Shipwreck Diving At It's Best
Isle Royale, MI
The waters of Isle Royale offer some of the best wreck diving in the world. Isle Royale National Park is a wilderness island located 20 miles from the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. Beautiful but treacherous islands and shoals surround this 50 mile long island. These shoals have claimed about a dozen large ships. You can dive ten major wrecks of different types on your trip. The historic wooden wrecks have been surveyed by professional archeologists. Their diagrams and reports will help you interpret these less intact wrecks. You can explore the rooms and machinery spaces of the more intact steel wrecks. See Portholes and artifacts which still remain for you to see, enjoy, photograph, and leave behind. If you choose, you may sacrifice a dive for some island hiking or exploring.
The diving depths range from 2 feet to 140 feet. There are ( major wrecks including: Chisholm Engine, Cumberland/Chisholm, Cox, America, Emperor Stern and Bow, Congdon Bow, Monarch, Algoma, and the Glenlyon. The wrecks sites of the Kamloops and the Congdon Stern are for tech trips only. The water temperature around Isle Royale ranges from 39 to 60 degrees and in places will certainly be less than 45 degrees. Be prepared. A good wetsuit, or better yet, a dry suit is recommended. The visibility ranges from 70 feet to 20 feet but generally averages 40 feet. Normally, the water is colder early in the season when the visibility is best 40 to 70 feet. As the season approaches the first of September the water is warmer but the visibility is less usually ranging from 20 feet to 40 feet.
Three of the wrecks have multiple decks and rooms for penetration dives and we typically do at least one night dive so a dive light is required.
Isle Royale diving is not for warm water gear and dealing with the deeper depths and an overhead environment makes this challenging diving. Minimum recommended experience is 50 open water dives with experience in shipwreck, deep, and cold water diving.
Come on up and enjoy our two day live aboard dive trips on the Royale Diver at Silver Bay Minnesota on the North shore. You will have a great time diving on 4 different wrecks around the area, the Ely, the Hesper, the Madeira, and the Just for fun.
The Just for fun is setting in just 30 foot of water at Beaver Bay not far from Silver Bay. Just for fun was an abandoned hull given to the GLSPS for the purpose of sinking it for an easy dive site for the beginner or the advanced diver alike.
The Ely is a 200-ft Schooner; its full name is the Samuel P. Ely. In 1896 of October a storm blew the Ely barge from the Hesper and smashed it into the breakwater of Two Harbors. It broke up and sank next to the breakwater where it remains today.The Samuel P. Ely was a single-decked, three-masted schooner built at the J.P. Clark Shipyards near Detroit, Mich. It was placed in the iron-ore trade as soon as it was fitted for sea. The Ely is historically significantfor its associations with Two Harbors and Minnesota’s iron-ore trade. The Ely is also significant because of its exceptional structural integrity. The remains of the Ely were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
The Hesper is just north of the breakwater at Silver Bay marina, and is accessible from shore. One interesting point to the wreck is the huge rudder setting just north of the mooring line. The Hesper was a wooden-hulled, single propeller, triple-masted, freight-carrying steamship which towed schooner-barges. It was launched at the Ship Owners Dry Dock Company at the Radcliffe Yard in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 28, 1890. The Hesper is historically significant for its association with the Great Lakes iron-ore industry, as well as Minnesota’s grain trade. The well preserved remains of the Hesper embody the bulk freight steamer and are representative of the naval type, a hybrid which is unique to the Great Lakes. Although somewhat disarticulated, the remains can yield specific data relative to construction methods and materials for this important Great Lakes vessel type. The remains of the Hesper were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.
The wreck of the Madeira is the most popular dive site on the north shore; it sets just across from the Split Rock Lighthouse. There is a debris field in the shadows above the stern with the wheelhouse setting in 80 ft of water in the other direction. There are also plenty of opportunities to maybe even find one of them famous Lake Superior agates on one of your dives. The Madeira was built and launched at the Chicago Yard of the Chicago Shipbuilding Company in 1900. It had a plate keel and was shaped very flat and full to maximize cargo capacity with minimum draft. The vessel was built to carry bulk cargoes of grain, lumber or iron ore economically about the Great Lakes and on the coasts, under tow of a steam powered freighter. The shipwreck Madeira is historically significant as the best and one of the few known surviving examples of a schooner-barge. Though the Madeira was lost in a violent storm and is broken into numerous pieces scattered about the lake bottom, the major diagnostic elements of the hull are relatively intact. The Madeira’s value is enhanced by its relationship to Split Rock Lighthouse, which was built partially because of the Madeira’s loss. The remains of the Madeira were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Apostle Islands, WI
Join us for fun filled adventure weekends to the Apostle Islands! With 22 islands, 12 miles of shoreline with beautiful greenery, animal life and beautiful sea caves, 8 historic lighthouses, and several great wreck dive sites as well as a sunken house, docks, and so much more you are sure to have a great time exploring the beautiful shores and waters of Lake Superior! Apostle Islands are known for their clear water, beautiful seascapes, unique underwater rock formations, as well as their fascinating shipwrecks which all prove to be exciting for divers and adventurers of all experience levels. In addition, kayaking through the large, intricately intertwined sea caves or along the shores is absolutely breathtaking. The park offers a multitude of services that preserve the history and livelihood of the Apostle Islands which benefits visitors by adding countless adventure options on the islands with hiking trails, sandy and rocky beaches, as well as tours if a person is so inclined. In addition, on an adventure weekend to the islands, if you are interested in fishing the Apostle Islands have excellent fishing locations throughout the islands. These adventure weekends can be highly customized to the groups desires and we would love to hear from you regarding your next trip to the beautiful Apostle Islands.