July 13, 2012

Another early morning start from Chicago as I wake up in a sweltery summer humid morning street lights still on and very few cars on the road to give suspension to anyone driving around at this hour in Chicago.  The drive is 70 miles to Milwaukee to meet up with Jerry Geyers Len-Der charter and get on the lake once again before afternoon storms roll in.  I always enjoy Diving the great lakes yet to many people it sounds like a terrible place to be, deep underwater, water temp, 45 degrees or less, and the creepy mystery of the great lakes, but I find it to be fascinating and rather relaxing to be in the clear water heavily protected with a thick exposure suit and a overfilled tank of air for the dive.  I love it!!
Shipwreck of the Transfer Milwaukee

After dodging drunk drivers, weary late night trucks, and police speeding traps, I made it to the loading dock in the city of Milwaukee.  Jerry always seems to manage to get a lot of divers to join him on his dives which is good business form him and a great opportunity for me to meet other like minded shipwreck cold water fanatics.
Shipwreck Of The Transfer

We get the diesel powered steeler out past the break wall and onto the lake.  We had 1’s and 2’s as we made our way out to the Shipwreck of the Transfer
Barge Transfer (80268) – Built 1872 at Gibraltar, Michigan by Linn & Craig as sch. bge. William McGregor - 200.0 x 33.9 x 13.7 ft., 732 gt., rebuilt as barge Transfer at Milwaukee, 1910. - The big barge Transfer had been owned by the Milwaukee Western Fuel Co, who abandoned her in 1910.  After many years, she was towed out into the lake and intentionally sunk on December 6, 1923.  Her unloading machinery was removed prior to her scuttling and placed in the EMBA.  Her possible remains are believed to have been located by Jerry Guyer. (Runge Card File)  (
Shipwreck of the Transfer Milwaukee WI
I just got all of my technical dive gear trim fitted to what I thought was my liking and got in the water for the first time with it.  I tried it all out in a pool at first but now I took the plunge to drop down to a depth of a 100ft and swim around the wreck.  She was pretty badly broken up and was not much to see other than the collapsed deck, haul planking and the skeletal remains of the haul.  There were some other artifacts around the debris field. 
Shipwreck of the Transfer Milwaukee WI

Even though it may not sound too interesting in words, the clear 60-80 ft. of viz makes it look like you are starting out into a blue hazy desert with an old relic in the middle of nowhere.  I find it interesting to dive these shipwrecks and fully support the preservation of these important artifacts.
Shipwreck of the Transfer Milwaukee WI
I started to ascend and I noticed I lost a shiny belt piece that floated down from where I was. My bouyency was pretty rough and quickly I started to struggle with my new dry suit, twin low-pressure 108s and 55lb bladder.  It got interesting but thankfully I was going a recreational dive so I just had one 3 minute stop at 15 ft.   I cannot stress how important it is to get your technical dive outfit dialed in before attempting ANY dive ESPECIALLY a technical dive. 

The next thing I made sure I did was register for a intro to tech diving class so I could prepare for the advanced nitrox/decompression procedure class.
Shipwreck of the Gillen Tug Milwaukee WI
The Next dive was around 60ft on the Gillen Tug
The Tug Boat foundered on June 3, 1981 as it capsized and sank 2 1/2 miles east of Milwaukee, Wis. while testing a towing winch on the U.S.C.G. cutter Westwind.
Shipwreck of the Gillen Tug Milwaukee
I descended onto the wreck after an hour SI without any incident and came up to the Tug Boat. She is pretty much intact and has a couple small rooms to penetrate into I worked my way into the bridge house and traced around the wreck a bit more.
Lower level of the Gillen Tug Shipwreck Milwaukee WI
This was a great day of diving and a lot of fun to see two more shipwrecks of the great lakes.
Shipwreck of the Gillen Tug Milwaukee WI

You Might Also Like