Diving and Editing with Jim and Pat Stayer

As part of my last trip for the summer, I boarded a plane and flew out to Detroit for some wreck diving and a little video editing. When I arrived, Pat Stayer greeted me at the baggage terminal. After collecting my bags, I headed out with her to meet up with Jim Stayer, who had been driving circles around the airport waiting for us to come out. After a 2-hour drive back and a stop along the way to grab some Chinese, arrived at their home in Lexington, MI. My time spent with the Stayer’s was primarily dedicated to wreck diving and video editing. The Stayers own a company named Out of the Blue Productions, which focuses on documentaries concerning the rich history of the Great Lakes immortalized by its shipwrecks. The Stayers have also written and edited a variety of books on the topic as well. During my stay, I had the opportunity to dive five shipwrecks in Lake Huron. The Stayers own a motorized catamaran that makes for an amazing dive platform. The Sport and the Strong were the first wrecks we dove. Both sat in about 30 feet of water, allowing for two, hour long, dives on both ships, all on a single 100 steel tank. While not much remained of Strong, as it had to be demolished, the Sport lies on its side and is nearly completely intact. Up until that point, I hadn’t done any wreck diving outside the New England area and was quite shocked to see the whistle, portholes, and a variety of other artifacts still on the hull. The following dive, we went out on the Mary Alice B and the Regina. The Mary Alice sits in about 100’ of water and is perched fully upright on the bottom. Like the Sport, everything is still on board. The wreck looked like it had just sunk and was easy to imagine cruising along on the surface. The Regina was the first “big” wreck. It sat in 80’ of water and was a 250’ steel hulled freighter. Just a single blade of the propeller was bigger than I was. The last day of diving was spent on the Northern Star. Another larger wreck, however, unlike the Regina, the Northern Star sits upright. However, time has taken its toll and much of the upper decks have completely collapsed in. However, most of the engine is still intact and the massive cylinders tower above the remains of the hull. The rest of the time was spent putting together the video presentation for the internship. Pat worked closely with me, helping me use Final Cut Pro. The long hours put into the presentation were rewarded with a spectacular looking final product. The Great lakes truly are a wreck divers paradise. I can’t wait to return. I would like to thanks Jim and Pat Stayer for hosting me and taking me on a tour of a small sample of what the Great lakes has to offer.