Isle Royale - Day 4

Morning came on day 4 and we were ready for another day of diving!  We repeated the Emperor Stern and also the America.  The best part about these shipwrecks is that there is so much to see, even after you've dove it a couple of times.  

Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service, photo by Dan Lenihan

For this dive on the Emperor Stern, we did the "circle tour."  We dropped down the same mooring line but instead of going into the engine room, we circled around the stern.  The doors to crew cabins were either missing or open allowing us to pop our heads in to see inside them.  It's surreal to see a shoe sitting there, after all these years, looking like they had just been kicked off by the sailor they belonged to.  Bunks were still there, but the mattress and bedding had long gone.  At the stern, there was an old chadburn telegraph.  On this dive, it was apparent what sitting in water does to a steel structure - the entire back end was beginning to slowly collapse in upon itself.  Continuing around, the kitchen was visible - complete with appliances and assorted kitchen "stuff."  This site was one of our favorites and is one I would really like to get back to someday.  There is so much to see and explore on it - next time, I would like to drop back down into the engine room and explore some of the hallways behind it, assuming it hasn't completely collapsed.

Illustration courtesy of H. Thom McGrath

The second dive we did on the America was even better than the first.  A portion of the pilot house had been dislodged - whether from the sinking, the weather or the ice is hard to tell - and is laying about 50 feet off the stern, upside down.  We went out to see that and circled back around inside near the grand staircase.  This time, we squeezed down into the galley and were able to actually make it all the way back to the stern.  There was also a pantry down there that rocked - huge and tons of shelving!  At this point in the week, I was starting to get cold more quickly than in the beginning of the week.  We decided to call the dive after roughly 40 minutes.

Drawing courtesy of National Park Service, Drawing by Jerry Livingston

Captain Ryan cooking up some fresh caught Lake Trout.

That night we docked again in Windigo Harbor.  After a shower, we sat down to a fantastic meal of spaghetti, freshly caught lake trout, garlic bread, wine (arguable the most important part), and key lime pie for dessert.  We were stuffed!

The sky that night was so clear and the lack of moon made for an incredible view of the milky way.  Aaron was able to get some amazing pictures, but even the best pictures can't do a sky that dark and that clear justice.  I just wish there had been northern lights.  Even after six years in the UP, I still have not managed to see the northern lights.  They are typically more active in the summer months, but as luck would have it, this year is uncharacteristically quiet.  Fantastic.  I was in probably one of the best places on the planet to see them, and they were a no show.  I guess that's just a sign that we will need to go back!