View Full Version : Schooner Northerner

Scuba Pete
07-13-2010, 08:12
I dove on the Schooner Northerner this weekend. The Shipwreck is 78' in length a wooden 2 masted schooner. She sank in 1868 and is wonderfully preserved. The depth to the deck of the wreck is 120' and to the silt is 132'. We dove on the charter boat Len-Der. The Len-Der is a rustic steel boat; she was a little difficult to dive on with doubles. I was surprised that there was only 1 other diver in doubles that day. I was buddied with a local dive shirt manufacture entrepreneur. He was a good diver and he was taking pictures of the wreck. I will have to post some as soon as I get them. The plan for the dive was to drop down onto the bow and poke around for a few minutes then swim to the stern. The remaining time that we had would be spent looking over the deck and looking through the holes to the cargo hold that was full or cordwood from the time of her sinking. We had a 3 minute decent and landed on the bow. We looked at the awesome figure head and bow spirit and made our way along the starboard side and stopped at the stern. Bottom time was 13 minutes with my maximum depth of 130í water temp at depth was a toasty 41 deg measured by my computer, others reported 39 deg. I was a little taken aback by the lack of experience/knowledge of the other divers on the boat. It certainly opened my eyes to what is actually going on out there. This scares me, and surprises me that more accidents donít happen and people hurt. This could possibly be the technical diver in me screaming about recreational divers going to 130í on an 80 with no redundant systems, no lift bag, no reel, no lights, etc. If this were a warm water type dive it might be a little different, but in my eyes and thinking this is unacceptable in cold and dark water. I guess the more you learn about diving the more you learn how much you donít know and how much of an experiment we all are taking part in every time we get in the water. I will have to go back to this wreck agian with my normal buddies so we can get some bottom time to explore this wonderful wreck that is so close to our backyard.

On my way home I stoped by the Port Washington light station. They have Lifeboat #1 from the car ferry milwaukee out in front of the station. The life boat made it all the way across the lake and ended up in michigan with 4 frozen bodies on it. A very somber peice of history but very facinating at the same time.

07-13-2010, 08:26
It's not just the tec in you Pete...I would hesitate to do a 130' on an AL80 too...just because of what I know now. PErsonally, I dive either 119 doubles or a LP121. With a 13 minute TBT, I take it you didn't spend the whole time at 130? I will admit that in the old days, I would have done that dive in an 80 or 72 and not thought twice-not anymore.

Scuba Pete
07-13-2010, 08:36
You are correct. I spent most of the time around 120 i dipped down to 130 for a minute or two to look under the wreck. Total dive time was 23 minutes from splash to surface. 3 minute decent 13 minutes on the wreck 1 minute at 80', 3 minutes at 20'-15'.

Jack Hammer
07-13-2010, 09:57
It's a nice really nice wreck in great condition and one of my favorites. We did a nice deco dive on it a few weeks back and though we planned for 25mins bottom time we had seen everything by the 20min mark so we opted to head up and take advantage of our shorter alternate deco plan. We had some odd temp readings of 41* on the port side and 39* on the starboard, not sure how that works, but it's not the first time I've heard of it on that site.

Unfortunately it's a popular site among recreational divers who don't seem to understand the inherent risks of diving on an al80 to those depths. Last year an "advanced" diver died coming up from that site. To me what is sadder is that I haven't heard it mentioned at all by others since then. It's a nice reminder to people of what can happen when one starts to push their limits and training. Glad to hear you enjoyed the wreck, I look forward to some pics.

Scuba Pete
07-13-2010, 11:43
There was a group of divers on the boat that the diver you are talking about was with on that trip. They were among the group that had singles on. I tried to dive with one of them as he was the only other diver with doubles and it turns out the were still a little sensitive about it.

Lake Michijim
07-13-2010, 11:59
The Northerner is a great wreck and I have dove it many times on a single 80. Of course, I sticking to the deck and not going into deco. I also maintain my own gear and I know what it can do. Most divers don't. That being said, I have to admit I prefer to dive it with double 72's and a pony so I can poke around the bottom for awhile and pick up a few trinkets that other divers dropped. I got a weight belt last year with 32 pounds of lead on it.
It is very sad that there was a loss on the Northerner last year, but I feel that was a result of dumbed down training practices that are the norm today. I started from scratch twice. First time, back in the 70's and again in 2001. Theres a HUGE difference in the two era's, not only in gear, but in mindset.

Scuba Pete
07-13-2010, 12:03

I can not take credit for the photos. They are from Cal Kothrade www.calsworld.net (http://www.calsworld.net) go take a venture and see them all.

Jack Hammer
07-13-2010, 17:08
Nice pics, thanks for sharing. The ones on his site are nice too.

07-13-2010, 18:30
Great photos SP! Thanks for posting them and if you would, thank the photog for letting you post!

07-13-2010, 19:52
Scuba Pete,

Thank you so much for sharing your dive with us. The pictures are beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how well-preserved those Great Lakes wrecks can be.

07-14-2010, 04:37
Now I *REALLY* wish I could have gone with you.......

Scuba Pete
07-14-2010, 06:46
Serves you right for saying no. NAAAA NA NAAAA NA NAAA NAAA