July 09, 2013

Shipwreck of the St. Albans

After finding out that the St. Albains and the EMBA were at around 150-160 to the dirt I wanted to make sure I got out to these two shipwrecks this summer and after some equipments updates, I was able to get these last two dives in before the viz in the lake started going down. My Dive Buddy Mike Apke chartered Shipwreck Explorers with Jitka Hanakova on the Molly V to take us out to the St.Albans and the EMBA.  These were two technical dives which were both scheduled to have a bottom time of 20 minutes with a schedule set for 165 ft.  My max depth on the St. Albans was 150 ft so running extra deco is fine by me.

From the Stern looking down the St. Albans towards the bow
The St. Albans was a wooden steamer the struck ice and foundered January 30th 1881.  The Stern is pretty intact but her midship section has collapsed on top of itself.  The bow is holding but appears to be falling apart.  There was a large debris field around the St Albans which was interesting to see al the scattered deck boards and railings from when she went down.
Debris Field on the St. Albans

I went inside the stern section of the St. Albans and was only able to get this shot coming out of the shipwreck due to not having the right kind of strobes for the camera. This was a nice shipwreck to visit and with the temp of 41 degrees on the bottom and 60 ft of viz, this is a great dive for living near Chicago. 

St. Albans looking out from the stern.

We got back on the boat and made our way over to the EMBA.  The EMBA was not far from the St. Albans so we got a chance to hang out on the boat and relax a bit before we made out second dive. 
 EMBA looking toward the stern
The EMBA was a self loading 3 masted schooner ship which was turned into a cargo ship  that was scuttled in 1932 with a load of boulders still inside the ship.  We made our descent down to the ship and the viz was amazing!!! it must have been at least 80ft or more down there.  I looked to my left and right, all I could see was a baron desert with this ship upright and intact in the middle of nowhere.  It was an amazing site to see.
Stern Of the EMBA
We made a clockwise trip at around 160 ft of water around the massive ship and got back to the guideline in perfect time where we ascended back up the line following our decompression schedule.
bow section of the EMBA

This was a great day of diving and I am glad everything worked out with the weather, gear, and planning.  I am looking forward to coming back soon to dive the Grace Shannon and the Car Ferry


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