Westfield, NY 14787
Lake Erie Advanced Deep Diving Weekend
Join us for a Lake Erie Recreational & Technical Dive Weekend aboard the dive vessel Southwind in Westfield, NY as we spent an afternoon Sunday diving the John J. Boland (140′) and Passaic a 198′ propeller package freighter. Civic Monday we’re planning at least 1 technical dive on the the schooner Oxford(160′) and a dive on the hogging arch steamer Acme (130′). A 3rd dive may be an option.
Sites Subject to Change.
The Boland is quite a sight. She’s lying on her starboard side in 130 feet of water, rising 40 feet of the bottom. When descending, the first thing divers see is her massive 4 blade propeller and equally impressive rudder. Moving forward, there are ladders, deck gear, railings, portholes and a winch. Both the aft cabin and the pilot house are partially intact. With proper training, some penetration is possible.
The Passaic was a 198′ propeller package freighter, built by Charles Bidwell of Buffalo, Ny. She was powered by a direct acting vertical steam engine, and was fitted with hogging arches to stiffen her spine. On October 31, 1891, she encountered a storm while in route to Tonawanda, Ny loaded with lumber and in tow of four barges. The crew were ordered to cut free the tow, but the damage was already done, as she was taking on water faster than the pumps could remove it. The Passaic struggled toward Dunkirk until the rising waters put out the fire in the boiler, leaving the aging ship defenseless against the raging seas. The crew of 15 survived.
The Oxford lies upright in a maximum depth of 160 feet of water. Notable features of this mid-1800’s wreck include her tiller, bilge pump, winch, windlass, both anchors and reasonably intact masts. Port and starboard railings are also intact. Visibility on this wreck is often more than 50′ but bottom temps seldom exceed 42 degrees.
Originally called the Crow’s Nest” due to the crosstree on her foremast, or as “the tiller wreck” due to her perfectly preserved tiller. It took a few years for this 2 masted brig’s true identity to be discovered to be the Oxford. Built in 1842 at Three Mile Bay, NY, the 114′ Oxford was owned and operated by Hoag Strong and Company.
The Acme was Built in 1856 by George Hardison of Buffalo, Ny for the Western Transportation Company. The Acme was a steam powered hogging arched package freighter, 190′ in length. Loaded with beef, flour and cow hides, she was bound for Buffalo from Chicago on November 4th, 1867, when she encountered a fierce gale. The ship began taking on water, and the order was given to lower the lifeboats. All hands survived.
Today, the Acme lies upright in about 130′ of water. Her hogging arches are reached at about 117′. The cabin was blown off during the sinking, exposing the boiler and steam engine.
Cost includes 2 2 tank charters for only $225USD per person. Lodging is nearby at the Thruway Motel and several other hotels.