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Along the Detroit River at sunset.
(Photo by Geoff Kohl)
At Lake Erie's Point Pelee.
(Photo by Lara Hernandez Corkrey)
At Lake Superior's Whitefish Point
(Photo by Darryl Ertel)
At Chicago's Shedd Aquarium
(Photo by Lynn Funkhouser)
CRIS KOHL and JOAN FORSBERG, well-known maritime historians, divers, photographers, videographers, authors, and speakers, are a husband-and-wife team who love to explore shipwrecks, particularly those in the Great Lakes. Starting with a double major in French and Russian for a diplomatic career, Joan switched to completing a degree in History. Cris has degrees in English and Education, and a Master of Arts degree in History. Both have underwater archaeology certifications from Great Britain's Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS). Their Great Lakes Maritime History archives are one of the largest privately-held collections in the world.
Joan, from Chicago, Illinois, has been the Chairman of the Shipwrecks and Underwater Archaeology Room at Chicago's annual "Our World -- Underwater" Show since 1996. She is the author of the scuba celebrity cook-and-tell book, Diver's Guide to the Kitchen, and articles in magazines such as Immersed, Great Lakes Boating, Wreck Diving Magazine, and the Journal of Diving History. She has been the Copy Editor of Wreck Diving Magazine since 2006, and in 2018, she became Copy Editor for the Journal of Diving History. Joan appears behind the camera shooting underwater video, and in front of the camera as Cris' underwater model. She served three terms as President of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago (2008, 2009, 2010), during which time she spearheaded several significant maritime projects, including the sinking of the Buccaneer (ex-USCG Dexter), the only shipwreck in the entire Great Lakes that saw combat in World War Two. Joan is the recipient of the 2011 UASC Award "for many years of leadership and dedication." Joan is a member of the international Women Divers Hall of Fame, served as a Trustee of the WDHOF Board of Directors for several years, and was a three-term WDHOF Chairman of the Board in 2014-2017.
Cris, from Windsor, Ontario, is a prize-winning underwater photographer who was described in 2002 by California's Skin Diver Magazine as being "widely recognized as the world's preeminent Great Lakes wreck guru." He began writing about Great Lakes shipwrecks in 1982, and has had 300+ magazine and newsletter articles published since then, including several dozen in Canada's DIVER Magazine, plus one in every issue of Wreck Diving Magazine since its inception in 2003; in 2017, he also started writing a regular column in that publication called "From the Debris Field..." about shipwrecks in the news from around the world. His work has also appeared in publications such as The Saturday Evening Post, the Washington Post newspaper, and the Toronto Globe and Mail. He has helped locate and identify numerous Great Lakes shipwrecks, including several from the "Ghost Fleet of the St. Clair River" in 1993, and, in 2018, the historic Georgian Bay wrecks of the J. H. Jones and the Manasoo. He served on the Executive Board of the Ontario Underwater Council from 1988 to 1997, is a Past President of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago (2004), is the 2008 recipient of the annual "Our World -- Underwater" Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2013, he received the Save Ontario Shipwrecks Marine Heritage Award "for his extensive body of work contributing to widespread appreciation of Ontario's maritime heritage." His expanded edition of The Great Lakes Diving Guide is the most comprehensive book ever published about Great Lakes shipwrecks.
Both Cris and Joan have appeared on numerous television programs, including on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, CBS, and Chicago's WTTW, and their underwater video has been broadcast on PBS and Canada's CTV network. In 2018, they both took part in an Expedition Unknown television series episode with host Josh Gates about the Griffon, the first ship built -- and lost -- on the upper Great Lakes. Cris and Joan also wrote the book detailing the first 40 years of Chicago's annual "Our World -- Underwater" Scuba Show. Popular speakers, Cris and Joan are in great demand as presenters at many different venues, such as dive shows, museums, libraries, dive clubs, and historical societies. They began co-authoring in 2007, and now have a total of 18 published books to their credit. They also produced a variety of Great Lakes shipwreck maps, shipwreck postcards, and many maritime history documentaries.
Cris and Joan look forward to their next big adventure.
Joan Forsberg glides over the top of a boiler on the Lake Superior wreck of the tug, Columbus, in remote Gargantua Harbour, Ontario.
(Photo by Cris Kohl)
by Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg
Dive Southwestern Ontario! (1985; expanded edition 1988)
Shipwreck Tales: The St. Clair River (to 1900) (1987)
Dive Ontario! The Complete Guide to Shipwrecks and Scuba
Diving in Ontario (1990; expanded edition 1995)
Dive Ontario Two! More Ontario Shipwreck Stories (1994)
Treacherous Waters: Kingston's Shipwrecks (1997)
The 100 Best Great Lakes Shipwrecks, Volume I (1998; updated
The 100 Best Great Lakes Shipwrecks, Volume II (1998; updated
TITANIC, The Great Lakes Connections (2000)
The Great Lakes Diving Guide (2001; expanded edition 2008)
Diver's Guide to the Kitchen (2003)
Shipwreck Tales of the Great Lakes (2004)
Shipwrecks at Death's Door (2008)
Our World -- Underwater, The First 40 Years (Editors; 2010)
The Christmas Tree Ship (2012)
The Wreck of the GRIFFON (2014)
Great Lakes Shipwrecks: Recent Discoveries and Updates (2016)
Canada's 150 Most Famous Great Lakes Shipwrecks (2017)
Shipwreck Tales of Georgian Bay (2019)
Cris and Joan, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the annual Chicago dive show, were the editors and did all of the production work for Our World -- Underwater, The First 40 Years.
(Cover Photo by Nancy Boucha)
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