THE GREAT WRECKS OF THE GREAT LAKES

Scuba Diving - - Front Page - BY BECKY K AGAN SCHOT T

Great Lakes ship­wrecks in­spire me. The ships here have been pre­served in fresh, cold water for hun­dreds of years — div­ing them is like turn­ing back the hands of time. They’ve be­come my big­gest pas­sion; my chal­lenge is to cap­ture their image in a way no one has ever seen be­fore. There are thou­sands of ships to dive here, from wooden schooners to steel freighters, and each has a story — you can’t help but feel a hu­man con­nec­tion when you lis­ten to their pow­er­ful tales of tragedy, hero­ism, mys­tery and sur­vival. His­tory comes alive when I see a ship’s name painted on a stern, or cargo from au­to­mo­biles to train cars to shoes, or a 91- year- old box of life pre­servers frozen in time. I’m most at­tracted to the wooden schooners with masts still stand­ing 90 feet tall, as if they were sail­ing along the lake bed. Some­times I have to pull my cam­era away and look with my own eyes be­cause it’s hard to be­lieve this is real. To peer through a door­way hun­dreds of feet deep at a wheel, tools, pic­tures still hang­ing on walls, light­bulbs in lamps, and a bell still in place leaves me in awe. What do I love most? Not ev­ery mys­tery here has yet been un­cov­ered — each year, new wrecks are found, fu­el­ing my ap­petite to ex­plore even farther.

EMBA, LAKE MICHI­GAN EMBA was a wooden, three-masted schooner-barge scut­tled near Mil­wau­kee in 1932. The 181-foot ship had been con­verted into a self-un­load­ing barge car­ry­ing coal on the Mil­wau­kee River. The wreck is mostly in­tact, mi­nus dam­age to the...

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