

At this point we needed to end the dives so we wrapped the line around a small post and headed back to the anchor.  As Ken and Don ascended the line, Jim drug the anchor up to the small post and then joined them on the surface.  After a short surface interval that seemed like forever, the team reentered the water and followed the row of small stakes to find a bow post, and windlass, then an anchor, along with other parts of the ship. The wreck was buried up to the deck level in the sand and the small posts were what remained of the port railing, leading to the bow.  The first large post turned out to be the stern post that would have supported the rudder.  Over the next couple of years the wreck was photographed and measured in an attempt to identify it. At this point the wreck is still unidentified though it does have many of the characteristics of the lost schooner “Farmer” that was built in 1827 and lost in 1863.

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