Georgian Adventure Dive Charters
Balm Beach, Ontario L0L 2J0
Dive Instructor - Mario Galluzzo
Equipment Rentals, Sales, Service and Dive Instruction
$40.00 /tank dive
min 4 divers / charter
This is a great dive location for all divers and photographers, excellent visibilities
are the norm on these shallow but exciting wrecks, and the sights of Georgian Bay
Islands National Park.
The Mapledawn - Steel Bulk Carrier
Lottie Wolfe - Schooner
Michigan - Lifting Barge
Thomas Cranage - Lakes Longest Wooden Steamer
Marquette - Schooner - Most Intact of Area Wrecks
Western Islands - Dive On a Lighthouse!
Lottie Wolf - Built in 1866 as a three masted schooner. She was lost on Oct 16, 1891
heading for Midland a major grain rail head at the time, with 21,000 bushels of corn.
The 126 foot schooner broke up in gale force seas in shallow water. Just of the Hope
Island Lighthouse. Today the ship is broken up in twenty feet of water.
The Michigan was built in Bay City, Michigan in 1890 as a railroad car ferry. She was
converted to a barge in 1924 with the removal of her engines. The 297 foot Michigan
was engaged in removing the grain from the stranded Riverton at Hope Island in Nov
1943, when she was blown into the shallows by high winds. Today, the wreck lies in
20 feet of water with much machinery and metalwork to view. The key feature of the
Michigan are the massive lifting winches and gears on her collapsed deck, the larger
of these gears are over 10' in diameter.
The Thomas Cranage the longest wooden steamer to be built on the Great Lakes
began life in Michigan in 1893. This 305 foot vessel ran aground Sept 25, 1911. The
cargo of grain was removed, but the storms broke up the steamer. Today the
scattered remains are found in 15-55 feet of water straddling Watchers Reef about 2
kilometers north of Hope Island. The largest portion of the wreck is the bottom of the
hull in the shallow waters where she ran aground. All of the larger machinery was
salvaged at the time of the disaster, including the engine. On the north side of the reef
at depths approaching 55' lays the bulk of the Cranage, blown there by over 80 years
of storms and ice. Other wrecks in the area include the Plucky, Saucy Jim and the
Wawinet. Located a few miles to the north in the mouth of the Musquash River reside
the remains of the schooners Wales, Ottawa, Ontario, and the Chippawa. Abandoned
in protected waters after the demise of the local logging industry.
In the fall of 1972 a local Live Aboard dive charter operator acquired the short term
use of a relatively new invention, a side scan sonar. The goal was to locate the wreck
of the Schooner Imperial to offer a deeper dive to his customers. In the 1880's the
Imperial hit a submerged rock near the Western Islands, severely damaged the
Captain attempted to make for Penetagusiene for repairs, but didn't make it. Sinking
in deep water somewhere on a direct line between the Western Islands and Hope
Island Passage (Between Hope Island and Watchers Reef). The Imperial has yet to be
discovered. Approaching the search area while calibrating the device the Marquette
was discovered. At first called the Imperial, later when the dimensions didn't match,
the wreck became known as the Hope Island Wreck or the Hope Island Mystery
Wreck. After several years of research the Hope Island wreck was identified as the
Marquette. Sank in 1867, damaged in a storm, dropped anchor on the lea side of
Hope Island to make some repairs. A sudden wind shift caught the crew off guard,
finishing off the job the storm had begun, sending the schooner to the sandy bottom
at 35ft. The Marquette is currently the most intact of the areas wooden wrecks.
Was also subject of the "Marquette Challenge", a local televised project where the
wreck was resurveyed by a group of disabled divers.
Located a few miles West of Hope Island sits a circle of treeless granite rocks
covering the area about the size of a city block, the tops of which are less then a
dozen feet above the water level. On the southern most of these rocks sits an
unmanned lighthouse. This is currently the 3rd lighthouse to stand at this spot.
It's 2 predecessors along with the lighthouse keepers homes and personal effects
can still be viewed by diving directly off the current lighthouse. The most noticeable
are the remains of what must have been a very extensive collection of "78's".
Maximum depth is unknown, it's a rather steep sloop, I have not gone below 80' at
this site and the slope was continuing at the same angle.