Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great day at Great Lakes Underwater...

The Great Lakes Underwater Event co-hosted on Saturday, March 7th in Oswego by the New York Sea Grant and the Oswego Maritime Foundation proved, once again, to be an outstanding venue for presentations and discussions on underwater topics, and especially those affecting the Great Lakes. Keynote speaker Jim Kennard delivered two tour-de-force contributions. In the first, he caught the audience up to developments in the process of bringing last year's discovery of HMS Ontario into the public eye. Jim expects that an agreement concluded with a media production company will result before long in a film that allows everyone to enjoy 'access' to the historic shipwreck while providing an accurate context and background to its original role and purpose. His second talk, in the afternoon, focused on three shipwrecks discovered in the deeper waters of Lake Ontario, including the only surviving dagger-board schooner believed to exist.

Other speakers talked about such varied subjects as 'Mapping the Titanic', which outlined the effort to catalogue and geo-locate the artifacts recovered from that incredible site and the story of the U.S. Navy's first warship to sail the Great Lakes, the USS Oneida - an American participant in the War of 1812.

For those who wonder whether this event is worth the 200 Km drive from Kingston, which, incidentally, runs through some of the most beautiful countryside in Upper New York State, I can honestly say - Yes...

Congratulations - and a sincere thank you - to the organisers and their sponsors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sad day underwater at the Morton Street Wharf, access will soon disappear with the underwater dock at risk in the future as well.

Presented last night at a public forum in Kingston was the proposed Queens Performing Arts Centre at the Morton Street Wharf off of King Street. Long a neighborhood and community park for the launch of kayaks, swimmers, windsurfers, and scuba divers both east and west of the Stella Buck Building, this area has been offloaded by the city to Queens and will be no longer part of the public waterfront. Shore side access is set to disappear permanently. This site now has shoreline parking and direct access to the lake with an entry nothing like the break walls, boulders, and barricades found elsewhere. It would be a shame if more attention is not brought to the loss of this site by this blog.

Presented by the prime architects Snohetta at the public forum last night for public input, lacking were any details of the shoreline design certainly underway (more than likely by the local engineering firm responsible for most of shoreline alterations the last few decades in the Kingston area; HCCL) in a probable parallel process. Snohetta prides itself on integrating with the landscape but is absolving itself of the responsibility to enshrine and improve access cloaked in the guise of the separate approval process required with the conservation authority and the federal government. Queens has stated a desire to allow access to the waterfront, most likely it seems now that will include only the tweed clad and bespectacled by day and the crystal in hand evening gown set by night and not the dive clubs and others of the past.

Imagine shoreline boulders like those in front of the Time sculpture and parking set well back from the water’s edge and Queens Campus Security to complete the picture. There are some rumors of plans that show a dock over the underwater Morton Street Wharf. It would be a shame if the City of Kingston, Queens, and Snohetta eliminate the convenient and unique access to this historic underwater site.