The Niagara Divers' Association Presents


The Shipwrecks/95 event was held on March 18, 1995. The event was a total sell out with many people on the waiting list unable to attend. The speakers that presented are outlined below.

Cris Kohl

Cris, a long time resident of the central Great LakesRegion, has been a very active and avid scuba diver since his first exposure to diving in Bermuda in 1974. He has written several books on diving in Ontario including "Dive Southwestern Ontario", "Shipwreck Tales: The St. Clair River (to 1900)", "Dive Ontario' and his most recent venture, "Dive Ontario II", which takes a look at many new dive sites across the province of Ontario. He has also written many articles on maritime history and scuba diving which have appeared in Diver Magazine, Inland Seas, Ontario Divers Digest, Diving Times and numerous other publications. Cris will be presenting two topics for us at Shipwreck/95 including "Dive Ontario" and " The Shipwrecks of Pt. Traverse".

Mike Fletcher

Mike is a professional diver from Port Dover, Ontario. He has done extensive research on many shipwrecks in Lake Erie including the steamer Atlantic. On a dive in September 1984 Mike identified a shipwreck on the bottom of Lake Erie that would change his life and provide the rest of the world with a glimpse of our history and shipping on the Great Lakes. This new discovery was the luxurious steamer Atlantic. At a length of 267' and a narrow beam she was one of the fastest and sleekest ships on the lake. The Atlantic sank as a result of a collision in August 1852 and although several attempts were made to salvage her into the early 1900's none were very successful. She lay undisturbed for many years until a positive identification was made in 1984 by Mike. In the 10 years since the rediscovery of the Atlantic, Mike has established the Steamer Atlantic Preservation Project and is working diligently to try to protect this valuable resource for future generations. Mike will give us an update on the Atlantic and show us the work he is doing on some recent shipwreck discoveries in Lake Erie.

Dan Lindsay

The "Empress of Ireland" was considered to be one of the fastest and safest ships in the Canadian trade. The 168 metre ocean liner always made an impressive site as she steamed her way up the St. Lawrence River. She sank in 14 minutes, on May 29, 1914, only two years after the Titanic, with a loss of 1015 passengers and crew members. The wreck of the Empress of Ireland sits in over 45 metres of water near the town of Rimouski, Quebec. It is neither easy to get to nor easy to dive but some have ventured to the wreck. Dan has been diving for 22 years with 6 of those years spent in the commercial diving industry working as Diver- EMT, with Canadian based companies in the Beaufort Sea, Davis Strait, and the Great Lakes. Dan is now employed as an Electronics-Electrician by trade but his greater love is deep water wreck exploration, videophotography, and film making. Through his company SeaView Imaging he has created video fromthe Red Sea, The Caribbean, and most recently a historic production on the "EMPRESS of IRELAND". Mark Oliphant Mark has been involved with the planning and coordination of the dive trips to the North Channel near Manitoulin Island to dive on a 300' steel ore freighter called " The North Wind". Built in 1888 , she saw 6 years of service in the Atlantic Ocean out of Boston. The North Wind sank after being stranded on Robertson Rock in 1926 and lays in 80' to 110'+ of water in the North Channel, near Clapperton. It isan impressive dive and remains in excellent shape. Mark will share some of his experiences on diving The North Wind and show some exciting video footage of the wreck.

Walter Lewis

Along with his interest in scuba diving Walter Lewis also spends a great deal of his spare time studying Great Lakes shipping. He serves on two editorial boards and is completing his Ph.D thesis on the first generations of iron hulled steamboats. "The Cornwall" survived fifty years of service down the rapids of the St. Lawrence before she ended her career as a salvage vessel. She was one of the most historically significant vessels on the lakes. The presentation on the Cornwall features dozens of historical images and underwater slides from his forthcoming book.

Dave Gilchrist

Dave will be presenting an informative look at the Navy Hall Archaeological Site in the lower Niagara River at Niagara-on- the-Lake. This area of Niagara is rich in history and Dave is an avid historian and accomplished underwater photographer and is keenly interested in the preservation of this unique site.

Jim Garrington and Jim Honey

As owners of Discovery Dive Charters, Jim and Jim will take a look at some of the shipwrecks in the eastern end of Lake Erie. Through an audio/video presentation we will see familiar dive sites as well as video footage on some new shipwreck sites, including a still unidentified schooner.

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