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.

Lake Cleanup Dives

May is when we do our part to clean up the area lakes. Trained divers, come help us out on the following days, weather permitting. If you need rental gear, be sure to check out your local dive shops.

  • Saturday, May 15 at 9am, Lake Waubesa: 2783A Tower Rd, McFarland. This is private property and we’re guests using their dock. This is a great spot for finding anchors.
  • Sunday, May 16 at 9am, Lake Kegonsa: Town of Pleasant Springs Boat Launch. Parking is free! Another great place for anchors.
  • Saturday, May 22 at 9am, Lake Mendota: Top of Lake Street near One Alumni Place. Drop off your belongings at the boat launch, then find parking nearby, either metered street parking or in the Lake Street parking ramp a couple blocks away. Between Memorial Union and Frat Row, there is a staggering amount of trash here. We’re planning to have the barge for this dive to help bring some of the furniture.
  • Sunday, May 23 at 9am, Lake Monona: Yahara Place Park.

For each of these dives, be sure to bring mesh bags, a dive flag float, garbage bags, a tray or tote to keep your car clean, and work gloves for carrying the junk above-water. If you have a lift bag, it could come in handy.

Ribbon Cutting for 140-Acre Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Nature Conservancy

Land Generously Donated by Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Now Includes Parking Lot & Hiking Trail

On Friday, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined Dane County Parks staff and community members to cut the ribbon on the Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Nature Conservancy. The land was donated to the county in 2007 with a life estate and was turned over to Dane County in 2019. With a small parking area and hiking trail recently developed, visitors can now experience the conservancy’s solitude and beautiful setting along the Maunesha River. George Socha is a long-time Four Lakes Scuba Club member.

“This is a great addition to our Dane County Park System. I want to thank George Socha and his late partner Joyce Baer for their incredibly generous donation of land,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Containing over a mile of the Maunesha River and several drumlins dotting its landscape, this conservancy will offer residents ample opportunities to enjoy Dane County’s natural resources for many years.”

The 140-acre conservancy offers quiet, nature-based outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, bird watching and foraging for nuts, berries and mushrooms. Future enhancements will include a canoe landing, additional hiking trails, pedestrian bridges, a second parking lot and prairie and woodland restorations. 

“We understood that land is a limited resource and wanted to give everyone the opportunity to experience our land. We want it to be here forever for people to visit, appreciate nature, wander in the woods and marshlands and see all the wildlife here,” said George Socha.

The conservancy is located at 5784 Cherry Ln., about 2 miles east of the Village of Marshall and 3 miles west of Waterloo, within Dane County’s Maunesha River Natural Resource Area. To learn more, visit the property webpage at https://www.danecountyparks.com/park/Joyce-MBaer-George-JSocha-Conservancy.

May Meeting

With the warmer weather and progress in vaccination, things are looking up! May 2021 will be a big month for the club. Namely, a return to in-person meetings! We also have the annual lake clean-up dives coming up soon. And don’t forget that May is Cephalopod Appreciation Month[1]Every month is Cephalopod Appreciation Month, of course.

We’ll be meeting in-person on Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30pm at our new location: Hop Haus in Fitchburg! Note this is the Fitchburg location, not Verona.

We’re taking COVID safety seriously, including current attendee limits and distancing. To attend in-person, you must RSVP by May 6. Email vp@fourlakesscubaclub.org with the number of attendees in your household and whether you’re fully vaccinated and okay sharing a table with one other vaccinated household.

If you’re not quite ready to meet in-person, we’ll still have a Zoom meeting:


Meeting ID: 890 3928 7285
Passcode: 008626

The topic this month is dedicated to our underwater allies–octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus. Bring your video and photo footage of these great creatures, and get ready for Trivia with prizes!

A quick reminder: if you haven’t already paid your annual dues, bring your checkbook and a membership form. Your dues help to pay for the Phoenix party, holiday party, reserve the park, and other club events.


1 Every month is Cephalopod Appreciation Month, of course


The ice has melted, days are getting longer, and another dive season is upon us. A lot has happened over the past year of the pandemic, and things are looking up with vaccination progress. We’ve been meeting over Zoom for the past year and are excited to start meeting in-person again for our monthly socials.

Stay tuned for details on the location of upcoming monthly meetings.

Also, don’t forget our annual clean-up dives! They’ll be May 15-16 and 22-23.

Check out our newsletter here.