August Update

We have several events coming up over the next several months. Put them on your calendars and watch for updates as we get closer.

  • Our annual Dive Eat Float was rescheduled to Saturday, August 27th. This consists of a fun dive at Redgranite Quarry, followed by a potluck cookout at Randy’s, and finished with a nice easy float down the Mecan River. We hope you all can join us for any or all of these!
  • Saturday, October 1st we’ll have a fun dive at Lake Wazee!
  • The following Saturday, October 8th in the morning we’ll do a cleanup dive of the Yahara River between Lakes Mendota and Monona. This has always found a copious quantity of trash. We can use some canoe and shore support on this dive.
  • Tentatively, we’re looking to have our annual Phoenix Party that same evening, Saturday, October 8th. More information to come on this as it’s not yet finalized.

I also want to invite everyone to join the club for our monthly meetings at the Hop Haus. We have an exciting speaker lineup for the rest of the year and to keep getting top-notch speakers they’ll need an audience. So come join in and bring your dive buddies and non-diver friends. Everyone’s invited and the upcoming topics have something for everyone.

June Meeting: Mini-Golf!

In lieu of our monthly meeting at the Hop Haus, we’ll be having a mini-golf outing at Vitense Golfland. The cost for 18 holes is $11 per adult, $10 per senior 60 and over, and $9 per junior (ages 5-12). After golf we’ll enjoy company at the Signature Hole Grill & Bar. We’ll be meeting a little earlier, at 7:00 pm. Spread the word!

(The reason for this late change is Hop Haus informed us that another very large group of over 200 will be there at the same time, and there would be heavy delays on service and tight parking. Our June speaker agreed to reschedule to later in the year.)

Spring Cleaning

The lakes are thawed and it’s about time to start doing our part to keep them clean! Here are the details for each of our dives:

  • Saturday, May 14, 9am: Lake Monona at Olin Park to clean up along John Nolen Drive. Meet at Olin Park Boat Launch and ride the barge. Have your gear on the barge at 9am. We have limited space available on the barge, so let John and Ellen know if you’re going at fafinski@wisc.edu.
  • Sunday, May 15, 8:30am: Lake Mendota at the Lake Street boat launch. You can drop off your gear and find a place to park. We’ll have the barge to put garbage on. The ramp is used by the fire department so don’t block it.
  • Saturday, May 28, 9am: Lake Waubesa from Chad’s house (address will be provided at May’s meeting). Bring trash bags and a tarp, as we’ll have to haul garbage away from this site.
  • Sunday, May 29, 9am: Lake Kegonsa at Pleasant Spring boat launch. Drop your gear off near the water and park on the grassy area closer to the street. Don’t use the boat trailer spots.

We can use anyone’s help: divers, shore support, folks to clean the shoreline, and people to help lift garbage onto the barge. Bring your friends!

For all dives you’ll need your own gear, a dive flag, and goodie bags. You must sign a waiver, either at the May meeting or at the dive site. Avoid diving under other people’s floats and under the barge to avoid having something dropped on your head. Be careful of boat traffic, especially at the Memorial Union. Breezeway Bubbles and Diversions are offering free air fills for the clean up dives and also discounted gear rental. Just mention it’s for the Four Lakes Cleanup dives.

April Meeting

The weather is slowly starting to get warmer and we’re all thinking about spring and another dive season. Come join us for April’s meeting on Wednesday the 13th at 7:30PM at Hop Haus Fitchburg. Details to come in the newsletter.

This month’s speaker

This month’s speaker is Robert Johnson. Robert is a marine ecologist and research scientist at UW-Madison. Prior to joining UW, Robert has been a member of multiple aquatic research teams, where he has participated in various projects spanning streams, lakes, and the coastal oceans. Robert got his start in diving right here in the lakes of southern Wisconsin while he was a student at UW before he moved to Florida for graduate school to begin working in marine systems. His research focuses on understanding the roles of green sea turtles in Caribbean seagrass meadows and has taken him to sites across the Caribbean, including getting to spend a summer living on Little Cayman. As a
graduate student, Robert became a certified science diver with the American Academy of Underwater Scientists (AAUS), and as a result, 84% of his bottom time has now been spent with his face buried in the seagrass or working with equipment on the sea floor. This month, he’ll be speaking about the role and benefits of SCUBA in aquatic science, along with sharing pictures and stories on the benefits of diving at a research station.

We hope you can join us!

Last month’s speaker

In March, our own Tamara Thomsen presented on the story and gave an update on the Lake Mendota canoe that was brought up late last year. It was an awesome talk. If you missed our in-person meeting, you’re in luck: check out an earlier recording given to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Follow Tami on Facebook for the latest updates on the preservation efforts that are underway.

Happy 2022!

Happy New Year to everyone. We had a great holiday party in December (thanks to Lisa for the space) and hopefully everyone had a great holiday season.

Congrats to Zach on keeping the traveling trophy for most dives again this year, beating out Gayle. And congrats to Gayle, John, and Ellen for diving all four of our local lakes in 2021!

Due to the current Omicron wave, there will be no in-person social on January 12th. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope to see you all again in February. We have some great speakers lined up for 2022 and are looking forward to getting together again. Please help spread the word that this month’s social is canceled.

October Social

Come join us this coming Wednesday, October 13th for our monthly social. We meet at the Hop Haus in Fitchburg. Our meeting starts at 7:30pm. Everyone is welcome!

This month we welcome back Brendan Baillod who will be speaking about Lake Michigan shipwrecks! Here’s some info on what he’ll be sharing:

Join Great Lakes Shipwreck Research Group founder, maritime historian and author Brendon Baillod as he explores the historical research and the physical remains of the ridiculous number of shipwrecks at Lake Michigan’s North and South Fox Islands. Lying just south of the Beaver Islands in Lake Michigan, the Foxes boast beautiful dune beaches, crystal blue waters and an unusual number of historic shipwrecks. These shipwrecks are rarely visited due to their remote locations and many have never been identified. Brendon takes you on a virtual visit to these wrecks using Google Earth, underwater photos and cutting edge photogrammetry. Brendon will also share his work to research and identify these anonymous hulls as well as three new discoveries he’s made at the Foxes

Brendon is an award winning diver, author, maritime historian, and shipwreck hunter based in Wiscsonsin. He is a founder of Milwaukee’s Ghost Ships Festival, a past president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archeology Association (WUAA) and a past trustee of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.  Brendon has appeared on the History Channel, Travel Channel, National Geographic Channel, and Discovery Channel discussing Great Lakes shipwrecks and is the author of Fathoms Deep But Not Forgotten: Wisconsin’s Lost Ships, an encyclopedia of southern Wisconsin ships and shipwrecks.  He is an avid collector of antiquarian Great Lakes books, maps, and ephemera and has the largest private collection of Great Lakes antiquities in existence.  Brendon was awarded the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History’s Award for Historic Interpretation for his work translating the original letters of the French explorer LaSalle related to his ship Le Griffon.  He is also the creator and admin of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Research Group on Social Media with nearly 4000 active members.  Brendon has been involved in the discovery of dozens of shipwrecks on Lakes Michigan and Superior and is an expert on the use of sidescan sonar.  He is well-known across the Great Lakes as a marine historian, antiquarian and public speaker.  

Phoenix Party 2021

Come join us as we roast some anchors! This year’s Phoenix Party will be on Saturday, October 2 at Danny and Betsy’s house.

The party will start at 4:00pm; unlike past years, this year we will be grilling out. Please bring:

  • A side dish to pass (salad, dessert, etc.)
  • A lawn chair
  • Beverages
  • Any anchors you found over the past couple years
  • Warm clothing
  • Optionally, firewood for the bonfire

The club will provide burgers and condiments; if you want something else please bring it along.

To get an accurate count, RSVP by Sunday, September 26 to Brad at baacker@gmail.com.

To get to Danny and Betsy’s house from Madison, take Airport Road about four miles to Toepfer Road. Turn north and they are at the end of the road. Please park on the street.

Hope to see you all there soon!

Phoenix Party

Dive Help Wanted

If you’re looking for a mission, we received a request to help out. He lost a fishing lure in about 3-4 feet of water toward the end of a canoe ramp on the Wisconsin River in Sauk City and is a danger of someone stepping on it.

If you’re interested in helping out, please contact the president for contact info (president@fourlakesscubaclub.org)!

Also, we hope to see everyone tonight (September 8th) at 7:30 for a monthly meeting social hour! We’ll plan fall activities and catch up.

July Updates

Hope to see you all for July’s social on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30pm. This month, Maya Gomez will share some of her research into coral reefs. As a side note, because of the Buck’s game consider arriving a little earlier to get your food order in.

On another note, thanks to Randy, we received permission to dive at Redgranite Quarry for the Dive Eat Float event. However, it will require you to fill out a permit. Print the permit on the newsletter’s last page, fill it out, and either bring to it to the social meeting on 7/14 or mail it to Randy. The deadline for this is 7/23. Also see the newsletter for info about this event, including what to bring along.

Summer Dives

It’s definitely summer, and I hope you’re all enjoying the sunny weather. The club is planning some fun dives over the summer, so save the date!

  • Saturday, July 31st: Eat, Float, (maybe) Dive. Redgranite Quarry is currently closed to diving, and we’re looking into alternatives.
  • Sunday, August 8th: Devil’s Lake.
  • Saturday, August 28th: Lake Wazee.
  • Sunday, October 3rd: Yahara River cleanup drift dive.

More details will be coming in upcoming club meetings and on the website, email, and Facebook.