Joyce Hayward-1998

Joyce Hayward began diving in 1982.  During her diving career she has served as the Great Lakes Director of the Atlantic Alliance for Maritime Heritage, and the Vice President of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, where she served as chair of the Divers Coordination Committee.  She is the President of the Ohio Chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks.  Joyce has held various offices with the Ohio Council of Skin and Scuba Divers, where she is presently the Secretary and serves as Chair of the Legislative Action Committee.  Joyce earned “Diver of the Year” upon three occasions for the state of Ohio. 

She also was appointed by the Governor of Ohio to serve on the Maritime Advisory Council, a management advisory committee for the shipwrecks of Lake Erie.  She has received the Order of Excellence from AMHC, the Distinguished Service Award from the Ohio Council of Skin and Scuba Divers and the Director’s Achievement Award from Save Ontario Shipwrecks and recently was inducted into the Women Divers’ Hall of Fame. Joyce is an Assistant Instructor, Master Diver, Technical and Tri-mix diver and member of IANTD.  She has been involved in deep, over 160 ft., diving since 1988. 

Joyce has organized and helped to instruct Archaeological training workshops in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois,  and Indiana.  Joyce has been featured in several videos and television documentaries including Michigan in Depth, and has been featured in Voices of the Lakes and The Best Adventure Yet.  Her photography has appeared in various publications and she has given presentations all over the United States and Canada.  She is often referred to as “The Lady of the Lakes.” 

David Mekker, a long-standing member of the Niagara Divers’ Association and indisputably its most avid diver, is Chair of Shipwrecks/2005.  He has held that position for the last eight 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 third presentation at Shipwrecks.

The Christmas Tree Wreck

The Story of the Christmas Schooner, the Rouse Simmons:  At the turn of the century, many captains attempted to carve out a living by using old schooners to carry lumber and other goods from port to port.  Many chanced a final run bringing Christmas trees to people in regions where none were available. 

This is the story of the most famous Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, a small schooner resting in Lake Michigan under 165 feet of cold, but often very clear water.  She is one of the most popular shipwrecks in Wisconsin and each year divers from all over the Great Lakes come to see her.

Her story is compelling, her images touch the heart, and the dive is immensely interesting. The Story of the Christmas Tree Ship is fascinating to both divers and non-divers. The program will hightlight the events leading up to her loss, how she has been commemorated, and how she appears today. 

Her story is captivating and has inspired beautiful artistic paintings, song, musicals, television performances, magazine articles and books.

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