Latest Updates
 

February 16th, 2016

         Late last fall after spending yet more time with Jitka at the library doing research on her recently discovered Alice E. Wilds shipwreck and some possible future sites, I came to the realization that though we’ve done quite a bit of research, we hadn't updated the “Wrecks of Interest” on our Southwest Lake Michigan Shipwreck Project under our current project page. Our original list included 54 wrecks between Kewanee and Chicago. Now, in that same area, we are up to almost 300. Roughly a third have been located and have a confirmed position. The rest we have a rough location, but still need to be discovered. You can view the current list here. As usual, you may have to turn off or modify your pop up blocker. We have also found that you will sometimes need to refresh your screen to see the absolute latest updates.

 
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May 15th, 2015

         WISN 12 contacted Jitka and Shipwreck Explorers about doing a piece titled "Spring Is the Best Time to Check Out Shipwrecks in Lake Michigan". She invited me to join her as Archeologist/Diver. We dove the Milwaukee Carferry and motored over the Appomattox. The production was fun though the diving and weather was a bit chilly.

 
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March 18th, 2014

         We've completely overhauled and updated our Canadian Minesweeper "Kathryn" project. We started by modifying the conglomerate stills to include the 2013 changes. We've also added stills of some of the causes of the deterioration along with the latest stills from our 2013 expedition. As usual, you may have to turn off or modify your pop up blocker. We have also found that you will sometimes need to refresh your screen to see the absolute latest updates.

 
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September 2nd, 2013

         It's been a long time again. We've finally installed some short cuts that will make updating easier. We have cleaned up some loose ends and still have a lot more to go. We have added a new wreck, the "E.M.B.A." to our "Shipwreck Research" section. To see them click on the underwater shot of the wreck. Also you may have to turn off or modify your pop up blocker. We have also found that you will sometimes need to refresh your screen to see the absolute latest updates.

 
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June 13th, 2011

         Dana was doing a report on "The Consequences of Panic" for one of her college classes. She pointed out that there was a large chunk of the "Buying It" story missing in the "Letters To Mom" section. It has been repaired.

 
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June 8th, 2011

         With the success of the "Contact Us" page, we've updated the picture of Dana on the "staff" page, (she was 11 in the old picture, she's now 19.) We've added the "2010 Bonne Terre Expedition" to the "Expeditions Stills and Field Notes" section and underwater stills of two new wrecks "The Mahoning" and the "Grace Channon" to the "Shipwreck Research" page. The day we dove the "Grace Channon" turned out to more interesting then anticipated. Look forward to another good "Letter To Mom" in the works.

 
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May 25th, 2011

         With tentative steps I'm making an attempt to update the web site for the first time in two and a half years. This time using the Mac. Wish me luck. The first change will be to update the "Contact Us" page. I'll try to replace some badly outdated email addresses. And away we go.

 
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October 23rd, 2008

         MPTV, Channel 10 in Milwaukee, will host Captain Jerry Guyer of Pirates Cove and Len-der Charters on their "I Remember" series next week. Jitka and I donated quite a few above and underwater stills for their production. The interview will air on Monday, October 27th at 6:30pm CST on Milwaukee Public Television (Channel 10 and MPTV-HD). The program repeats early Tuesday morning (12:30am CST October 28th) on channel 36. Hopefully you can catch it.

 
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October 1st, 2008

         We've officially added a new member to our "staff". Chuck's daughter, Cheryl Kenth has been an asset to our team for several years. We especially appreciate her many dives and assistance in the Bonne Terre Mine Project. Welcome Cheryl. (I know... it's about time)

 
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September 15th, 2008

         Finally, after taking more time then I thought it would, I have added the "2008 Bonne Terre Mine Expedition" to the "Expedition Stills & Field Notes" Section. Now hopefully I can get some more work done on my shipwreck research.

 
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August 11th, 2008

         Jitka has purchased Bill’s two boats “The Nordic Diver” and the “Molly V”. While putting the Nordic Diver up for sale, she has started a charter business “Shipwreck Explorers” with the Molly V in tribute to Bill. We wish good luck to her and her venture and can’t wait to continue exploring Great Lakes shipwrecks.

 
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July 2nd, 2008

     After shooting some re-enactment photos I finally finished the newest edition to the "Letters To Mom" section called "Consequences Of Panic" about a dive on the Milwaukee Carferry.

 
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May 22nd, 2008

     My sincere condolences to the family and many friends of, Jitka’s beau, Captain Bill Prince of the Nordic Diver charters. Bill suffered a fatal heart attack while undergoing rebreather training with Jitka at Lake Wazee on Tuesday in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. It is not only a loss to us personally but a loss to the Great Lakes diving community as a whole.
     Those who have known the history between Bill and I, have known that because of some misunderstandings there were times we didn’t see eye to eye. Two weeks ago Jitka and Bill came over swimming. After discussing our, now seemingly petty differences, we hoisted some beers, quickly became good friends and made plans to dive together. Now sorrowfully, I can only hope that when it’s my turn to go I can be doing the things I enjoy right up to my last day like Bill.
     On personal reflection, years ago, my grandfather was out cutting down trees for his winter firewood with my uncle. He said he wasn’t feeling well. He left the woods, went into the kitchen, sat in his favorite chair, leaned against the wall and died. My father was fond of saying, “His chainsaw was still warm on the porch.” Years later, when my father was tragically taken in a car accident, I found some comfort in knowing he too enjoyed riding his motorcycle until his last hour.
     Bill died doing something he loved with someone he loved. You can’t ask for more than that. For me personally, I’m sad about losing such a new good friend, but it’s a comfort knowing “ His chainsaw was still warm on the porch.”

Captain Bill Prince

1953 – 2008

“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”

 
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January 13th, 2008

     Jitka thought that I should add to the site a portfolio of some of the places etc, that our stills and videos are used. I whipped this together and as I dig up more I'll add them to the page.

 
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January 11th, 2008

     Still working on the "Latest Updates" upload bug. If you can read this I've got it fixed. I've added underwater stills of the M.F.D. #23 Fireboat to the Shipwreck Research page and continue to edit the small bit of video we shot last summer. I noticed on a clip made in the later part of the year that the Lumberman wreck is continuing to degrade. The fife rail is now lying on the lake bottom and parts of the portside transom have sprung loose and will join the fife rail in no time. New underwater stills are coming.

 
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December 31st, 2007

     O.K. first let's start with the apologies. I was very adamant that after I started this web site I wouldn't let it go un-updated like many of the sites you see on the Internet today. But as you can see that hasn't been the case. My only excuse is the fact that I spent most of the summer working on another project; a two DVD set that has nothing to do with diving. The truth is that I didn't even get in the usual amount of diving much less getting a lot accomplished on our current projects. I did, on the other hand, put in a bit of time doing some dry land shipwreck research, and managed to squeeze in a couple of dives to document a couple of new wrecks (web site posting still pending). Though I was a slacker in my diving this year that didn't stop the rest of the team. Several of our team members completed a variety of advanced training classes and others have pushed their experience far past their previous limits.
     Now back to the web site. I've added two of this year's missions to the site: The 2007 Bonne Terre Mine Expedition and a trip to the Panama wreck in Ontonagon, Michigan. And for those of you that still want 2008 Shipwreck Calendars email me at Drifter@wi.rr.com for more information.
     Again I apologize for letting the web site lapse for so long, I won't let it happen again… smile.

 
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May 16th, 2007

    To shake down some new skills and equipment for the up coming 2007 Bonne Terre Mine Expedition, on April 26th, 2007 Kat and I headed down to South Beloit, Illinois to find a plane we heard about in Pearl Lake. Unfortunately when we got there it was pouring rain. Even though the rain wouldn't affect us much underwater, with maybe the exception of some visibility issues, it would make setting up the cameras and suiting up fairly miserable. Down the road apiece we found a Mom and Pop Restaurant and went in to wait for the rain to lighten up. After two and a half hours of breakfast and coffee, not to mention dive stories for the waitress and of course a large tip, we packed it in and drove home.

          The following weekend we made another attempt and this time the weather cooperated. On our second attempt we found the plane and shot video. After accomplishing this goal, we then worked on some navigation and alternate finning techniques for the up coming trip. I've shown the plane video stills to some aviation enthusiasts that I know and they claim it's a Beechcraft D18. More information and research pending.   Pearl Lake Expedition
 
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April 29th, 2007

While continuing to work out the logistics for our upcoming Bonne Terre Mine Expedition, I've finished another "Letter To Mom" and added it to the site. It's called "Too Deep" about a dive to the Rouse Simmons (The Christmas Tree Ship). I've also dug up a few more articles on the Milwaukee Carferry and added them to the research section. They include:

October 26, 1929 - Estimate Toll at 48 (The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)

October 31, 1929 - 57 Seamen Are Dead (The Oxford Mirror)

March 4, 1930 - Cause of Big Suit (The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)

March 4, 1930 - Relatives Of 16 Victims File (The Sheboygan Press)

July 22, 1958 - Reports Sighting Carferry (The Holland Evening Sentinel)

May 23, 1972 - Diver Bellrichard Locates Carferry (Manitowoc Herald Times)

 
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March 27th, 2007

After working on several small bugs in the web page that showed up unexpectedly, the site is working smoothly now. I didn't realize the fonts I used to create the site weren't standard and though everyone's individual computers are substituting them with something else, I'm working on a download for those who would like to see the site exactly as I intended. I've also added stills from the 2006 Bonne Terre Mine Expedition to update our field work. Previous trips will be added when I can get to them. Our next trip is scheduled for May 18th-20th, 2007.

 
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March 20th, 2007

     The site is going up today. While we wait for my poor computer to upload all these pictures, we are again back in the Jacuzzi drinking Czech beer. I hope you all like it. I’m sure it will take some time to work out all the bugs, but feel free to email me and let me know of any major mistakes you find. Thanks for your patience.
 
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December 15th, 2007

     I finally realized that the site would “never” be done enough, to my satisfaction, to contently post it. After chatting with several people, I decided no matter where I’m at it’s going up on March 20th, 2007. Three days before the Ghost Ships Festival. I’ve got lots to do before then.
 
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April 26th, 2006

     After several weeks of work, Jitka is generally finished with the initial site set up, and following an evening of drinking Czech beer in the Jacuzzi, it’s now up to me to start the tedious task of loading in the video stills and research.
 
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October 10th, 2005

          After a million set backs, time constraints, and excuses we finally started the web site.
 

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August 15th, 2004

     Whenever I dive a shipwreck it’s usually dark and a little creepy, I wanted a name that would reflect that. After careful consideration and research I decided on naming the company Silent Helm (Richter Underwater Productions). I purchased the domain name, some Internet space and loaded in the latest version of Dreamweaver into the computer.

 
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February 18th, 2003

     After spending roughly a year assisting in updating the Nitrox Plus web site owned and operated by Gert Grohmann & Julie Vance, the site ended its’ run and was closed. What to do with my wreck pictures and research? They made a brief appearance on Jerry Guyer’s Pirates Cove site before I came up with the idea of starting my own company and web site. I solicited first the assistance of Jitka Hanakova to put it together then I pulled together friends and family for the rest. I give Jitka a lot of credit for her patience with my slower then average web site learning curve, along with her magic at making the web site look almost exactly like the initial drawings I put together.