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 Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society

Dedicated to Preserving our Shipwrecks and Maritime History
"From Prevention to Preservation"

News Stories

2019 - Wilson/Mayflower - Closing Report

Phil Kerber | Published on 10/7/2019

Closing Report:
September 30, 2019 and October 8, 2019

A couple of GLSPS Staff members decided to take the boat out for a cruise the weekend of the Mc Dougall's Dream Fund Raiser. As long as we were in the area of the harbor and lift bridge we decided it would be a great opportunity to check the visibility of the Thomas Wilson Shipwreck site for next weekends project. We sent down a camera to check for visibility and discovered it was 15 plus feet. That gave us hope that we might be able to proceed with the the plan to have the Thomas Wilson Monitoring Project the next weekend.

The next weekend we decided to proceed with the project. Phil K and Tim P checked the weather and wind and decided the project was a go. We cruised out to the Thomas Wilson shipwreck site and sent a dive team down to check the visibility. It turned out to be no more than 10 feet. However, after the team surfaced, they reported that as the dive progressed, the visibility virtually got better? It was amazing to see the visibility change before our eyes. There was a slight current that was also reported and we believe that the current was part of why the visibility was improving by the minute. In other words, at the beginning of the dive we had 10 feet of visibility and by the end of the dive we actually had 15 to 20 feet.

We monitored the shipwreck the best we could and several team members shot some video of the shipwreck to help record the deterioration of the shipwreck. We hope to put together a short video of the little footage we cold get that was actually clear enough. We hope to put it up here on this site if it turns out. Unfortunately we have to report that the front turret is slowly sinking into the bow of the ship. It at a pretty good angle and we expect it to completely fall into the chain locker below within a few years. We were discussing how we could fix this issue but, we determined that the turret is so heavy that we have no safe way to lift and secure it. If you have any input on if or what can be done, the GLSPS is willing to hear your comments.

After the second dive on the Wilson, the team decided they wanted to dive the Mayflower another 4.5 miles further out in the Lake. We than headed out since the weather was cooperating.

All participants had an opportunity to dive the Mayflower. It was a great dive and the visibility was between 20 and 30 feet. The visibility was better than 2018!

All the participants were pleased with the dive. It was getting darker and we needed to depart from the area since it is in the shipping canal.

We returned to Spirit Lake Marina for our overnight stay. We then stopped at the Tappa Keg for a great home cooked dinner. We returned to the boat and listened to the weather and anticipating that we would have a great weather report. Unfortunately, the weather report was not promising for Sunday. We then settled down for a good night sleep and dream about great weather on Sunday.

The next day we checked the weather and the weather synopsis was that it was going to rain and the winds were from 10 to 15 mph and gusting to 30 mph. We then asked ourselves if we really want to be out in that weather so we all decided to scrub the rest of the weekends project.

All in all, we still had a great project and got in at least three dives and the new faces that participated got to dive the Wilson and Mayflower for the first time. Fun and learning was had by all!

Closing Report:
October 5 - 6, 2019

The October 5 and 6 2019 Thomas Wilson Monitoring Project was cancelled mostly because of the visibility and massive amounts of rain that came down the week prior to our 2nd weekend project. The water coming out of the harbor was chocolate brown and turned the visibility into Zero. We had no choice as to cancel the 2nd weekend Thomas Wilson Monitoring and Cleanup Project.

However, we did go out on the boat to side scan Park Point where there is always a chance to find additional shipwrecks. We discovered that the wind wasn't very bad at all, just the visibility. It provided us with a chance to do some soundings. We also had a chance to check out a side scan sonar fish to see if we could make it work on our boat and electronics. We got it working but discovered that only 1/2 of the sonar transducer was working. Further diagnosis of the equipment will be needed to determine the fault of the equipment.

Even though the project was canceled we were able to do lots of things we normally are not able to do.
One is to go do some touring of the area. Other things such as taking a much needed nap and perhaps working on the boat are among the other items we could do. There is always work to be done on the boat. Since it was the last project of the year, we started a few tasks to winterize the boat to get it ready for winter layup, which will be within a week.

Thank you to all that participated in the Thomas Wilson Monitoring Project and other projects throughout the season. Event though we didn't get the amount of dives and the monitoring videos we would have liked, we still had fun and learned a few things along the way.