June 04, 2013

Tom Shahaf inside the Lumberman (photo by Mark Shahaf)
Dive Season has started and I have been anxious to get into the water especially after being out in the desert for 10 days.  I got to the harbor in Milwaukee an hour early to make sure I had enough time to make it out there from Chicago and shortly after everyone else showed up.  For this charter Mike Apke, Tom Shahaf, Mark Shahaf, "butch", Myself,  plus Captain Jitka Hanakova of Shipwreck Explorers. After some minor technical issues with starting the boat, Mike Was able to fix the problem and we were on our way to the Lumberman.

Milwaukee on the horizon on board with Shipwreck Explorers (Photo taken by Mark Shahaf)

The Lumberman was Built in 1862 as a transport for lumber but foundered in April 1893 during a storm.  She is at around 55 ft of water and provides a good look as to the the construction concepts and workman ship of her time as she is still in decent shape.  She is one of the very few ships to have a double centerboard construction. We had up to 3ft waves and winds up to 10 MPH but the Molly V was able to cut through the conditions and get us to the buoy to make our first dive on the Lumberman in good time.  The temp was a bit cooler out on the lake which made wearing a drysuit pleasant unlike how the heat of the summer can cook you  like slow roasted beef brisket.    
Mark Shahaf over the Lumberman (photo taken by Tom Shahaf)
     Mike and I geared up and went through our START drills, entered the water and started our decent.  Mike noticed his camera housing starting to flood so he had to go back to the surface quickly and leave the camera on the boat.  Thankfully Mark brought his camera and he was able to take some good shots of the dives. Once we got to the bottom, the water temp dropped from the upper 50s to 44 degrees.  Its not so bad in a drysuit but when I use to dive wet, 44 degrees was like Han Solo being frozen in carbonite in the movie, Empire Strikes Back. 

Adam Haydock & Mike Apke at the Bow of the Lumberman (photo taken by Tom Shahaf)

We got to the bottom and we started going clockwise around the Lumberman's stern port, stern, and stern starboard quarters.  We continued to flank the starboard quarters until we got to the bow section. Mike and I proceeded to go into the remains of the holds hovering over the hull under the deck board planking on the starboard side.  The light that penetrated through the remains of this 3 masted schooner gave a nice erie ambiance around us.  We continued on until we were ready to call the dive and return to the boat for the second dive on the Prins Willem V.

Tom Shahaf on the Prins Willem V  (photo taken by Mark Shahaf)
We were suppose to go to the Fireboat but we were not able to find the exact location so we decided to make our second dive on the Prins Willem V.  the Prins Willem V is a dutch steel freighter that sank in 1954 when it ran into the tow cable that the Gillen Tug was using to pull a barge.  The max depth is around 90 ft on this ship and she rests at a 45 degree angle on her starboard side slowly sinking into the bottoms muddy composition. We made our decent on the Willie and went around some of the ships bow quarters and starboard section.  We entered the ship behind the wheelhouse and slowly swam through the ships small inner rooms.  Our push ended when Mikes Primary light stopped working so I came back around and we made our ascent back onto the boat.  
These two wreck were a real treat to experience and I am glad I was able to go with an experienced group of divers and Shipwreck Explorers.

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Prins Willem V (photo taken by Mark Shahaf)

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