Most people associate scuba diving with crystal clear waters, schools of colorful fish and tropical destinations. In reality though, there is much more to the sport than that. The numerous lakes, springs, rivers and sinkholes often available to divers right at their doorstep offer some fantastic sites with amazing landscapes and cool critters to discover. The WNY area, for instance, is famous for its world-class shipwreck dives. Two of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, touch state boundaries and had ship traffic for nearly 400 years. That’s 400 years of wrecks, many of which are perfectly preserved having sunk in fresh and relatively cold water.
This week we're going to talk about a shipwreck located in Lake Erie, about 10 miles off Barcelona, NY. The steel, propeller-driven steamer used to be called the "Tyneville" until Captain R. Scott Misener purchased the ship in 1928 for his firm, the Sarnia Steamship Company. He renamed the ship after a business ally, John J. Boland Jr. This steamer was a 1939-gross-ton ship that was constructed at the tail end of the boom years of the roaring 1920's. This vessel had crossed the North Atlantic Ocean and worked the Great Lakes for only four years before succumbing to one of Lake Erie's notorious squalls.