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Learn about Lake Ontario's underwater past

   The USS Ontario was on her way from Fort Niagara in Youngstown to Oswego and Fort Haldimand on Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence River during the Revolutionary War when she sunk in a gale in Canadian waters on Oct. 31, 1780.

   The discovery of the Great Lakes' oldest confirmed shipwreck -- a British warship used in the American Revolution -- is the keynote presentation for Saturday's Great Lakes Underwater conference at Oswego State College.

   Underwater explorer Jim Kennard, who might be called the "Great Lakes Seaway Trail's Jacques Cousteau," will share the exciting story of how he and diving partner Dan Scoville located the HMS Ontario, considered an underwater "Holy Grail."

   Those attending the Great Lakes Underwater event hosted by New York Sea Grant and the Oswego Maritime Foundation will see a video of the fascinating 229-year-old, 80-foot-long, 22-gun ship and hear the details of her discovery using deep-water sonar scanning.

   The video images will reveal how well the deep, cool Great Lakes' water of Lake Ontario preserved her two crow's nests, carved bow, quarter galleries, anchors and upright masts.

   Kennard and Scoville found the sloop-of-war in 500 feet of water May 2008.

   The ship is considered property of the British Admiralty and is to be left undisturbed as a war grave site.

   "We are pleased to add our name alongside National Geographic, Sea Technology and others who have recognized the depth and scope of his exploration into the waters of New York," conference co-organizer David G. White, a coastal recreation and tourism specialist with New York Sea Grant in Oswego said in a press release.

   During the past six years, Kennard has discovered 12 historic and rare shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. In his 40-year career, he counts more than 200 discoveries total exploring in Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes, and the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

   Great Lakes Underwater 2010 will be held in the Oswego State Campus Center Auditorium. Registration is $25 ($20 for students) payable to Cornell University and includes the program, buffet lunch, and refreshments.

   For more information, call Sea Grant at (3150 312-3042 or visit www.oswegomaritime.org/glu.html.

 

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