Diving enthusiasts to take dip back in time during inaugural Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

IMPORTANT: All slots for the public to take part in this diving experience are SOLD OUT.

Christian Koellner

MILWAUKEE -- Diving enthusiasts will take a dip back in time during the inaugural Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally. The three-day diving event is being held at Discovery World Museum's south dock Friday, July 13, Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15.

"We've got a guy all the way from California that came to dive," said Bill Cauley, retired U.S. Navy First Class diver.

"We thought, no better place then Milwaukee, obviously, with all the dive history," said Christian Koellner, Lake Michigan Classic Diving Organization chairman.

DESCO, based in Milwaukee since the 1930s, is one of the last companies in the world that makes Mark V deep sea diving equipment. The vintage suit weighs close to 200 pounds.

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

"There's a helmet, breast plate. Then you have the weight belt, the weighted shoes. Then a canvas suit," said Cauley.

"I have been going to the gym seven days a week, and I have been training and training and training," said Jenny Creekmore, diver from Kansas.

All that weight requires at least two tenders to help each diver down the ladder.

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

"The helmets are hooked directly to an air supply, so you're constantly tethered to that air supply. There are no tanks involved, so it's not like scuba in any way. It's surface supplied air diving," said Koellner.

Once submerged, divers can even communicate with someone on the dock -- giving them free-rein as far as the cord allows.

"We're going out 100 foot, but to be honest with you, we have more air and umbilical than people have energy," said Cauley.

You don't have to be a pro to reach the bottom of the lake. This weekend, the public can don the old-fashioned gear and plunge into the deep-blue water.

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally

"It's the experience in the heavy gear. Whether you see anything or not, they say there might be fish down there, but who knows," said Koellner.

The Lake Michigan Classic Dive Rally opens to the public Friday, July 13 -- and is free to attend. Meantime, diving costs $50 and requires pre-registration.

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