Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 28th

The UASC meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Chicago Maritime Museum located at 1200 West 35th Street, Suite OE5010, Chicago, IL 60609. Free event, ALL ARE WELCOME. Refreshments 6:30, Business 7:00, Speaker 8:00.


Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago



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January 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago


January 27, 2016

Bob Rushman welcomed the group and introduced new members and prospective members: Allen Levine who has done underwater work, Ed Kaser,a diver who has done underwater bomb disposal and Pete Maher, a professor of linguistics and cultural historian who was in military intelligence during the Cold War.

Secretary -The minutes will be put on-line and are available in paper copy at the meeting.

Treasurer-The balance is $11,994.45. UASC made a donation in honor of the passing of Nancy Boucha. 2016 dues are due now. Future e-mails will only be sent to those who are paid-up. As an incentive to join, new members can choose from a cookbook, a print of a WW II plane wreck in Lake Michigan, a dive slate of the Buccaneer, a DVD produced by UASC members of 7 local wrecks in Like Michigan or a UASC T-shirt (limited sizes available) and are eligible for a drawing for two-tank Lake Michigan dive charter.

Past Events-Twenty-one members got together for a pot-luck holiday party at the home of Carol Sommers. They all sat at one big table in the former American Legion Hall and the party lasted beyond midnight. Home-made food was delicious and gluwein and champagne flowed. At the November meeting the following officers were elected: Bob Rushman- President, Dean Nolan-Vice President, Karen Rushman-Treasurer, Carol Sommers-Secretary

ICSSD -Thursday, February 18 - Club Appreciation night at 7:30 pm at Mr. Beef and Pizza at Elmhurst and Algonquin roads in Mount Prospect. There will be free pizza and soda. ICSSD represents more than ten clubs and promotes projects important to divers. This year's project will be riptide awareness and last year's was dive flag awareness. Deanna Hotchner will speak about public outreach and education. March 13 - ICSSD Underwater Competition in Elk Grove Village. Check in is at 11 am and you just need a swimsuit, your C-card and gear to participate. All the details and fun activities (including an underwater tricycle race) are listed on the ICSSD website.

Survey Updates-None because of winter season. We need to dive earlier this year to offer members more opportunity to participate and because of water clarity for certain shallow wrecks. April and May would be good months to go out on Tom's boat.

Upcoming events-

February 20 - Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

February 26-28 - Our World Underwater at Rosemont. All members are asked to help out at the UASC booth--sign-up sheet to follow in an e-mail. We need to support our members Steve Arnam and Bill Messner who are presenting by attending their programs:

Steve: Saturday, 9 am, room 46, “Diving the Mexican Triangle” and 2:30 pm, room 48, “The U853-Explore the Last U-Boat Sunk of WWII” and Sunday , 3:15pm, room 48, “Ghosts of the Pacific”. Steve will have photos of artifacts from the U-boat sunk off of Rhode Island.

Bill: Saturday, 1 pm, room 45 - The PonyPack and Sunday 2:30pm room 45 – “What are the Risks, Really?” discussing the importance of independent, redundant air supplies for divers.

March 18-19 -Ghost Ships Festival in Milwaukee. UASC will have a booth which needs to be manned; please consider attending and helping with the booth.

Illinois Railway Museum-Sam has brought free calendars and it looks like the car in which we will put our display will not arrive until mid-summer. Brochures from The Tritons about their Open Water Courses in April at Wheeling High School are available.

Chicago Maritime Museum- the Board of Directors is considering a new policy no longer allowing refreshments to be served at meetings; members are asked to not bring anything pending further information. Jim Jarecki will discuss this further with the hope of this request being changed.

New business- Jim recommended having some new content for the OWU booth. Chet will help by bringing more photos and Steve will have a streaming loop vido of shpwrecks in Lake Michigan on our TV with the built-in DVD player. Scott brought up the idea of having 2 X 2 foot foam tiles in the booth since we will no longer have the expensive rug. 200 square feet is $350. Bob will look into it. Since the meeting Bob approved the purchase of the carpet tiles. Also, Chet and Bob work on and completed the booth design.

Web Site- Colin would like ideas as to how to highlight the fact that we are a shipwreck club on the website. There was an idea to put Bill's informative links to shipwreck news which he e-mails to us on the website, but then there is a problem with Spam blockage. A company can be hired to send out thousands of e-mails at once for $20 a month. Right now it is difficult to send messages to 700+ people each month.

It was brought up that the Department of Transportation now has new regulations regarding certain older 80 cubic foot aluminum tanks due to the alloy has too much lead. Affected tanks can no longer be hydotested or therefore filled. Check on-line to see if the date of your tank is affected.

UASC member presentations- Each meeting a member will give a 10-15 minute presentation before the main speaker. The tentative schedule is as follows. Please contact Jim Jarecki with details or corrections or to volunteer:

February- TBD , March-Tony Keifer, Oslo Viking Ships, April-John Loftus, Georgia Williams, May-Jerry Boldenow-Wrecks of Northwest Indiana, June-Mike Malone, Michigan City Wrecks, June- Ryan Fly, Photogrammetry in Underwater Archaeology, July- Bob and Claire, Tym Barge, August-Tom and Jorge, TBD, September-Sam building of State Street Tunnel, October-Pete Maher, Iconography of Popeye

Upcoming speakers-

February 24-Terry Poulos will discuss the research he conducted related to an ancient shipwreck in the Mediterranean near Greece in order to make his artwork, Artickythera. This is based on the Antikythera, an ancient mechanical analog computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was found in 1900 by sponge divers and is thought to be designed by Archimedes. Terry's work is in the British Museum and he is also interested in becoming a diver.

March 30-TBD; hope to have the speaker determined in time to advertise at Our World Underwater.

April 27-Joan Forsburg-“The Wreck of the Griffin, The Greatest Mystery of the Great Lakes”

Other speakers: There was discussion about paying for hotels or transportation for guest speakers. As a small non-profit organization but our budget is limited; we do pay an honorarium to non-member speakers. Paying for any expenses will be considered on a case by case basis. It's necessary to plan almost a year in advance in order to have someone who may be in town for OWU or other events to come and speak to us. Then there will not be transportation costs. Names of recommended speakers are Kevin Kristen or James Delgado from Washington, D.C who is the director of cultural heritage for NOAA Bob mentioned that we need to remember the reason for the club which is to get out and work on shipwrecks, not just have speakers.

Program- The video "The Shipwreck Coast, Whitefish Point to Grand Island" was shown by Jim Jarecki. It was about the growth of the lifesaving service on this 90-mile stretch of water at the entrance to Lake Superior where there is no shelter for ships. Because the lake is so shallow, seas build rapidly and have waves which are very close together. There are hidden shoals and sandbars which are constantly changing and have resulted in numerous (100+) wrecks. This is where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with 50 million pounds of iron ore when her modern navigation tools failed. Lake Superior holds so much water that it would flood the 48 contiguous states to a depth of 2 feet.

There were no lighthouses before 1849 and it took a letter writing campaign led by Horace Greeley to Congress to have lighthouses built. By 1875, isolated lighthouses were built every 10 miles and inhabitants were snowed in from November to May. All the meat was salted, mainly pork. For 93 cents per day, lifesavers drilled daily. Here's an example: One sat in an oilskin in a rocking chair in a 40 degree room and was doused with a bucket of water every 2/3 minutes. A sense of duty helped keep the men going in this monotonous job. They were mainly former fishermen and lumberjacks. Every night there was beach patrol walking the entire distance between lighthouses on beaches and inlets with seas running 100 feet inland; oilskins worn for protection form the elements often became clad with ice. Everything, including hauling boats and equipment, was done with manpower since there were no horses. Because of the cold water, no one survived who fell into the water from a sinking ship and one job of the lifesavers was to bury bodies in the spring on the beach where they were found. A four-day-long 1913 storm claimed 20 ships. In 1919, there was a dramatic rescue when lifesavers saw a wreck about to happen. The surf line to the boat was frozen, the boat was pulled along hand by hand, crewmen's clothing was frozen to the lifeboat and local fishermen took over when the lifesavers were too exhausted to continue. The entire crew was saved. It's estimated that there are six thousand wrecks in Lake Superior and thirty thousand lives were lost. In the 1940's better navigation tools and weather prediction resulted in a dramatic decline in wrecks.

The next meeting is February 24th. Because of job responsibilities, Bob may not be present.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers

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