Geoff Barker started diving in his native England in 1966 with the BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club). Diving primarily off the southern coast of England, he attained the BSAC equivalent of instructor qualification. He soon realized he needed to record a what he was seeing, so he became an underwater photographer, using home–made equipment at first. There was not much shipwreck diving available at the time so the subjects were usually undersea life.
Pursuing new horizons in his engineering career, he emigrated to Ontario, Canada in 1975, knowing very little of the diving possibilities there – just that so great a body of waters as the Great Lakes must have something worth diving on! He soon discovered the amazing underwater marine heritage uniquely preserved by the cold fresh waters of the lakes – and realized that here was a lifetime project for a budding underwater photographer. He has since dove with various clubs including NDA, SOS, and Brock Scuba Club and often dives with his wife Linda from their small but seaworthy cruiser, taking a camera on almost every dive.
Over the years he has won a number of awards for his underwater photographs and has had a number of photographs published. His main photographic interest is in conveying through photography the unique aesthetic experience of seeing an historic shipwreck in situ. He prefers natural light with minimal artificial light. A long-range goal is to publish a photographic essay on Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Currently he uses sport diving technology for reasons of simplicity, but is considering going to nitrox and beyond to extend his photographic reach. Geoff now runs his own small Engineering Company.
David Mekker, a long-standing member of the Niagara Divers’ Association and indisputably its most avid diver, is Chair of Shipwrecks/2002. He has held that position for the last six years, and has been instrumental in bringing what began as a small show to the successful world-class event it is today.
Dave was certified in 1989, trained in Nitrox and Cave diving in 1992, and has since moved into deep and Trimix diving, with over 1,000 logged dives. His enthusiasm and “drive to dive” led him into underwater photography in 1992. His photography has centred around Great Lakes shipwrecks, resulting in awards at events such as the Ford Seahorses Great Lakes Film Festival. In 2000, Dave discovered a new passion for underwater videography – this will be his second presentation at Shipwrecks.
Michigan’s Alger Underwater Preserve.
Located on the North shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near the town of Munising, the Alger Underwater Preserve offers diving in Lake Superior that will fit into the range of all divers.
A treat for Lake Erie and Ontario divers, these wrecks are still free of zebra mussels and divers can see the detail without the encrustations we have on wrecks in the lower lakes.
Through a combination of David Mekker’s video and Geoff Barker’s still photographs, we will explore a few of the wrecks in this preserve, such as the Murray Bay, a 145-foot fully intact schooner laying in only 30 feet of water, and the Selvick tugboat which was intentionally sunk in June of 1996.