All in all this is an informative documentary style video about four wrecks in the Straits of Mackinac. Unfortunately the production standards aren`t that high. The narrator is overly dramatic and bad at it on top of that. But, once you get past that, the information in the video and from the people being interviewed provides a pretty decent introduction to what it would be like to dive these four wrecks.
The people interviewed are primarily local historians/wreck divers. So for the purpose of planning a dive there is some great information to be had. Each segment includes a clean line drawing of the wreck and underwater footage of the site.
The wrecks are, the Sandusky, William H Barnum, Eber Ward, and Cedarville.
The Sandusky is a brig which sank in 1856. She is described as very well preserved for her age but that the current is taking its toll. She has been well picked over since she sank and you`re not likely to find any souveniers. An interesting factoid is that the origional figurehead was removed and placed in a museaum, but a replica was fabricated and placed on the wreck. The current is an issue but the penetrations are described as fairly simple.
The William H Barnum sank in 74 feet of water in 1894. Apparently the ship was so decrepid at the time that she was insured primarily for her cargo because the ship herself was nearly worthless. After she sank she was basically forgotten until the 1980s when local divers found her. Her rudder was salvaged and put on display in Makinaw City.
The Eber Ward sank in 1909 in 140 feet of water after running into ice flows. She has a sizeable hole in the bow. This wreck apparently is known for a pretty stiff current and you have to be carefull which days you pick to dive her.
The Cederville is the largest of the four. A 588 foot ore carrier, she sank in 1956 in 105 feet of water after being rammed by a Norwegian ship while both ships ran the straits at fairly high speed in a fog. This ship gets a lot of coverage in the video primarily becuase there is more information available including a couple of surviving crewmen to interview. The ship is described as being rolled nearly completely over to starboard. This makes her a somewhat challenging dive because it`s easy to become disoriented once you`re inside the wreck. A wreck line is recommended as well as making sure someone knows your dive plan in case they have to come looking for you.
The underwater footage isn`t that great because the visibility is relatively poor. 35 foot vis is considered to be a good day on these wrecks according to the interviewees. Judging by the video, they`re right.
I`d want more information if I were actually going to dive these wrecks especially about more current conditions. But isn`t that why you pay a local dive shop or boat to take you there? It`s an interesting area with a lot of history to it and the wrecks. One of the main reasons to dive wrecks after all. And there is also a range of difficulty between the four ship
I found it from my favorite supplier of books and videos while in Baghdad, Amazon.com
The authors of the book by the same name are featured in the video.