Lake Charlevoix

The Keuka

Al Capone. A floating Prohibition speakeasy complete with dance floor. A quiet getaway on Charlevoix that kept its secrets during a time when secrets had to be kept. “The Keuka” has a reputation and a story that precedes it.

Our second day of diving with Towboat US took us out to her final resting place. She’s a good size wooden boat supposedly owned by Al Capone resting in 50 feet or so of freshwater. The back end is the only portion of the boat not still intact. Somebody wanted one of the props, so they dynamited them both off after Prohibition ended and Al Capone was behind bars. T

What a fantastic dive site! The wooden boat is largely intact with tons of huge bass and walleye calling it home. Bluegill and crappie are all over this thing and local fisherman take advantage. There are several large openings in the deck where a properly trained diver can drop in and scope out the innards. The bow of the ship holds some interesting mechanical relics, along with a lot of crappie. Visibility usually runs between 20 and 100 feet depending on what time of year you visit. The best viz can be had during the annual ice dive. The locals drive their vehicles out on the ice and cut an access hole. How cool is that?

If you get a chance, add this dive to your list. Captain John will take you to “The Elizabeth” and “The Keuka” in the same trip. “The Keuka” is good for multiple dives. You could really spend a lot of time on this one. We were very happy with the two dives we got to spend at this site and of course, we are suckers for a great story.

 

The Elizabeth

We spent the day after our night dive in West Traverse Bay tearing off the second half of the barn roof and slapping on shingles. It rained and alternated between hot enough to sweat and cold enough to shiver. Thankfully, my lovely aunt kept us well fed and hydrated. That evening was spent with friends of my aunt and uncle and we were treated to a delicious home cooked feast complete with Michigan sweet corn. We talked and laughed and stayed up way too late, especially considering the dive schedule for the next day.

We had to be up at Lake Charlevoix by 9am. That meant a 545am wake up so we could make the drive. With much hesitation and with the warm sheets calling to us, we managed to get out of bed and on the road towards our first Michigan boat dives.

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Our spirits came up with the sun and by the time we arrived, we were ready to dive. Our captain and crew were John and his his son John. Great guys with a little place up there called NorthWest SCUBA. John’s craft is the Towboat US which he also charters to do groups throughout the year. They can run six divers at a time and we cannot recommend these guys enough. They were extremely helpful getting gear on and off the boats, helping us get gear donned, and of course were very knowledgeable about the lake.

We were greeted on the dock and Captain John showed us his credentials. As we got everything situated and headed out onto the lake, the grogginess had disappeared. The sun was up and skies were clear. An absolutely gorgeous day.

Our first stop was actually in Round Lake which connects to Charlevoix. The first wreck sits in 60 feet of water. Exactly 60 feet if you lay on the bottom. Ask how we know! “The Elizabeth” is a small tug whose owner scuttled it back in the 1960’s for the insurance money. The company got wise to the scheme and off to jail he went. Now she is a nice little attraction for divers and a regular hangout for our fish friends. Check it out!