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Discovery of the Jane Miller-2017 Expedition Efforts Pt 2

Discussion in 'Ontario' started by Jared0425, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    The next morning we loaded up my gear and departed to the wreck. Ken would dive his rebreather and push the camera and I would...just dive. We arrived into the wreck site and anchored next to it. I was going down first with Ken behind me. I have dove virgin wrecks before, but this was the first time I was going to be first on it. The visibility was not as good as it was the prior day as a rain storm had come in and stirred up the water, but vis was around 50-60ft still. At about 80ft I passed the mast and looked down and saw the entire wreck. We were coming down on the port side. I will let the video show you our dive.

    To my shock during the dive I saw something that really hit me as to what this wreck really was, a gravesite. I shined my canister light into the wreck as we had honored our deal with the permit of no penetration. My light landed on a pile of corpses that had turned to soap. I counted at least 16 in different parts of the wreck. The inside was a mess as boards and timber was scattered everywhere along with boxes of cargo. I swam down to the prop and rudder to see what it looked like and see if it could give me clues as to what could have happened in her final moments. The Rudder was turned hard to Port and two of the buckets on the propeller were broken off. This indicates that she was in a turn when she sank and sank so suddenly that the propeller was till turning when she hit the bottom.
    View attachment 436989

    I then made my way to the bow and saw the wheel buried in the remains of the pilothouse. I saw what I thought was the compass which was smashed between the wheel of the pilothouse...:(

    View attachment 437000

    View attachment 437001

    I then went back and forth across the deck a few times before my dive plan said it was time to turn. I had forgotten my deco computer at home and was using my Gal Luna as a timer and depth gauge. I had more than enough air and was comfortable, but I am one who sticks to the plan and I had to return to the surface after 25 minutes. I could have stayed close to 45 with the gas I had, but I'm still new to ratio deco. On ymway up I decided to pass the mast.
    View attachment 437006
    View attachment 437007

    After 14 minutes of deco, I hit the surface with a big smile on my face at what a great wreck she was. Jerry was watching and manning the boat while Ken and I did our dives. He was excited as I was when I told him about the site. Ken surfaced 20 minutes later and we jabbered on. Unfortunately, I got a call a few hours later about a boat going down on our side of Lake Huron and I was needed to run sonar operations. I had Ken and Jerry drop me off just before sundown as they had planned to anchor behind White Cloud again. We took our pictures and headed out for a 4 hour run back home in the dark.
    View attachment 437008
    From left to right, Jerry Eliason Ken Merryman, and Myself

    I took Kens video footage to Marine Artist Bob McGreevy. It took 3 months of going through every little piece of the video to make a highly detailed and wonderful sketch of the site.

    View attachment 437009
    So in closing, I believe the Miller came close to the dock and had her lights blown out by the high winds. The captain made the decision to turn deep into the bay in hopes to get a sheltered turn so he could get a good angle into the dock. He got 4 miles into the bay when he made the turn north. During that turn, the waves and wind caught her and capsized the ship. The passangers and crew kept below decks, were caught by surprise and were drug down with the ship in a matter of seconds. Usually when a ship sinks that fast, air caught in the ship blows out the deck and cabins, but for some reason, they kept together. I believe that subsequent storms and the introduction of Zebra mussels caused the cabins to collapse and be blown off the wreck. She is VERY VERY fragile. One could literally punch their way out of the inside as the wood is rotten and soft. I cannot tell what the future is for this site as she is a grave and is the most fragile wreck Ive seen, but I hope the Canadian government can answer that for me and others who share interest in this tragic site. About 3 miles from Wiarton is a plaque that commemorates the loss. I visited it before I left for home.

    Thank you all for reading.
    Bogtrotter, TTPaws, mddolson and 2 others like this.
  2. shoredivr

    shoredivr Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ontario
    Well done, Jared!

    Great description of the find and the history. Let's get a plaque with the names of all those lost on the Jane Miller.
    Jared0425 likes this.
  3. mddolson

    mddolson Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Belleville,Ontario, Canada
    Thank you for the great write up & excellent video report
  4. BoneCrusher

    BoneCrusher NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lapeer, Michigan
  5. shoredivr

    shoredivr Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Ontario
  6. Jared0425

    Jared0425 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Detroit, Michigan
    Well I wont comment on the Human remains matter. However it is rather unfortunate that they wont allow anymore divers on it. I'll try in the late winter to apply for the permits to dive her.

    In the meantime the Carruthers and Asia awaits to be discovered.
    shoredivr likes this.

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