Nineteen to Intrigue
Lake Erie Technical Diving Guide, by Erik A Petkovic
Appeared in DIVER May 2019
It’s probably fair to say that awareness of wreck-diving in the five Great Lakes is not high on this side of the Atlantic, but in North America these bodies of water command a big following of divers, both for the quality of the diving and wreck preservation and the rich history of the ships lying in their depths.
These lakes are the size of seas, and although Erie, the southernmost, is the smallest by volume it still covers an area of nearly 14,000sq miles. Its shores take in Ontario in Canada and the US states of Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. And although this book is clearly labelled a technical-diving guide, its deepest point is not that far beyond air limits, at 64m.
Erik A Petkovic makes clear early on in this new book that he has a passion for research (even if that means long stretches of archival archaeology) and for getting the diving right.
Progressive penetration is his preferred approach under water, exploring a little further inside a wreck on each visit and really getting to know his way around before moving deeper inside.
Whether on a shipwreck or in a library, Petkovic is clearly one patient diver, but seemingly someone to trust.
Lake Erie might not be on your to-do list, but for those seeking new wreck-diving challenges it could be interesting. The author covers 19 wrecks here, divided into Deep, Tech and Trimix (beyond 56m).
Some, like the paddle-steamer Atlantic, merit 21 pages of history – much of it, in this case, about the fascinating 19th-century salvage operations – and half a page on how to dive it. Others, including a number that are unidentified, are all diving.
The writing is clear and descriptive, factfiles and safety tips are helpful and there are quite a few greenish underwater photos and illustrations. Nice cover too. Up for something new?
Softback, 178pp, 16x23cm, £19.95
Review by Steve Weinman