June Meeting

Join us this Wednesday, June 12th, 2024 at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg. The meeting starts at 7pm, but feel free to come by starting at 6:30 to get your order in and socialize.

This month’s speaker is Charles “Chas.” Hague. Charles is Vice Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 43-04 (Madison). He has been a proud member of the Auxiliary for 18 years. His qualifications include Telecommunications Watchstander, Boat Safety Instructor, Vessel Safety Examiner, and Aids to Navigation Examiner. He learned how to sail on his honeymoon, and has been working for the past 45 years to get better at it. He and his wife Barbara moved to Madison two years ago to help his daughter with his twin grandsons.

THE TALK: Hague will give a brief history of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Auxiliary and discuss the current missions. He will also talk about how to boat safely, and tell a few sea stories.

Cleanup Dives

Thanks to everyone who came out for the annual cleanup dives in May! We had a great turnout and mostly good weather.

Lake Kegonsa appears to be clean; divers found very little garbage at all.

Mendota near the Union and Langdon St. had a lot of garbage as usual. We had a great turnout: 13 divers! Among the finds were a shopping cart, a couple cell phones, and a knife. The weed growth was up compared to years past, which made trash hunting a little more difficult. Gayle found remnants of where the pier collapsed at the Memorial Union last year, but didn’t find any goodies among the debris.

We also had a good turnout for Lake Monona. It’s been a few years since the club has done a cleanup on this side of the Terrace, and the highlight was over a dozen fishing poles. We also found a couple steel pipes that the water ski team uses for practicing, which we returned to them. Despite the heavy rain the night before, visibility was great.

At the Bible Camp on Lake Waubesa, we had rainy weather but still a good turnout. We pulled up 10 anchors and a couple bags of trash.

Photos by Gayle.

May Meeting

Join us this Wednesday, May 8th, 2024 at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg. The meeting starts at 7pm, but feel free to come by starting at 6:30 to get your order in and socialize.

This month’s speaker is Scott Dicks

Scott got his C-Card in 1966 from the YMCA in Decatur Illinois. He got is fascination for diving from watching Sea Hunt and Jacque Cousteau documentaries.

As a science major at Ripon College with majors in Chemistry , Biology and Psychology. He studied blood chemistry in sharks and theorized about the impact on behavior.

Later in life, he hooked up with Eugenie Clark’s old research team in the Caribbean who discovered the “Sleeping Sharks of the Caribbean”. 

He was a safety diver for the research team and handled a bang stick watching the backside of the research team. 

Scott Dicks is a NAUI Certified Instructor and Dive Master. He has over 4,000 hours underwater. He specializes in spearfishing, wreck and cave diving. In 1975, he won the Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota contests.

April Meeting

Join us this Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg. The meeting starts at 7pm, but feel free to come by starting at 6:30 to get your order in and socialize.

This month’s speakers are Brad and Nikki Acker, who will be sharing their experience from diving in Egypt’s Red Sea last year.

Read the newsletter here.

Four Lakes Cleanup Dives

Dates and locations have been set for our annual cleanup dives in our four lakes. We hope you all can join us!

  • Saturday, May 18, 9am: Lake Kegonsa at Town of Pleasant Springs Boat Ramp at 2267 Williams Point Dr., Stoughton. (Non-resident permits are required, $5 per day.)
  • Sunday, May 19, 9am: Lake Mendota at the Lake Street boat launch near the Pyle Center.
  • Saturday, May 25, 9am: Lake Monona at Law Park.
  • Sunday, May 26, 9am: Lake Waubesa at the Bible Camp, 2851 Crescent Dr., McFarland.

Gayle is coordinating the first weekend’s dives, and Brad the second weekend.

We can use anyone’s help: divers, shore support, and folks to clean the shoreline. Bring your friends and dive buddies!

For all dives, you’ll need your own gear, a dive flag, and goodie bags. Mesh bags, work gloves, and lift bags are helpful if you have them. Divers need to be certified and capable of diving in the lake conditions. Please print a waiver and bring it with you to the May meeting or dive site. We can help you find a buddy. Avoid diving under other people’s floats to avoid having something heavy dropped on your head. Be careful about boat traffic.

March Meeting

As the days get warmer and longer, we hope you all can join us this for this month’s meeting on Wednesday, March 13th at 7:00pm. We meet at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg, 2949 Triverton Pike Dr. Feel free to come a little early and socialize!

Our speaker this month is Gina LaLiberte. Gina leads response and communication on cyanobacterial bloom issues as the Statewide Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. As a life-long resident of the Great Lakes region, she has a BS in Biology and a MS in Resource Ecology Management from the University of Michigan. She has studied algae for other 30 years.

Topic: What’s that Green Stuff? Algae and Blue-green Algae Blooms

Algae are more than just “green stuff” in the water – they’re important parts of freshwater communities, and many have interesting forms and life histories which you can appreciate when you take a closer look. We will review some common types of algae from around the Great Lakes region. We will also examine blue-green algae blooms, learn to assess potentially harmful blooms, and review practical tips for how to stay safe on and under the water.

February Meeting

Here’s some information about our speaker coming up on Wednesday, February 14th, 7:00pm at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg:

Originally from northern Illinois, Emily Heald has a BS from Northland College in Natural Resource Management and an MS from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Integrated Biosciences. Emily currently works for the UW Madison Division of Extension, where she coordinates volunteer nutrient, continuous temperature, and aquatic invasive species monitoring for the Water Action Volunteers (WAV) program. 

Description of the talk: When we think about lakes and rivers, we often think of fish, frogs, and turtles. However, did you know there is an entire world within each lake that is virtually invisible? Join us to learn about all the critters that play vital roles in the water that are “hidden” from most eyes.


Ghost Ships Is Back!

It’s Official!  Wisconsin’s Ghost Ships Festival is back.  Last held in 2017, the Ghost Ships Festival was Wisconsin’s premier event for Great Lakes diving, maritime history and underwater archeology enthusiasts.

The Wisconsin Underwater Archeology Association in conjunction with the new Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary, the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Maritime Archeology Program and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum are proud to sponsor Ghost Ships 2024!

The event will be held Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2nd at the Inn on Maritime Bay in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and will feature speakers and workshops devoted to:

  • Recent shipwreck discoveries
  • Techniques for documenting historic shipwreck sites
  • 3D Photogrammetry
  • Remote Sensing Technology
  • Great Lakes Shipwreck Diving
  • Great Lakes Maritime History

The event will include vendor booths and displays offering interactive 3D shipwreck exploration experiences, technology demonstrations as well as books and merchandise.  Sponsorship opportunities are available for interested businesses and organizations. The event will be open to the public.  Stay tuned for information on booking room reservations, pre-registration, vendor booth reservations and sponsorship opportunities.

Upcoming free talk at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Please join the Wisconsin Maritime Museum on February 1st at 6:30pm for our Think & Drink series presentation “Keeping Girls Afloat- Black Girls Dive Foundation” with Black Girls Dive Foundation President Dr. Nevada Winrow and BGDF Alumni. The featured drink of the night will be the Wreck Diver. 

Learn how the Black Girls Dive Foundation (BGDF) empowers young Black women to explore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) through marine science, conservation, and SCUBA diving. Hear from BGDF scholars about the skills they’ve gained in the program, from shark conservation and coral restoration to building and piloting ROVs and underwater photography. By broadening minority participation in aquatic based STEM sciences, BGDF is creating the next generation of social conscious divers and planetary stewards.

Alcohol and nonalcoholic drinks will be available for purchase at the limited bar. 

Doors and bar open at 6:00 pm. The talk and live stream portion begin at 6:30 pm. To access the live stream of this event, please register here: https://forms.gle/EAXvirLHdKtZx22T8

Admission is free both in-person and virtually.


For more information about this talk and upcoming events at the museum please visit our website https://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/ or on Facebook @WIMaritimeMuseum.

This program is funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Please note: although these events incorporate a thematic drink, there is no requirement or emphasis on alcohol consumption. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol and/or drug abuse, please reach out to the national substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

January Meeting

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s some information about our speaker coming up on Wednesday, January 10th, 7:00pm at Benvenuto’s in Fitchburg:

Lisie Kitchel is a Conservation Biologist with the WDNR Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, formerly the Bureau of Endangered Resources.  She is trained as an aquatic ecologist and works on rare aquatic species statewide.  She has been chasing our native mussels and other aquatic organisms around the state for over 20 years.  Conservation of our native freshwater mussels is her passion and one which she enjoys sharing with others who enjoy the lakes, rivers and streams of Wisconsin.

Our native mussels/clams of Wisconsin

We will explore one of Wisconsin’s most diverse, yet hidden treasures, the freshwater mussel.  Learn all about our state’s 50 native species, where they can be found, their fascinating life cycle, including their dependence on fish and ways they fool them, and amazing contributions to the history of Wisconsin, from food to buttons to pearls. You are guaranteed to come away with a greater appreciation of these unique animals and their beauty.

We have a full year of speakers lined up for our monthly meetings, so hope to see you there. Bring a friend!