Emmy-Award-winning underwater cameraman, photographer and technical diver Becky Kagan Schott spent time diving Lake Michigan shipwrecks in July, and visited vessels resting near Two Rivers.
“I really enjoyed diving this shipwreck. As we descended to it almost the entire wreck came into view in 210 feet of water. It sank full of cargo and 400 boxes of fish, 90 tons of pig iron and barrels of apples and potatoes (you can see barrels in the images). We penetrated the wreck to see the bunks and cabins, then the engine room. The Steamer Vernon was narrow and built in 1886 to carry passengers and freight. It could travel up to 15mph which was fast for its time but being so narrow and having a deep draft caused it to become unstable when carrying a full cargo at that speed. It sank in 1887 with almost 50 lives lost when it was swamped with water in a violent storm. There was only one survivor. Diving the Vernon is like visiting a time capsule. Seeing the cargo, bunks, engine, anchors on the bow, massive rudder and scroll work is very special.”
The rudder of the Vernon:
The doorway to the cabin, with bunk beds beyond:
The Rouse Simmons (the Christmas Tree Ship):
“The Rouse Simmons, also knows as the Christmas Tree Ship was a three-masted 124-foot-long schooner famous for having sunk carrying a large cargo of Christmas trees bound for Chicago. It foundered in 1912 off Two Rivers, Wisconsin in a violent storm. No one survived the shipwreck. It now sits upright in 160 feet of water preserved in time. Most of the trees look like sticks. The water was 38f on the bottom and visibility was probably over 100 feet.”