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 Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society

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"From Prevention to Preservation"

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2011 - Wilson/Mayflower - Closing Report

Todd Olson | Published on 9/18/2011
Closing Report:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The project started out a bit slow but picked up momentum as the day went on.  On most diving projects, the intensity of all the needed equipment and planning take many hours of time to organize in the beginning.  The boat and dive briefings need to be presented to all participants for safety and the S.O.P. of the Society.  Finally, the initial plan of what we would like to accomplish as our goal on this project are discussed.  While underway to the dive site and to save time, we presented the "Pre Dive Safety Briefing" and the Project Plan while having breakfast.

After arriving at the dive site, Phil Kerber (Captain of the vessel) sent a Security Call (every two hours) to all vessels in the area to let them know we are anchored on the Thomas Wilson and the location of which we are located from the Duluth entrance. 

Our first dive was about setting up the site for safety.  The first group of divers submerged to check out the water visibility.  The GLSPS S.O.P. for minimum of horizontal visibility for Documentation Project dives is 8 feet.  The dive will be called if it is less than that.    The second dive team set up the surface supplied O2 by attaching it to the assent line (anchor line).  O2 tank was turned on and ready for use by the divers.  After the first dive team came backup up and said the visibility was 15 feet we started the next dive team.

The first team down of Corey Daniel and Bill Wallace secured the anchor and drop tank at the anchor.  Then they proceeded to the first location previously determined by last years location to count the Zebra Mussels.  When returning, the Zebra Mussel count was not significantly different than last years count.  If fact, it may be slightly less than last year.  We will have to compare to last years data to determine the difference.  (That report will follow later).  

We also took the time to inspect the hull for any difference from last year such as the possibility of the Wilson moving around or the cracks in the hull are getting bigger or not.  Divers reported that an additional crack may have formed in the bow area.  We will have to determine if that is accurate by viewing past data and video coverage.

The first dive team returned and the second team was then sent down to perform their tasks.  We then started to refill the first teams tanks with air.

The second dive team of Steve Daniel and Joe Musial had more time to count Zebra mussels in other predefined areas of the shipwreck.  There results seem to be the same as the first dive team.  After a look at last years data we will determine and report on the results later.  Please check back to see results report.  The second dive team also picked up some trash around the perimeter and on the Wilson.  They brought up two large bags of trash on the wreck.  I know that the results of that data can be determined right now.  There was considerably more trash on the wreck than what was found last year.  We are not sure who does that but it is not right, in our opinion, to see that much trash laying around the shipwreck.  The GLSPS will make a noble effort in the very near future to arrange to attach a buoy / mooring on the Thomas Wilson.   This would make it much easier to dive this shipwreck and to help preserve this valuable historical maritime monument.

The third dive team of Todd Olson, Phil Kerber and Randy Flacksbarth will shoot video to document the project.  The first day we tried to overlap the other divers so that we could maintain the S.O.P of the boat operators responsibility by waiting until Steve Daniel returned from his dive. 

The first day of the Project was very productive and were able to achieve our goals we set for the day.  We will still need to come back the next day (Sunday) to complete the rest of the project.

We departed the dive site at 5:00 PM and headed back to the Marina to settle in for Dinner and the over night stay.   

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We woke up by 6:30 to make an attempt to start earlier.  We departed the Marina dock at 7:30 AM.
As we were under way we had breakfast, presented another "Pre Dive Safety Briefing and the days project plan.  We arrived at the dive site at 9:00 AM and sent another security call the the vessels in the area to announce our intentions of anchoring on the Thomas Wilson shipwreck for the day. 

At 9:30 AM the first dive team of Steve  Daniel and Joe Musial were sent.  They tasks were to check the horizontal and vertical walls to see if that would make a difference as to where the Zebra Mussels would attach themselves and bring up the results.  The also inspected the hull where they were swimming and picked up more trash.

After the first dive team returned the second dive team of Phil Kerber, Todd Olson and Randy Flacksbarth were sent to monitor the bow crack and hull.  They also check the Zebra Mussel infestation around the bow area.  It seems the crack in the hull may have been there all along and perhaps has increased a little over time which will be determined later and after viewing more still and video shots of the shipwreck. 
The third team of Corey Daniel and Bill Wallace were sent to do more monitoring of the Zebra Mussel infestation on the shipwreck.  The compressor was started to refill the first teams tanks to prepare for the next dive.  They also inspected more of the hull in the areas in which they were assigned.  The team picked up more trash as well.

Unfortunately we were only able to make one dive each team on Sunday.  We needed to take some extra time to perform some boat preparation for winter lay up when we returned to the Marina.

More on this report will be added as time goes on and after the data, video and still shots have been reviewed.
Please check back in the future to see those results.

Please click on this link button to read the results of the Zebra Mussel infestation the GLSPS has been monitoring.

Please note there is a file of 2010 and 2011 project data available in the Documents section under Project Research Data and there are many project photos uploaded to the photo page under the section Wilson Zebra Mussel 2011 Monitoring Project.

Thank you to all that support the GLSPS in their efforts to preserve Maritime History.

Todd Olson