July 31, 2011
First blast email to the Membership to announce that the project is
coming up and if interested, please register for the project.
August 2, 2011
An email was sent to all attendees on the final plan for the
project. The email also described how and what we were doing on the
project. We also informed attendees what equipment to bring for the
dive, lodging information and a link to the Liability and Waiver Forms
to print, read and sign to bring with and hand into Steve Daniel.
Friday, August 19. 2011 - Project Briefing
All attendees met Friday evening at the Campgrounds near the Grand
Marais Marina. GLSPS paperwork was collected and a project briefing was
done to provide an overview of what needed to be accomplished. All
participants were familiar with the Grand Marais Shipwrecks, which are
described in the book, Shipwrecks Along Lake Superior's North Shore,
authored by Steve Daniel. It was mentioned that the schooner Elgin
sank near what is now the marina breakwater, as well as the drifting of the burning steamer Liberty
which sank on the southwest side of the harbor. Dale Koziol
(boat/surface crew) Jeff Lee (Diver) and Steve Daniel (Diver &
Project Leader) were available for the project. Bonnie Koziol and Sarah
Lee accompanied their spouses. Sarah helped with dive tending before
and after the dives.
Saturday, August 20, 2011 - Project Started.
The weather was sunny, clear, 70 degrees, a slight breeze and
beautiful. Before starting the project, a Safety Briefing was
conducted. The GLSPS First Aid Kit, AED and an O2 Kit were explained
and placed in the leader's vehicle. Jeff Lee mentioned that he was an
EMT, so that was good news to the crew. It was decided to start the
first shore dive from the pebble beach in front of the picnic shelter. A
40 Cu. Ft. stage bottle with regulator was placed in Dale's boat for
emergency use, if needed.
Dale launched his 13 foot fishing boat (which displayed a Divers
Down Flag and a blue/white flag), while Jeff and Steve doned their dive
gear under the shelter (for shade). Dale recorded the diver entry and
exit times in the GLSPS Dive Log. The divers entered the water and swam
out about thirty yards, towing a Diver Down Flag attached to a red
nylon covered inner tube. An iron knee from the Elgin
found in the sand, chained to a small steel hatch combing. A second
knee was found shortly thereafter. Each time an object was found, Steve
would take an underwater photograph or two of the artifact or shipwreck
piece. Jeff would then pass a fish marker to Steve, who placed the
lead weight on the object and let the marker float to the surface.
Meanwhile Jeff would sketch the object on velum taped to a dive slate.
Then he would measure the object with a vinyl tape on a reel, recording
the dimensions next to his sketch.
The divers would move away from the object and surface to signal
Dale to weigh anchor and come over with his boat. Dale would mark the
float location with a GPS and record the depth and description (provided
by Steve), along with t he coordinates for use in a spreadsheet. The
divers would swim onto another artifact or debris piece and repeat the
procedure. Visibility was about 20 feet, with good sunlight penetration
at depth. A wooden plank, a timber with a steel rod through it, steel
cable and a half-barrel mooring base were found in the same area. The Liberty
rudder was found mostly covered in sand, approximately 20 feet from the
beach in front of the picnic shelter. The depth of the mostly
sand-covered rudder was 4 feet, which had changed substantially from
the fully exposed rudder at a 7- foot depth Steve observed a few years
After lunch, a second dive was conducted in front of the large rock
that formed a natural breakwater, past the small boat launch ramp. A
large steel plate perforated with many holes was found. Jeff, who owns
an antique steam engine and is a steam engine enthusiast, thought this
was a boiler plate from the Liberty
. A piece of the ship's
3-inch wide rub rail, an angle iron and a small layered section of
wreckage made of wood and metal fastened together were found alongside
the rock rubble at the base of the large rock breakwater. A 5-foot
piece of narrow gauge rail was also found, perhaps from the commercial
fishing days of the harbor.
Following a surface interval and a warm-up fromt he 43 degree water,
the divers entered alongside the boat ramp dock and swam to the large
boulder section fo the southwest breakwater, toward the green harbor
light. A timber with a rod through it, a bent metal strap, a 26-inch
diameter forged iron ring bolted together and a 5-foot long 1.5 inch
steel rod were found either in the sand along the base of the boulders,
or on the smaller rocks near the boulders. The largest piece found was a
wooden deck clamp 14 feet long, with several steel rods holding two
wooden timbers together, which had a 4-inch space between the wood
The crew completed the dive, removed their gear to camp and enjoyed a
hot shower. The women joined the men at Steve's campsite to share some
grilled brats and other tasty items the group brought. Refreshments
around a campfire were enjoyed afterwards. Conversation included
impressions of the sea plane taking off in the harbor near the
lighthouse on the east breakwater. It was an impressive sight. The
schooner that sailed in and out of the harbor was also observed as a
neat sight. Everyone had a fun time with this relaxing event after a
full day of diving and project work.
A light rain occurred during the night, but did not seem to affect visibility the next day.
Sunday, August 21, 2011 - Project Finalized.
One dive was conducted along the rocky breakwater that protected the
marina. Only one artifact was found that looked like it may have come
from a shipwreck. It was a 12-inch long rod with a washer held on one
end by a head on the rod. Some old tires, a 55 gallon drum half buried
nthe sand (probably filled with cement) and a large rough
concrete-covered timber frame were found along the breakwater. The
later items were harbor discards and not related to either of the
shipwrecks. The crew packed up afterwards and broke camp to return