Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg, well-known maritime historians, scuba divers, authors, lecturers, photographers, and videographers, are a Chicago-area husband-and-wife team who love to explore shipwrecks, particularly those in the Great Lakes. They both have underwater archaeology certifications from Great Britain’s Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS).
Joan has a degree in History and has been the Chairman of the Shipwrecks and our Maritime Heritage Room at Chicago’s Our World – Underwater Show since 1996. She is the author of the scuba celebrity cook-and-tell book, Diver’s Guide to the Kitchen, and articles in magazines such as Immersed, Great Lakes Boating, and Wreck Diving (for which she works as Copy Editor). Joan appears behind the camera shooting underwater video, and in front of the camera as Cris’ underwater model. In her three terms as President of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago (2008, 2009, 2010), she spearheaded several significant maritime history projects, particularly the sinking of the historic ship named the Buccaneer as the newest shipwreck site off Chicago. Joan was inducted into the international Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2010.In 2011 she was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and received the Underwater Archaeological Society Award for “many years of leadership and dedication”.
Cris, a prize-winning underwater photographer with a Master’s Degree in History, is originally from Windsor, Ontario, was on the Board of the Ontario Underwater Council for nine years, is a Past President of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago (2004), was the 2008 recipient of the annual Our World—Underwater Outstanding Achievement Award and has written twelve books and more than 325 magazine and newsletter articles about Great Lakes shipwrecks. He has appeared on numerous television programs, including on the History Channel several times and on the Discovery Channel. He has helped locate and identify many shipwrecks. His most recent book is the expanded Great Lakes Diving Guide, the most comprehensive book ever published about Great Lakes shipwrecks.In 2013, he received the Save Ontario Shipwrecks Marine Heritage Award.
Co-authors of the recent books, The Christmas Tree Ship and Shipwrecks at Death’s Door, co-editors of the 2010 book Our World—Underwater: The First 40 Years, and producers of several commercial DVDs about Great Lakes shipwrecks, Cris and Joan are currently working on more shipwreck book collaborations. Cris & Joan’s web site is Seawolf Communications.
“The Great Storm of 1913”
The worst storm in recorded Great Lakes history occurred on November 8-10, 1913. Severe and wide-ranging, this fury destroyed 12 ships with all lives lost, in four of the five Great Lakes — although Lake Huron was the worst hit, with the loss of eight steel freighters with everyone who was on board — and did serious damage to several dozen more vessels.
Learn about these unfortunate ships and hear some unusual tales about sailors who struggled with this epic upheaval, including the case of a body wearing the lifejacket from another lost ship, the man who attended his own funeral, and information about many more individual sailors lost in the storm.
Find out about the modern discoveries of most of these tragic shipwrecks, including the most recent one, located in May, 2013, deep in Lake Superior, take an underwater look at several more of these ships, and learn about the few shipwrecks that still await discovery — all victims of that same 1913 Storm.