Saturday, July 07, 2007

Dive Report: The Nellie Lyon

Last Sunday, courtesy of Jerry's friends we were given a deluxe boat ride on Lake St. Clair to the mouth of the St. Clair River where the wreck of the Nellie Lyon lies.

The Nellie Lyon, a sandsucker barge, sank in 1911 and was discovered in 2005 by the US Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service during a survey. It is certainly off the beaten path for divers, and we soon found out why.

Problem one was locating the wreck, and after a few dives searching we found it. Why was it hard to find?

Problem two was the absolutely lousy visibility, of approximately 1-3 feet. There was a lot of particulate running through the water that day and it was hard to keep the others in the dive team in sight.

Problem three was the current of at least 6 knots. You can swim all you like against it, but you don't get anywhere.

Once we found the wreck, we could only see little pieces of it with our lights - deck planking, steam pipes and other features a foot at a time. Finally we were separated and two of us were pushed off the wreck by the current and were picked up by the boat. One of the divers was able to take a few pictures with his Canon camera in an underwater case, and he'll hopefully send them to me soon and I'll post them up here so you can get an idea of what the experience was like.

The Nellie Lyon is a very cool wreck, but hopefully the next time we dive it the visibility will be better. It is certainly not a beginner's wreck dive.

For a really good write up of the wreck including some pictures see Ray's Scuba Page, which is an excellent Great Lakes Diving resource.

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