Teach Me About the Great Lakes

A deep dive with Stephanie Gandulla and Megan Gass about SCUBA in the Great Lakes, the Big Five Dive, and where to go to see lots of shipwrecks. Plus, vomiting.

Show Notes

People apparently dive all 5 Great Lakes in one day. We spoke with a couple of them.

Show links:

Creators & Guests

Stuart Carlton
Stuart Carlton is the Assistant Director of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program. He manages the day-to-day operation of IISG and works with the IISG Director and staff to coordinate all aspects of the program. He is also a Research Assistant Professor and head of the Coastal and Great Lakes Social Science Lab in the Department of Forestry & Natural Resources at Purdue, where he and his students research the relationship between knowledge, values, trust, and behavior in complex or controversial environmental systems.

What is Teach Me About the Great Lakes?

A monthly podcast in which Stuart Carlton (a native New Orleanian) asks smart people to teach him about the Great Lakes. Co-hosted by the awesome staff at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.

This is an automated transcript; we apologize for any errors. If you notice any problems, please email the show at teachmeaboutthegreatlakes@gmail.com. Thank you.

Stuart Carlton 0:00
Hey everybody, this is Stuart, I am here with a disclaimer because I haven't disclaimed in, I don't know, two episodes, four episodes. Whatever disclaimer, here it is. If you notice Today's date is July 20, assuming I get this out on time, not the first Monday of the month. That is because we're having a minor scheduling change with teach me about the Great Lakes. And that change is basically good news. We're going to continue to put out a great episode of TV about the great lakes on the first Monday of every month. But now we're also going to try to periodically not every month, maybe not every most months, but at least some months, also put out an episode on the third Monday of the month. And so if my math is correct, July 20 is the third Monday of the month. And so we have a really fun episode scheduled for you. And I hope you enjoy it. As always, thanks for listening, and we will see you every first Monday and some third Mondays of the month. Thanks, bye. Teach me about the Great Lakes. Teach me about the Great Lakes. Welcome back to teach me about the Great Lakes and exactly monthly podcast in which I get people who are smarter and harder working than I am to teach me all about the Great Lakes. My name is Stuart Carlton, I work with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and I don't know much about the Great Lakes. But I do know this I am really, really lucky this month to be joined by Megan gun, one of the newest Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant employees. Megan, how are you?

Megan Gunn 1:24
I'm good. How are you? Stuart?

Stuart Carlton 1:26
I am great. We're so glad to have you aboard for numerous reasons. But the main reason I'll be honest, is because you have a bit of diving experience, don't you?

Megan Gunn 1:35
I do have some diving experience. And it's been a journey over these last 10 years.

Stuart Carlton 1:40
Why can we dive into your journey. But the reason that's so relevant this time is because we have a couple of folks who have dived dove driven. We have some folks who have duvet across the Great Lakes. And my understanding is they do this thing called like a big five dive that I'm really curious to hear a little bit about. But before we do, let's do a little bit of a theme music and we'll go from there.

Okay, our guests today are Megan goddess and Stephanie gundula. Megan works with Michigan secret where she's an extension educator somewhere in the thumb region, I believe Saginaw Bay, and Stephanie, you are a marine archaeologist. Is that right? That is right at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Now, before we even get into diving in the Big Five dive and everything like that, I want to talk about this for a minute because that is the coolest sounding thing I've ever heard, both in terms of job title and in terms of the sanctuary. So let's start with that. What is a marine archaeologist? Exactly?

Stephanie Gandulla 2:51
Well, it's one of my favorite questions, because a marine archaeologist, goes by many names. We are also known as underwater archaeologists, maritime archaeologists, and I would say maritime might be my favorite and the most fitting, because what we study is anything and all things made by humans that are connected to the water. And as we all know, living and working here in the Great Lakes, all things really are connected to the water. So what we focus on are what we call the maritime landscape. So that's lighthouses that historic fishing villages. Primarily, though, for me working in Noah's Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It's shipwrecks. We have hundreds and hundreds of shipwrecks.

Stuart Carlton 3:35
Really? I had no idea. So maritime archaeologists who prefer over marine or let me write this down because I forget, I

Stephanie Gandulla 3:42
really go all over that. You know, it depends where I'm at. It depends on my mood. Because Marine, as we know, marine generally refers to the ocean ecosystems. So I could be a lack of Strean archaeologists as well, of being in the lakes. So underwater, actually, probably now that I'm changing my mind as we're speaking here, because I said I prefer maritime I'm switching mid sentence. Now I like underwater because I think it that's the most accessible people know as soon as you say underwater, they can visualize Hey, that person's working underwater studying a shipwreck even studying a submerged you know, Lighthouse base or something. So,

Stuart Carlton 4:20
I suppose an archaeologist does like your bullwhip, work underwater. Do you have to use something different?

Stephanie Gandulla 4:24
Absolutely. I've tried that underwater. It works and the hat perfect underwater.

Stuart Carlton 4:28
Just gonna be made on a wall so it keeps you warm. Yeah. Okay. And so, Thunder Bay, where is where is that? Exactly?

Stephanie Gandulla 4:35
Thunder Bay is nestled in the northwest corner of Lake Huron. So we're based Our headquarters is based in Alpena, Michigan, which is in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula Peninsula of Michigan. And so we're about four and a half hours north of Detroit. And the marine sanctuary is part of as part of NOAA. So we're all colleagues here, right seeker. ant National Marine Sanctuary system. And there are actually 14 National Marine Sanctuaries across the entire US. We're very Yeah, 14, all the way from the West Coast, to the east coast from Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts to the Florida Keys. There's even one south of the equator in American Samoa. But in Thunder Bay, we're really excited to be the only freshwater National Marine Sanctuary. But we're the only one for probably just a little bit longer because Thunder Bay has inspired grassroots efforts for other national marine sanctuaries across the Great Lakes. So stay tuned for one pretty soon coming up in Lake Michigan,

Stuart Carlton 5:41
Lake Michigan. Oh, I'm very staying tuned for that. That's very exciting. Quick update for our viewers, our other guests. Megan Goss is having some technical difficulties. So she's gonna be jumping in and the second, I don't want you to think I'm unbelievably rude and have been ignoring her. I may or may not be unbelievably rude, but I'm not ignoring her. So So shipwrecks so that it's so up there, and there's a lot of ship traffic, I guess. Are these like old shipwrecks like pirate ship type things, or is it newer?

Stephanie Gandulla 6:07
So we the shipwrecks that we study the shipwrecks that are in federal aid and keep in mind, there are probably anywhere from 6000 to over 10,000 shipwrecks in all the Great Lakes. What isn't that crazy? Yeah. So it's, it's always been a very busy waterway. That's the easiest, most efficient way to transport goods, which is what humans have done since beginning of time they want to move things from one place to another. So you might use a birch bark canoe or dugout canoe. And today we use huge, huge freighters that we see work in the Great Lakes. So it's always been a natural highway and where we are in the Great Lakes if you if you look at a map of the Great Lakes, Thunder Bay, and now Pina is smack dab in the middle. So just like you said, it's kind of an intersection of high traffic. So many of the shipwrecks that are in Thunder Bay are the victim of collisions. So just you know, interstate you got two wooden schooners scooting along one going up when going down it's foggy crash and then at the bottom of the lake and now are an amazing dive site.

Megan Gunn 7:12
I had no idea Yeah,

Stuart Carlton 7:13
I didn't either. That's so I was driving I've been to the Upper Peninsula twice I think once or twice and so to the one time we drove on that bridge, the Mighty Mac is that what it is Big Mac what's

Stephanie Gandulla 7:24
Yeah, call it all those things at the Mackinac Bridge. I wish I should have know when it was finally completed or a 1954 I think so that connects the lower peninsula to the Upper Peninsula. And you've you've got on the if you're if you're looking north and heading north over the bridge, if you look to the to the right, you've got Lake Huron. If you look to the left, you've got Lake Michigan, but they're truly really one big lake.

Stuart Carlton 7:48
Here's my question. I used to live in St. Pete Florida, which has a huge bridge called the Sunshine Skyway, but this is the second Sunshine Skyway because a big boat hit it a barge did I don't remember when quite some time ago, but now whatever I used to drive over the Sunshine Skyway, which is huge. No, I don't know anything about bridges. It's a big suspension bridge or something. I'd like paranoid like I see a barge and I'm like, oh, go go, go, go go. Are there any shipwrecks? Like right by the Mighty Mac itself?

Stephanie Gandulla 8:15
Definitely, definitely not. The bridge is super high. I think it's at least 150 feet above the water level. So I don't think any vessels are going to hit it. But they do go through it and under it all the time, a huge freighters and since that was, you know, one of the main thoroughfares for ship traffic. There's some amazing shipwrecks in the Straits of Makena. Most of those, however, are pretty darn deep, like anywhere from say 80 to 200 feet plus deep. So that's where your, your technical divers are going to be exploring. But what's cool about Thunder Bay is and Megan Gasman, when she joins us can testify as a lot of the shipwrecks many of the shipwrecks are accessible snorkeling or paddling you can take a look down in the water so crystal clear because of the muscle invasive muscles, you can you can see the you can see the shipwrecks from the surface. It's amazing. Well, I

Megan Gunn 9:13
know where my next vacation is gonna be good.

Stuart Carlton 9:16
Yeah, that's interesting that water clarity is making a big difference on last episode, teach me about the Great Lakes episode number 13, which you can of course access it teach me about the great lakes.com/thirteen We spoke with Bryan Roth, who is a fish guy. But we talked a little bit about how clean the water is, thanks to the muscles and some might even argue to clean but one nice benefit of that is it makes for good diving. So what is so what is the depth at which you normally do your die? I know nothing about diving. I've snorkeled once, twice, maybe. And but I've never had a self contained underwater breathing apparatus attached to me. And so what? Like what are the depths at which you dive in the Great Lakes.

Stephanie Gandulla 9:56
Truly anything from? Well, the shallows point The deepest point and you guys know these things, you know, those points as well. The deepest point in Lake Huron is 750 feet. But you ask them the deepest, you know, where I dive, so most of my work is going to be between eight feet. And 130 feet. Okay.

Stuart Carlton 10:19
And are those impressive levels? I mean, of course, it's impressive, but I mean, I mean, like, like, Is that a challenge? Is the depth itself challenging at 130? Or is it? Is it kind of normal for divers?

Stephanie Gandulla 10:30
Oh, well, that's a great question, I guess. So if you when you decide to take the the step to become a certified diver, like like Megan, and Megan, your your first step is certified to 60 feet. And that requires training and study and dives. Not a lot a lot. But definitely, it's a commitment. And then the next level up would be our level down, we should say would be 130. And then there's you could just keep your training going and going to deeper and deeper depths. Of course, that requires more technical training, because there's more technology involved and getting regular old humans to that pressure underwater.

Megan Gunn 11:10
How many different certifications do you have? Oh, gosh, I

Stephanie Gandulla 11:13
have? That's a great question. I have an they're not all based on depth, right. So I'm a dive instructor. So I've that's a certification. I'm a ice diver

Megan Gunn 11:26
school, that it's

Stephanie Gandulla 11:27
very cool.

Stuart Carlton 11:30
I've already learned I spoke to divers like twice and they're there. Their love of diving ponds is unlimited. There's no, there's no, it's as deep as it can go. That was about one. I'll keep picking. Alright. Yeah, that was more of a shipwreck than a dive plan. Okay. Anyway, so you got that? Right. So

Stephanie Gandulla 11:47
I've got lots of different ones. For my job. I'm a NOAA scientific diver. So that's a kind of a branch off from, you know, your recreational type of diving. So that's

Megan Gunn 11:58
that certification.

Stephanie Gandulla 12:01
Well, we actually just recently did a cool webinar with the NOAA dive center. And that is based out in Seattle, Washington, and they have a full amazing campus there where you were NOAA scientists go and learn how to, if they don't already know how to scuba dive and learn how to scuba dive, if they already know then they just ramp up their training and learn how to collect data underwater, how to be safe while doing science underwater, because when you first start out as a diver, you're you're focused as you should be on the act of diving and making sure you're doing all those things. Right and, and your gears configured. Right? So when you add another level of oh, let's say we're going to document a shipwreck, or we're going to collect invasive mussels, or we're going to you know, measure fish bio habitats there we get into betraying my lack of biological knowledge. We archaeologists call it bio clutter, you're going to go measure some bio clutter underwater. You're adding you're adding tasks. You don't want to you need the training. So you can do that comfortably and safely. That makes sense. Yeah.

Stuart Carlton 13:08
So making gun it's just started with us. And she's already plotting her next job.

Megan Gunn 13:15
Just adding it on.

Stephanie Gandulla 13:17
So Megan, you're you're a diver as well, Megan.

Megan Gunn 13:20
I've been diving, I got certified. And yes, I did my open water dives in 2010. Oh, great. And I started my certification process in 2009. Back when Purdue had a scuba club, that was last year that they were actually actually active, but their their goal was to get students certified, and then also get them doing a lot of dives. And at that point in my life, I want it to be a marine biologist. And I was like, I'm gonna need to do this for my career. So why not get certified now when it's a little bit cheaper because we're, we're students and it was definitely worth it.

Stephanie Gandulla 13:54
So where have you Where have you done

Megan Gunn 13:58
a lot in the Wabash River? I've done a lot of scientific diving, I guess, in the sense of science for science. I've been diving down in Florida. I teach a marine biology practicum course. So hands on marine science course. And every trip we go on down there I go on some diets. I went on a fossil dive a few years ago, and that was a lot of fun.

Stuart Carlton 14:23
So when you go on these trips, do you like to have to bring your own scoop of stuff or is it a rental kind of thing.

Megan Gunn 14:29
I bring my own wetsuit mask snorkel, because you germs like I bring I bring these challenging my personal items, but they're like, I'll usually rent a a scuba tank, because it's a little it's a little weighty to be carrying around.

Stuart Carlton 14:49
So that's interesting, but Megan, you have left out your coolest and most important dive that you have done and that is you have rescued one of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant famous yellow boo least

Megan Gunn 15:00
we went on to save the Save the buoy expedition a few years ago and I was looking up the dates I thought it was like maybe a couple of years ago it was in 2016. Because clearly it doesn't it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. But I can tell you the story if you want to know the story, insane, okay, so I've been working with Jay Begley who is he's, he's the buoy guy. So he, he, he retrieves the buoy he deploys the buoys to work on maintenance. I've been working with him since 2009. So he's like, he's like my work best buddy. And he knows that I get really seasick when I when I'm on the waves. And so he never asked me to do anything on Lake Michigan. And when he asked me to go out with him this trip, I knew that like, I was just last resort. So I was like, Okay, I'll go, it's fine. And so we, we got everything together, and we're headed up there took my Dramamine that morning, and it was a couple hour drive. And we got out to where we were gonna go. And there were two other divers on the boat. And I was going to be the last one to go in. So I'm waiting for them to go down. And I really don't know what was happening. I was just trying to keep myself level. And I was like, listen, Jay, don't worry, but I'm about to puke. And so I went over to the side of the boat I hurled and was like, okay, so yeah, he was like, I think you should probably did this. I was like, No, this is your third trip up here. You don't want to have to make another four or five hour trip just to get up here. I'm gonna go down. And it turns out there signs everywhere that says, Don't fish around here don't like don't play around the buoy. And somebody use some kind of fishing line. There was it was made out of metal and it was just wrapped in wrapped or wrapped wrapped around the bottom of the the buoy. And so when they went on hook it they couldn't unhook it. So I went down there. It was it was three of us still but there were there were some issues with the other divers so I was just kind of unhooking and, and cutting through all this line to free the buoy. And we got it out.

Stuart Carlton 17:10
Real video. I think we I think we included it as a link once I'll put it again in the show notes for this episode, but you can find it teach me about the great lakes.com/fourteen one, four. But so you're down there. And that's post having hurled, I guess, yes.

Megan Gunn 17:27
And it was, it was it was so clear. I've never been on a diet that was like, it was so clear, but there was nothing I didn't see any fish. You couldn't see any debris. It was just, it felt like I could see for miles, which probably wasn't that far in back in, like in reality, but it was so cool. It was tough. And it was it was cold. And so I had on like 10 millimeters worth a wetsuit I had on a hood. When we're diving in the Wabash, it's not that cold. So I just go in with my assumption in a T shirt or something. But it was called

Stuart Carlton 18:05
is that just a deal? Like the cold? Is it ever warm diving in the Great Lakes? Or is it just because you know, I'm from the south. And so I think of like these tropical, you know, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean locations or semi tropical. Anyway, the point is, I think of warm. Is that not the case? Is there no warm diving in the Great Lakes?

Stephanie Gandulla 18:23
I will say it's always it's relative. Really, you know, we'd like

Stuart Carlton 18:27
to say it's cold.

Stephanie Gandulla 18:30
No, we'd like to say there's no such thing as cold water only inappropriate exposure protection. Right. But it you know, I was in Lake Huron about I was snorkeling around so only went about 15 feet deep and it was 63 degrees, it was pretty warm. So that's not so bad. But you know, when you go a little bit deeper, it doesn't take long I dove down to that 15 foot level. And as soon as you feel the thermocline right where the water changes temperature and it can hit you like a like a brick wall. So it gets pretty cold pretty fast. But the water can be pretty warm.

Stuart Carlton 19:10
I don't believe you. It's all over it. You're exactly right. It's all it's all relative. I was thinking about that. Okay, well, we're glad another Megan is hopefully fought through Megan gods. We have too many mega G's on the show. Now that Megan God says Come on. Megan. Hello. Tell us a little bit about you where you work and when you got started diving.

Megan Gass 19:31
Yes, hello, Stuart and Hello, the other Megan. So I also work for the Sea Grant Program, but I work for the Michigan secret program. So I serve as a Sea Grant Extension Educator out of the Saginaw Bay region of Michigan, which is the largest watershed in Michigan if you didn't know that. There's over 7000 miles of rivers and streams in the Saginaw Bay watershed. But I serve in the Saginaw Bay region, helping connect communities resources to enhance their sustainable development in connection with the Great Lakes and I do a lot of work around community resilience, play space education, and also do some sustainable fisheries work. So doing what I can to help Saginaw Bay and I got into diving through Stephanie, when I used to work for the Northeast Michigan, Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and was housed out of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Michigan back in 2015.

Stuart Carlton 20:28
Excellent, so you've been diving for about five years now then. So are you certified? So I'm worried about all these certifications. And Stephanie was listing hers and then I think I caught her off to make a stupid joke. So I apologize for that. So do you have like numerous dive certifications as well? Or is it just like a are you a single cert kind of kind of woman?

Megan Gass 20:46
I have a couple of certifications. But I am very much on I'm a baby diver, as we say. So I have the patty dive a PADI certification for recreational diving up to 60 feet. And then I have additional night diving certification, which is through Patti as well.

Megan Gunn 21:08
Have you been night diving in the Great Lakes?

Megan Gass 21:11
I have. And that was what we did as a part that was part of our training for the Big Five dive. So I think, three of our five dives.

Stuart Carlton 21:21
We'll see Frozen. Yep, she's leaving us in suspense. That's okay.

Stephanie Gandulla 21:26
That is suspenseful. Yes.

Stuart Carlton 21:27
Three of our five somethings, I assume five times. So she's actually gonna start talking about I think she wants to talk about this idea of the Big Five dive. So I had not heard about this until we were talking to Megan Goss few months ago about something and I think if you do a big five dive, you just kind of tend to bring it up in conversation. It's like, CrossFit, or whatever you just mentioned. And so

Stephanie Gandulla 21:54
I think you're right, that's hilarious. Comparison. I love it.

Stuart Carlton 21:57
So Stephanie told me about the Big Five dive.

Stephanie Gandulla 22:01
Yeah, so the big five dive was a concept to scuba dive all five great lakes in less than 24 hours. Wow. Yeah. So yeah, as you guys know, that's a vast, vast area to cover. Doesn't matter what you're doing. And we've we've known people, colleagues that my the person who's certified me as a dive instructor, has been doing it with his dive club every other year since the early 90s. And people do these challenges. People like these themed challenges, right? So we've we know folks that have sailed all five with Great Lakes who have snorkeled, who have drove Of course, and so just it was just another way to to connect communities to what we're doing. And to really like Megan gace, was talking about her job, her main job is and your guys your main job and Sea Grant offices is to connect people to the resources. And we thought that would be a pretty compelling way.

Stuart Carlton 22:58
That's fascinating. And so I'm really the logistics of this kind of blow my mind, how long do you have so far to count as a big five dive, there's got to be some minimum standard for like, wetness, right? Like, so you can't go like this or some depth, you have to get ers and once you're submerged. If you take one puff from your scuba unit, then it counts.

Stephanie Gandulla 23:18
So we came up with it, you know, it's up to the individual group doing it, you know, we're there's no big five dive official, official, right, that's making sure you check off the list. So we just designed our own protocols. And what we decided and people do different different things. Some folks like to do it under cover of night. Some folks like to do it with lots of publicity and involve the communities. So our rules were, you had to the dot scuba dive, the dive itself had to be 10 minutes. And that was pretty much it. We really didn't have much and some people ended up snorkeling part of part of it, which is fine. I mean, snorkeling isn't scuba diving, but it is a type of diving into the water. And we had a big group of people so that, you know, it really ran the gamut. We were pretty flexible. We did limit it to shore dives because of just it takes time to get in a boat and trailer boat and all that. So to keep it even more simple. We just did shore dives. That's what's cool about diving in the Great Lakes is there's, like I said before so many shipwrecks that are static accessible. They can just hop in and snorkel

Stuart Carlton 24:31
short dive or a 10 minute drive and you drive on to the next great lake like yeah, so how many of the 24 hours how many hours like what's the quickest? You can do a reasonable Big Five dive in, do you think

Stephanie Gandulla 24:41
well are we had some other colleagues at the sanctuary that did it way quicker than we did? They did it and I think 16 and a half hours. We did it in 22 and a half hours so we were cutting that kind of close. That's why we're making when she left us she was gonna save three of our five dives were at night with And only two of them were supposed to be. But since the very last one ended up being a nightmare I've when it

Stuart Carlton 25:06
from both ends, didn't you? We did. We did. We started

Stephanie Gandulla 25:09
at midnight and ended at 1030. At night, we were on the shores and Lake Superior when the clock struck midnight jumped in.

Megan Gunn 25:17
So cool.

Stuart Carlton 25:20
This just occurred. Was there like a slogan for the Are y'all looking for a slogan?

Stephanie Gandulla 25:24
Yes, sure. Okay. Always

Stuart Carlton 25:27
the Big Five Guys. It's a B, F. D. I think that's it.

Unknown Speaker 25:31
Oh, that's brilliant.

Stuart Carlton 25:36
Anyway, so Alright, so you're ready to dive in? And is there like a place to log this? I want to go to a website and see all the people have done this. Is there one or No, it'd be so

Stephanie Gandulla 25:44
cool. That would be cool. We should have started when a lot of people are kind of protective of their sites. We are the opposite. And I we have a good friend who's a documentarian, a filmmaker, award winning filmmaker, and she made a movie about ours our adventure. So it's nice to have those kinds of friends. Right. And in fact, her film, the Big Five dive traveled to 19 different film festivals around the US won some awards. So yeah, and it's a short film, it's only 20 minutes long, we can definitely send you the link to that, because it's it's now that it's done the Film Fest circuit, it's available for everybody to watch online. But others, you know, yeah, we had a hard time researching different sites to go to. I mean, we knew the ones in our area, but that's only Lake Huron. So that's one out of five. So we had to

Stuart Carlton 26:34
don't want to just like get it, you don't want to just do it. You want to do it. Right. Right. You want to see something?

Stephanie Gandulla 26:38
Right? Like, yeah, well, that oh, sorry. That was another goal. We definitely wanted to visit historic site. Okay. So visit diverse shipwreck, right? So that made it definitely the logistics more complicated, because even though there are 1000s and 1000s of shipwrecks, you're not just going to stroll in and Hatton by one you do have to know where where they are. So that involves talking to the communities a lot. And our final,

Megan Gunn 27:02
your goal with a diverse shipwreck that was close to the shore. So you can show that how many of those are there? At least five, right,

Stephanie Gandulla 27:10
at least, except for our last one in Lake Ontario, which I mean, because each of the lakes are different, of course. And our last one was an historic hotel dock. So we couldn't easily if we kept going, we probably could have found something in Lake Ontario. But we couldn't easily find a shallow shipwreck site that was on the American side, because we didn't want to be held up in customs or anything. Even though Canadian diving is beautiful. So we we ended up doing the historic hotel dock, which is awesome. off the shores of Lake Ontario there. But the rest were definitely shipwrecks and you asked how many? And I will say, I know Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary best and we have probably a dozen shipwrecks that I could point you to right now. If you're open up Pina, that you could go and spend the afternoon exploring, you know, an 1877 wooden schooner or a 1905 big wooden freighter, which only about 15 feet deep off the shores of wow, it's one of my favorite shallow dive sites. And it's actually featured in the Big Five dive that was our stop because it's such a pretty landscape there. There's the big beautiful lighthouse. There's a freighter wheelhouse on the beach, Big Sandy Beach, less beach now, of course, but then the shipwreck just out there and the marine sanctuary maintains a mooring buoy on the shipwreck. So it's easy to find. So you swim out your paddle out, tie your kayak up, tie up your your stand up paddleboard and explore the shipwreck.

Stuart Carlton 28:43
That is, yeah, if you could, or these things were like their websites we can explore for a shallow dive. Oh, yeah, we'll definitely put some links to those in the show notes. Because you've got me interested in this and I, I'm concerned about the cold, but this still sounds pretty cool.

Stephanie Gandulla 28:56
Well, if Stuart, if you're concerned about the cold, we could keep you warm. There's the Friends of the National Marine Sanctuary, operate a glass bottom boat, and you could go out and see the shallow shipwrecks that way and you don't even have to get wet. They're worried about being cold.

Stuart Carlton 29:11
drop my kids off the side and they can go they don't care. Back we have one of these like kiddie pools, we have an above ground pool, which I never thought I'd have. Because it's I'm from the city. But we have an aboveground pool because that's what our income supports and what they come in and they have like blue lips. And but they don't care. So I am totally in for this basically. Let's see. And Meghan Goss is back, which is great. And we apologize for technical difficulty she has been having we're just gonna have to have you back on Megan. That's the only solution here is that we'll have to be on twice maybe three times.

Megan Gass 29:47
But hopefully by the third time the internet will work so All right,

Stuart Carlton 29:50
you've convinced me I'm all excited Big Five dive Megan guys you did a B five dive too. Is that right?

Megan Gunn 29:56
Yes, I did. I

Megan Gass 29:57
participated in the Big Five dive Okay.

Stuart Carlton 29:59
Have you done? What is this a thing where you tried to do one every year more? No, no,

Megan Gass 30:05
I did one and I think that's enough. Okay. But it was a lot of fun. And I definitely am open to a lot more diving adventures. Okay, I just I guess for me, the big dive experience really was telling for how much I need sleep. And how if I don't have sleep, I am not a nice person to be around.

Stuart Carlton 30:27
Okay, good to know, since we run in the same professional circles, how do I so if I want to if I want to get started diving, I'm gonna do the glass bottom boat love it. Did that in Silver Springs, Florida. They have a glass bottom boat there where you can see like, they've just really beautiful Clear Springs. And they filmed a James Bond movie there. So that's cool. All right, and then I'm going to do some snorkeling. And I'll keep myself warm by the glass bottom boat and maybe when you pee in your wetsuit, does that make it warmer? Not? Absolutely. Okay. All right. I'll drink a lot for them. And but then I want to get into the actual scuba diving, what? What do I even need to do? Where do I go? How long does it take? Like, I'm fired up? I want to do it this summer. Is that even on the table or? No?

Stephanie Gandulla 31:10
It is. And I'll since Megan has not been with us very long. I'll let her talk about her experience. But it absolutely is we could get you certified. And in a week. Stuart. If you're ready, Megan, you want to share your experience doing it?

Megan Gass 31:22
Yeah, so I like I shared earlier I got certified up near El Pina. So I started diving on some inland lakes, which are definitely really cool and worth exploring. And we'll have to talk about inland lakes later and night diving with mud puppies. But I started diving in those inland lakes first. And that was really helpful before going out into the open water. And I guess once a couple things I would say so my first diving experience was also my first snorkeling experience. So I was very overwhelmed. So I would try to like go snorkeling first if you can, and then then try diving, just so you're a little bit more adjusted, but I'm originally from Southern Illinois. So when I moved up to El Pina, I was just blown away by the Great Lakes and I really wanted to explore but was definitely taking the deep dive as opposed to just slowly going into the water. But what's nice when you get certified with a local agency, you can spread out your dive certification and your practices over the span of a longer period of time. If you're getting certified while on a vacation at like a resort for instance, you're really confined to a shorter period of time. So for my certification, it was over a month of classes along with like dive experiences of going out both in the inland lakes and then also out into the open water in Lake Huron. And we also had some training materials through Paddy and a certification tests that you needed to take as well in order to be certified and make sure that you understand how you can be keep yourself safe as a diver and how you can help keep others safe because when you're diving, you should always have the dive buddy with you so Stuart I guess that's another thing. You need to find your dive buddy.

Stuart Carlton 33:05
It's really unlikely that anybody wants to meet my buddy so people keep talking about this Patty woman who is she haha. Now what is Patty? We've heard it mentioned a couple of times. Is this like a diving organization? Or?

Megan Gass 33:17
Yes, it is. It's the professional association for dive instruction.

Stephanie Gandulla 33:23
Is that right? Dive instructors? Yeah, instructors?

Stuart Carlton 33:26
Yes. Okay. Go ahead.

Megan Gass 33:30
It's one of many dive certification groups. So there's also now we as Stephanie, you probably know more about these dive certification organizations than I do. Consider you do this professionally. So

Stephanie Gandulla 33:43
yeah, so patty is the world's largest certifying agency for scuba diving. It's which is pretty cool because they've been doing it for decades and decades and they really have the educational part of it down. If you're PADI certified you know you can go anywhere in the world show your certification card known as a seat card, and they'll your is recognized and it's Patty's pretty incredible. That way. They have some great resources and just circling back to the Big Five dive. That was part we didn't talk about the the why behind the Big Five dive, which was to celebrate Patti women's dive day, which is an annual event to recognize women in diving, you know, the women that are diving now that are doing it professionally, that are doing it recreationally, but also to inspire women to get into diving as for fun or for a career and head to the NOAA dive center like Megan Gunn is considering now. Because only 34% of divers are women currently so

Stuart Carlton 34:50
and so women's type thing is coming up. Is that right?

Megan Gass 34:52
Yes, it is. It's going to be here on the 18th of July. So it's usually on a Saturday of every month or Not every month, but every July.

Stuart Carlton 35:02
So those of you who are oh, let me redo that. We won't actually redo it. But also that just happened two days ago, didn't it? This episode will come out on the 20th of July.

Megan Gunn 35:16
Yeah, we have so much. Have either of you been on a dive on women's dive day?

Stephanie Gandulla 35:22
So that was the big five dive. Okay. Yeah. And then okay, we did. Just a couple days ago, we we had a big group of people scuba diving and snorkeling at the Joseph S fe, which is one of Megan gases favorite sites. So

Megan Gass 35:39
that's a another site you can explore from Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and it is accessible by the shore. And then it also has, like along the shoreline there, depending on the water levels that you're you may be able to see remnants of the FE the Joseph is Fe along the shoreline. And then there's also a lighthouse as well at the site. So it really could connect it on so many people. And that is a site that you can also snorkel on over the top. So in depending on clarity, you can see down pretty well the bottom because it's not very deep. Is it Stephanie?

Stephanie Gandulla 36:13
That's about 17 feet deep 15 to 17. But it's massive. It's a huge wreck for being so shallow. It's like to over 200 feet long wooden rack sank in a storm in 1905. Oh, wow.

Megan Gunn 36:26
So I know I said that this is where my next vacation was going to be. But is there any special permits that we need to have to go and sample or is it just open to the public to go diving

Stephanie Gandulla 36:37
in the marine sanctuary is in the state of Michigan waters? It is historic sites are open to visitors. Of course, there's state of Michigan laws that prohibit disrupting, disturbing removing anything from a historic site. But you're Yep, you're welcome to visit them. In fact, we maintain mooring buoys on over 40 of the shipwreck sites. And that just you know, lots of reasons to do that. It makes it easier to find because you see that more and move floating on the water, you don't have to worry too much about the coordinates to locate it. And it also protects the shipwreck site because you tight tie your dive boat up to the mooring buoy, tie your tie your kayak up. And then you don't have to drop anchor and potentially damage the shipwreck site.

Stuart Carlton 37:21
Oh, it didn't even occur to me. Of course, there's a lot of that consideration because these are beautiful historical artifacts, right? But a lot of times, there's probably just a whole cavalcade of laws and best practices and things like that you have to be thoughtful about what about speaking of it, we're actually recording this on a Canada Day, I am told by highly placed sources within Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. And so like it's their considerations for you know, when you get over into Canadian waters or something like can you launch from the US and then swim over to Canada to dive or is it? I don't know how that works in the Great Lakes?

Stephanie Gandulla 37:52
Well, you'd have to be one heck of a swimmer, I guess. So you can. So there are different regulations for diving historic sites in Canada. And it depends on the site, of course, because a lot of these sites are our grave sites. And of course, and accessibility in different is different across states accessibility and restrictions to historic sites are different across states across countries across waters all around the world. So it's always best to check in with local authorities. But there is an amazing national park across just across Lake Huron from Thunder Bay without like a sister sanctuary Fathom Five National Park where they have very similar recreational opportunities for shipwreck explorers. Because

Stuart Carlton 38:41
these are treasures, right? That these are I mean, like at this point, ecological but also historical, and cultural treasures that are worth protecting, over time and worth treating with with care. But also it sounds like worth seeing.

Megan Gass 38:53
The water also acts kind of like a freshwater museum. I don't know if Stephanie shared that earlier. So the freshwater helps to preserve these shipwrecks. So they, with the exception of what we're seeing with the zebra and quagga mussels and their impacts on the shipwrecks, but overall, these the freshwater is really it's helping to preserve the shipwrecks so it kind of serves as like underwater museums. So it's really important to leave any artifacts at the sites because of that reason, because they're going to be better preserved at in the lake than they would be on land. That's awesome.

Stuart Carlton 39:29
Interesting. Well, this is fascinating. I'm really actually excited I not going to get dive certified this summer. I'll be honest, I've got three kids. But But I think the idea of taking some sort of a boat tour or something like that, or finding a way in this, this actually we talked about this offline, but this is a fairly safe hobby, I think during a pandemic time, right, and that you can be relatively distant with each other and the viruses are going to shoot through the lake at your dive buddy or whatever. So it seems like a hobby for our times. That's actually not why we invited you here on teach me about the Great Lakes. The reason we invited you here is to ask you the following two questions, which I think are more interesting and important than diving. First is this. If you could choose to have a great donut for breakfast or a great sandwich for lunch, which would you choose?

Megan Gass 40:17
Sandwich and it would be a Muffaletta for sure. Wow, I really want to make one right now.

Stuart Carlton 40:23
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Now you're getting into my neck of the woods. Where do you have a good Muffaletta?

Megan Gass 40:28
I don't have any good ones near me. But every time I go down to New Orleans, that's like the first thing I get is

Stuart Carlton 40:34
grocery. Oh, very good. Well, this is already the greatest episode of this podcast, and it's brief history. Stephanie,

Megan Gunn 40:41
what what is a Muffaletta?

Stuart Carlton 40:43
Oh, that's a little style sandwich. It's really salty. And it's a classic. I don't even know what it is. Because I've never

Stephanie Gandulla 40:50
Meat, meat and all of the meat and all of that.

Stuart Carlton 40:53
It's kind of like capers and olives. And you know, just just everything on there. And it depends on where you get it. But it's got salami, and you know, all that. Yeah, it's an Italian sandwich. New Orleans style, essentially. Yeah. So Megan Goddess is obviously just kissing up to try to get another appearance, and that's fine. It's not that hard to get appearances. But you're welcome to one. So Stephanie. I'm sorry, you had a second best answer to this question.

Stephanie Gandulla 41:18
Yes. Second best answer. Well, first, I will say even though I'm from Montana, I make a really mean muffin was the lettuce sandwich. Yeah, that's true. I've never made you one Megan. But I'll have to because we would have parties on Mardi Gras. And you know years ago we but and make good move aletta sandwiches. So those are tasty. And I agree my I would have the same answer of I definitely would prefer savory, tasty sandwich instead of a doughnut, but I can't choose this. Oh, I wonder how about a crook Miss sewer? I think that's what

Stuart Carlton 41:52
I would choose. There we go a chromatic

Stephanie Gandulla 41:55
No, correct mister because that has a great

Megan Gass 41:58
cook. Miss here has no croque madame I believe has the egg. I think correct me soon. I know. Can I say my favorite joke? Stuart?

Stuart Carlton 42:08
You can but I love the accents as you're debating these various sandwiches, I can tell you.

Megan Gass 42:12
Why does the French only eat one egg?

Stuart Carlton 42:15
Why is it the French?

Stephanie Gandulla 42:17
I won't answer sorry. Maybe?

Megan Gass 42:19
Because it's enough.

Stuart Carlton 42:22
No, I got you 15 years.

Stephanie Gandulla 42:26
She told the joke. Can I tell a shipwreck joke that you are it's like why do I have these

Stuart Carlton 42:34
technical difficulties again? What are the? No, let's hear your shipwreck.

Stephanie Gandulla 42:38
Okay, what lies at the bottom of the lake? And shakes?

Stuart Carlton 42:45
I don't know.

Stephanie Gandulla 42:46
a nervous wreck.

Stuart Carlton 42:50
I'm hesitant to go on to this next question because I'm starting to wonder. But the next thing we'd like to is we'd like to leave our listeners with a little bit of life advice, something they can take home. It could be serious, can be silly. Could be big. It could be little somebody quoted Ruth Hall, somebody you know gave the same advice they give to their graduate students it can whatever. What is one little bit of life advice that you have for our listeners, other than don't eat healthy sandwiches seems to be That's good advice was too short for healthy sandwiches.

Megan Gass 43:22
I guess one life advice I have is that little acts add up over time. So when I think about Great Lakes stewardship and Great Lakes literacy, there's a lot of ways that we can help to protect the Great Lakes and little acts do you add up so thinking about refusing to single use when you can avoiding single use plastics like straws, plastic bags, single use plastic water bottles, each one can add up and by refusing the single use, you can really help to better protect the Great Lakes.

Stephanie Gandulla 43:50
I like that. That's really good. Megan, how am I supposed to follow that up? I should have I'll connect to that. And I would say take the plunge. You know whether it's in deciding to get certified. You know, if you're thinking about it, don't don't consider it too long. If you're if you're interested in doing it, just take the plunge, dive right in. If you're worried about the Great Lakes and protecting the Great Lakes, take the plunge and do something today. Even those little acts that that Megan gas is talking about and it definitely will make a difference.

Stuart Carlton 44:32
And it's actually really, really wonderful advice. Well, thank you so much to Stephanie gone, doula. And Megan, gosh, for teaching us so much about the Great Lakes before we go. Do you have like a social media or a website or something like that where people may want to follow up or something along those lines?

Stephanie Gandulla 44:51
I would say definitely check out Thunder Bay dot NOAA so that's noaa.gov and that's where you can see a really cool interactive shipwreck map. By talking to Megan and Stuart, you guys can go see the shipwrecks that you want to visit. And that's where you learn how to come visit me in Alpena and learn more about our rich history of the Great Lakes.

Megan Gass 45:13
And I would recommend visiting Michigan sea grant.org. We're also active on social media thinking, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but we have a upwellings email list. So you can sign up for our newsletter, where we share updates about different programs that we are offering.

Stuart Carlton 45:28
Wonderful. I will put links to all of those in the show notes. Megan and Stephanie, thank you so much for teaching us all about the Great Lakes. Thank you.

Well, that was a fascinating discussion. Megan, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your experience with us diving and we're really glad to have you on board.

Megan Gunn 45:49
Thank you for having me. I'm excited. I'm really excited to see all the things that are gonna happen in the coming year. Yeah,

Stuart Carlton 45:54
no, this is cool. And I hope that listeners if you go out there go look into getting dye, it does seem like they're low cost ways low input ways, like just with snorkeling or glass bottom boats. I had no idea that about the shipwreck. So this is on my list now of things to have podcast. I mean, of course, right? There's so much shipping, why wouldn't there be a shipwreck, but but just you know, this is a pointer podcast is to teach me things that are obvious to everybody else.

Megan Gunn 46:18
Notice shipwrecks I was listening to a podcast the other day called natural disasters where they were talking about the great storm in 1913 that hit all of the Great Lakes. And if if you're interested in learning about some shipwrecks that happened in the Great Lakes, that is a good one that they were it was a two part episode, but

Stuart Carlton 46:35
we'll put a link to that in the show notes too. No, I don't know about the great storm 1913 What's so great about it, haha. Okay. So let's do our normal spiel. Meghan, what did you learn about the Great Lakes today?

Megan Gunn 46:47
I learned that there are a lot of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. But she said between 6010 1000 I had no idea but like you just said it makes sense because it's it's a major shipping waterway.

Stuart Carlton 46:59
Right, of course. And so I mean, there's a lot out there to explore I yeah, I never really thought of it. To tell you the truth. I learned a lot about the Big Five dive. It's a BFD. And I thought it was interesting about the freshwater servings, like a preservative for these really important historical artifacts. Artifacts

Megan Gunn 47:17
are usually things where you find them like Boy Scout,

Stuart Carlton 47:20
yes, no, that is definitely true. Take only photographs leave only footprints, but you can't leave footprints because you're in the water and you're worrying flippers anyway. So leave only the warming glow of the urine that you kept to keep yourself at his girl. So on that note, Megan, is there somewhere that people can go to follow you on social media or whatever.

Megan Gunn 47:43
If you're on Twitter, follow me at underscore t f, f p. And then if you're on Instagram, it is at the familiar faces.

Stuart Carlton 47:50
Okay, now hold on. We'll go briefly into this. And we'll get more detail later. Tell me what is T FFP. The familiar faces project.

Megan Gunn 47:58
Familiar faces project is a program designed to show students of color that there are people that look like them that are professionals in natural resources so that they have role models that that they can aspire to be essentially,

Stuart Carlton 48:13
excellent. And this is really important work that you're doing. And we're thrilled to see where that goes and to see what we can do to help with that. And so I encourage everybody to go check that out. Because it's really important. It's as important as anything we do, frankly, it's secret in many many ways. Great, and I encourage you to follow our official programs stuff at i l i n Sea Grant for Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. And you can follow the show on Twitter at what does it teach Great Lakes. If you have any questions for us, you can use the hashtag Ask Great Lakes. And with that, thank you so much for listening. Please Like Subscribe. Tune in next time and we will see you if I can find the outro there it is. In the meantime, keep grading those lakes PD did. Did it did awesome. Thank you, Megan. Those great little long