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Ironsides wreck
LakeshoreDM - 9/12/2009 7:08 AM
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Category: Travel
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Thursday morning I was invited out to dive on the shipwreck Ironsides, 4 miles off of Grand Haven, MI in 120 feet of water. The Ironsides is an old wooden cargo steamer that sank in 1873. Conditions at the dive site are best usually when there is an East wind to knock down the swells on the surface. Thursday there were swells less than 1 foot when we started and almost dead flat when we finished. Currently there is now buoy on the wreck so we had to depend on our GPS coordinates, which dropped us right dead center on there wreck. As we geared up we placed at stage bottle at 20 feet for our safety stop, just in case we needed it, and the surface visibility allowed us to see it from the boat. We finished getting ready and got in and began the descent to the wreck. The surface temp of Lake Michigan was 61F and we hit the first thermocline at 25 feet dropping the temp to the mid 50’s. The second thermocline came at about 70 feet and the temp dropped to 44 degrees, and the visibility dropped to about 15 feet at that point. However, once we fully passed the thermocline at 80 feet we could see all the way to the sand at 120 feet and almost the whole wreck from there. We came down directly dead center on the wreck right atop the now collapsed hogging arches. From there we explored aft towards the boiler and on to the rudder which has also toppled over. Being at almost 120 foot with 40+ foot visibility was awesome but after making our way to the rudder we were almost out of bottom time so we returned to our line and began our ascent back to the boat making a 5 minute safety stop along the way. This was one of the best dives that I have ever done, and I would gladly do again. Hopefully I will get another chance to dive the Ironsides this year. I would thoroughly recommend this dive to anyone with the proper training and experience level. If you decide to dive this wreck, prepare well as there are other hazards such as fishing cable, and a rapidly changing Lake Michigan, and at times only 5 foot or less visibility without divers stirring up the sediment. Until next time