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Get Into Your Sanctuary free with shipwreck cruises & films this weekend

Submitted by Phil Heimerl on May 18, 2018 – 12:02 amNo Comment


In celebration of national “Get Into Your Sanctuary Weekend,” six free, special shipwreck cruises on the Lady Michigan glass-bottom boat and an evening of free films that highlight recent remarkable adventures in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Great Lakes will be available to the community.

The free shipwreck cruises will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

“Get Into Your Sanctuary” Film Night, also free and open to the public, is on Saturday, May 19, 7 p.m. at the NOAA Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center Theater. Freshly baked donuts will be provided courtesy of Neiman’s Family Market to the first 250 people in line for tickets.

This weekend’s Lady Michigan cruises will be unique in that they will delve deeper into one specific shipwreck, the Monohansett, and the role Thunder Bay Island’s Life Saving Station played in rescuing the crew on November 23, 1907. The ship burned to the water’s edge at Thunder Bay Island. Most of the crew lost their personal belongings and some suffered burns, but there was no loss of life because the ship was near the island’s Life Saving Station. Today, the Monohansett’s wreck lies in three sections. The stern portion has hull features, propeller, and the shaft all in place, and the boiler is nearby.

The last Coast Guard officer in charge of the Thunder Bay Island Coast Guard Station was Alpena resident, Walt Plohocky. Plohocky had a 26-year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, serving at Thunder Bay Island from 1970 to 1974. He will share his recollections of operating rescue boats, the light house and crew as part of his 16=hour work days on Thunder Bay Island during the 1 p.m. cruises this weekend. (See picture attached.)

The Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council in November 2017 to develop the special programming.

“We are very appreciative of the grant support from the Michigan Humanities Council and it’s national affiliate, the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Chuck Wiesen, Friends of TBNMS Board President. “The Monohansett is a favorite of area divers and probably one of the most frequently photographed shipwrecks in Thunder Bay. This grant gives us the important opportunity to shine light on the heroic, as well as tragic, human stories that are part of our Great Lakes maritime history.”

In addition to the six cruises open to the community this weekend, nine cruises will be provided to area nonprofits that serve youth, seniors and families, military personnel, veterans, and first responders over the next several weeks.

A grant from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for $10,000 will help the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary encourage people throughout the Great Lakes area to “Get Into Their Sanctuary” throughout the 2018 peak recreational tourism season.

“Alpena Shipwreck Tours (AST) is fortunate to draw thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and its outstanding collection of shipwrecks,” said AST Manager Andrew Augustyn. “We are thrilled and honored to give those who live in the local area who might not have had a chance to explore the shipwrecks and learn about the region’s maritime history yet, a chance to do so.

Tickets for the free cruises will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis starting at 8:00 a.m., Saturday morning, May 19 at NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 West Fletcher Street, Alpena.

Individuals, 16 years or older can get up to four tickets each and select which cruise time they would like based on availability. Ticketing will wrap up once all six cruises are filled. If weather conditions require that any of the cruises be cancelled, ticket holders can use their tickets on a future cruise through June 30, 2018. No advance reservations will be accepted for the free tickets.

Get Into Your Sanctuary Film Night

With doors opening on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. in NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center Theater, the “Get Into Your Sanctuary” Film Night will start at 7 p.m. The featured films premiered during the week of the 2018 Thunder Bay International Film Festival in January. They capture the motivation and inspiration for encouraging people to get outdoors, explore, and treasure our Great Lakes and Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Get Into Your Sanctuary Film Night features include:

Crossing Lake Huron (Michigan), 30 min
Corey Adkins

Experience the white-knuckle thrill of three men attempting to cross Lake Huron from Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to Tobermorey, Ontario on nothing but stand up paddle boards. This 90-mile open water crossing travels through Shipwreck Alley and some of the most treacherous waters in the world. This is their story and what makes their charity different from the rest. The film won Michigan Association of Broadcasters 2018 “Best Special Interest Programming” and “Best News Special” awards, and the Associated Press’ “Best Documentary” award.

Michigan Micro Adventures – Vol. 1 Paddle Albany Bay (Michigan), 10 min
Zachary R. Irving

Neighboring the clear freshwater of Lake Huron, Presque Isle is a haven of history and culture that entices outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. With a variety of trails at the new Albany Bay Nature Preserve and among the harbor and lighthouses, the peninsula screams ADVENTURE! In the inaugural episode of Michigan Micro Adventures, Gary and Ely brave the open water and kayak from Presque Isle Harbor to the southern part of Albany Bay where lies the remains of a shipwreck, preserved since 1853.

The Big Five Dive (Michigan), 28 min
Elizabeth Kaiser

The Big Five Dive is an adventure documentary about a group of women attempting to dive one historic site in all five Great Lakes in under 24 hours, in an effort to raise awareness of women in SCUBA diving, a historically male-dominated sport and career. Set against the backdrop of some of the Great Lakes estimated 6,000 shipwrecks, this group of women show that there is a place for everyone underwater. Was featured in the Detroit Free Press 2018 FREEP Film Festival.

Get Into Your Sanctuary Weekend Schedule:

“Get Into Your Sanctuary” Community Free Shipwreck Cruises

8:00 a.m.             Doors Open for Tickets for both Saturday and Sunday, First-Come, First Serve

10:00 a.m.           Free Cruise for ticket holders

1:00 p.m.             Free Cruise for ticket holders

4 p.m.                   Free Cruise for ticket holders

“Get Into Your Sanctuary” Community Free Film Night

6:30 p.m.             Doors Open for “Get Into Your Sanctuary” Film Night

7:00 p.m.             Crossing Lake Huron, Corey Adkins (30 mins.)

Michigan Micro Adventures, Zachary R. Irving (10 mins.)
The Big Five Dive, Elizabeth Kaiser (28 mins.)

“Get Into Your Sanctuary” Community Free Shipwreck Cruises

10:00 a.m.           Free Cruise for ticket holders

1:00 p.m.             Free Cruise for ticket holders

4 p.m.                   Free Cruise for ticket holders

For questions, call 989-884-6210 or email: kwolf@thunderbayfriends.org

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