After a great weekend on the Lake with warm temperatures and flat seas I was thinking summer was finally here. Last Saturday, the 11th, I woke up to fog. Now I know that with the right barometric pressure that Air temp 59F – Water Temp 51F = FOG. My divers and divemaster Jason met me at 0800 and we departed Burnham at 0830. The viz in the harbor was maybe 500 feet but once I cleared the entrance it dropped to 100 feet. Fortunately, the R/V has great radar and fully automatic fog horn which made my job of motoring out to the Buccaneer easy. Also, there wasn’t anyone else out in the middle of this pea-soup. About 55 minutes after leaving the harbor we were circling the wreck site. Though the fog was dense for the first 4 miles for the last six we had about 0.5 miles of viz. The Lake was flat and we used the sonar to drop our marker about 8-feet from the bow. Jason dropped down and tied us in. Are divers all in wetsuits punched out a 30 minute dive in the 46F water. They had about 25-foot viz and a great dive on Chicago’s newest wreck.
Next stop was the Illinois/Holly Barge. While the divers ate pineapple I played close attention to the radar as we headed in. About 5-miles from shore I noticed a little blip that didn’t move. First at a 1/2 mile, then at 1/4 mile and then about 400 feet away I backed off the throttles and brought the R/V down to about 5 kts. About 200 feet directly ahead of us I could make out the outline of something and then at about 100-feet you could see this <30ft boat setting a buoy for a sailboat race. By the time you could really see them (the boat that is) you could also make out their faces. Needless to say, they would pretty shocked to see a boat appear out of no where. Got to love radar! Anyhow we altered course around them and proceeded to the Holly barge. We located the barge with the Humminbird and dropped Jason in about 10-feet away. A short time later he pops up and says he can’t find the wreck! I look at my gps and say “you’re right there.” He drops down again, with a reel and locates the wreck in short order about 8-feet away. The moral to this story is that the viz was bad about 2-Feet! As we were here and our divers were ready they jumped in and they went diving while I sat around listening to my fog horn. We had a short ride in and all was well.
Sunday the 12th, I had a boat load of divers who after hearing about the nearshore viz of the day before asked that I do the Mack and the Bucc. I ran the route on my gps and it is about 15 miles extra in time and gas. So I got my calculator out, did some quick math and said okay $20 per person extra and you can dive both. They did not hesitate a second. It was unanimous, six divers off to do the first ever, MACK – BUCC Charter. Cool temps but no fog and 1-ft seas meant we had smooth sailing to the Mack. Within an hour we were tied into the bow of the Mack. No burbot sightings but the alewives/herring were present in abundance. Some of the divers did a swim around, some dropped in and out of the wreck and one dive team did my favorite the full length penetration of the wreck. Water temp 46F viz 30ft. After collecting our divers I headed 13 miles south to the Buccaneer while WCD Pineapple was being consumed by our divers. As usual we located the wreck with the sidescan, dropped new divemaster James L in and he tied us in. Water temp about the same but viz was down to around 20 – 25 feet. Our divers had a great time and dive. For two of our divers this was their first Lake Michigan dives! Can you imagine that? Their first two dives in the big lake are on the two best wrecks in the area and on two sites that we divers created! While we were collecting our divers a +600 foot freighter passed within a 1/4 mile of us. This is why we don’t moor the wreck.
With the success of this charter, WCD is now going to offer the MACK – BUCC Combo Charter to any and all groups. The price: $135/diver.
This weekend I am full Saturday morning but I have spaces available in the afternoon and spaces available Sunday AM & PM.
If you want to go diving give me a call or drop me an email.