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 Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society

Dedicated to Preserving our Shipwrecks and Maritime History
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2021 - Pretoria - Closing Report

Jack Decker | Published on 8/9/2021
Closing Report:

Participants: Jim Christenson, Phil Kerber (Captain), Tim Pranke (Project Leader), Jack Decker (Project Co-Leader) (Corey Daniel was signed up, but, was unable to make the trip.)

Due to COVID restrictions, this Project was canceled for the Summer of 2020. For 2021, the Board of Directors limited the number of participants to 5, from the usual of 6.

Participants arrived Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The R/V Preservation was opened, made ready for sailing, and food stowed. Our Plans were to travel to Outer Island Thursday afternoon, then begin diving Friday on the Pretoria. We planned to return Monday, August 9. The objectives were to check how well the boiler’s tiedowns were holding and do some sonar scanning of the bottom for other undiscovered wreckage.

We left Silver Bay Marina about 1:00 PM, Thursday, August 5, 2021, heading Easterly towards Devil’s Island, then East to Outer Island. We docked at Outer Island Lighthouse for the first night. I think we all enjoyed being back on the Lake and at Outer Island. A couple of National Park Service volunteers were camping at the lighthouse.

Friday, August 6, we went to the Pretoria, anchoring on the boiler. On the first dive we checked the boiler’s tie downs and verified they were holding rather well. The hull section by the boiler and the main wreck looked unchanged from 2 years ago.

Second dive on Friday was still from the boiler anchorage. More viewing of the whole wreck. Afterwards, we scanned the bottom on the way back to Outer Island Lighthouse dock. Found several promising “hits” to dive on Saturday.

Friday night at the Outer Island dock, we had supper and listened to weather reports saying small craft warning for later that night in the Apostle Islands, with winds and waves out of the East. We decided to move to the west side of South Twin Island, even though the sun was about to set.

We arrived at South Twin dock on the west side of the island around 11 PM. The dock was full, so we attempted anchoring several times in the area around the dock, before getting a good hook. We could hear the wind blowing overhead and the waves in the distance.

Saturday, August 7, we explored South Twin Island and rested from a short night. The outhouses were being rebuilt: the old ones had been removed, but the news ones had not been built. Decided we need to add a small shovel to the Preservation’s tool kit.

Sunday, August 8, came without a let up in the Easterly winds. We decided to move to Raspberry Island by island hopping to visit the other islands and their docks. This could be useful information for the future.

We stopped at Rocky Island dock, then Otter Island dock, then the fish camp on Manitou Island. From there, we motored past Oak Island to Raspberry Island Lighthouse, arriving late afternoon. At each stop, the rangers and volunteers gave us history lessons about what life was like on the islands in the early 1900s.

At the lighthouse on Raspberry Island, the Ranger gave us a tour of the house and the grounds. We decided this is the dock to be at. The outhouses were the nicest we’d seen.

Monday, August 8, we left Raspberry Island to dive the Wreck of the Sevona, to the Northeast of Sand Island. After the dive, we motored across a calm Lake to Silver Bay, arriving late afternoon.

Even though we were weathered off our plan, we did verify the boiler is secure and have points of interest to look at on next year’s GLSPS Pretoria Project.