Niagara Diver’s Shipwreck Symposium – April 13, 2024

Jimmy Lockard promoting the Ontario Marine Heritage Committee in 2023

This year several OMHC Members will be presenting.

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Producer Yvonne Drebert and Director/Cinematographer Zach Melnick are the founders of Inspired Planet Productions. From their home on the beautiful Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula in Ontario, Canada, the husband-and-wife team have created more than 40 hours of nature and history documentary spanning two decades, including the 2021 Canadian Screen Award nominated series, Striking Balance. Driven by a profound concern for the global decline of freshwater ecosystems, Drebert and Melnick have embarked on a dedicated mission into the underwater world. Using cutting-edge ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles), they immerse themselves in rarely seen aquatic environments, capturing extraordinary wildlife behaviours, and even discovering the occasional shipwreck. Their mission is threefold: to inspire the public, deepen scientific understanding, and enlighten decision-makers about the freshwater ecosystems we all depend on.

All Too Clear: Using ROVs to Explore the Great Lakes

Documentary filmmakers, Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick, are using cutting-edge underwater drones to explore how quadrillions of tiny invasive mussels are re-engineering the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, at a scale not seen since the glaciers. While shooting for their latest film, All Too Clear, the team made an unexpected discovery – the wreck of the Africa. The ship was lost during an early season snowstorm in 1895, with eleven sailors aboard. In the summer of 2023 Melnick and Drebert found the wreck off the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula – to solve the 128-year-old mystery of what became of the Africa.

Kayla Martin represents the upcoming generation of shipwreck divers and since 2014 has shared her passion at conferences across North America. She promotes preserving historic shipwrecks and low-impact diving as the Heritage Ambassador for Save Ontario Shipwrecks and serves on the board of Ontario Marine Heritage Committee.
She volunteers as a member of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association Dive Team and assists the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society in creating 3D photogrammetry models.
Selected as a 2023 Royal Canadian Geographical Society Expedition Grantee, she is currently leading an expedition to document the Oliver Mowat, an intact Great Lakes schooner.

The Oliver Mowat: The Race Against Time

Join Kayla as she leads team members Jill Heinerth and Charlotte Pilon-McCullough to explore the three-masted schooner, the OLIVER MOWAT, in the waters of Prince Edward County region of eastern Ontario. The OLIVER MOWAT was considered the crown jewel of the Millhaven shipyards when launched in 1873 and her career lasted 48 years, representing the last of the era of wind and sail. Lost in 1921 and re-found in 2004, the wreck was kept secret for its protection. Come discover this amazing wreck with Kayla as part of a 2023 Royal Canadian Geographical Society Flag Expedition!

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