The Great Lakes Big Five Dive

May 2017

Last year, a group of adventurous women -- including staff from Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary -- dived one historic site in each of the five Great Lakes in 24 hours. Watch our video to hear why they did it.


My name is Stephanie Gandulla and I am an underwater archaeologist.

I currently work for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the only freshwater national marine sanctuary in the whole U.S.

We were designated to protect a collection of shipwrecks.

The Big Five Dive became an event that we wanted to put together with PADI Women's Dive Day to bring awareness to women divers and also bring awareness to the Great Lakes and all the natural resources.

If you're not familiar with the Great Lakes it's hard to really fathom how massive they are and what a commitment it is to get to all five of them, whether you're diving or driving.

I mean to get to all five of them is a feat.

And so the people that know the Great Lakes know that that's something to be proud of. I'm super happy we're going to

I'm super happy we're going to make one stop in Lake Huron at the Joseph Fay at Forty Mile Point Light.

That's great.

We're going to go to a sanctuary shipwreck but it's also at a historic lighthouse which there's this whole kind of maritime landscape in the Great Lakes that remind you of how important the shipping was to go to those efforts to build all these lighthouses all along the coast.

The wreck was in beautiful condition and we went down and the sun hadn't come up yet but the clouds were light pink.

And when we came up from our ten minutes underwater the sun had been shining and it was just beautiful and it felt like I was in a dream, to be honest.

And then I swam on my back the entire way back to shore looking at the sunrise.

You know, I think it's pretty important is really recognizing the rich cultural history that we have here in the Great Lakes.

As an underwater archaeologist that's really one of my main focuses, is people understanding how special these shipwrecks are.