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World traveler Nancy Washburne decided that after visiting 137 countries around the globe, she wanted to introduce her teenage son to the beauty of her native Michigan. Being an experienced scuba diver who has dived and snorkeled in the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, Truk Lagoon, Palau, Papua, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, Fiji, Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Cozumel, and other Caribbean islands, she felt that Michigan inland lakes would offer a great variety of snorkeling experiences for her family. Little did she know what this exploration was going to bring.


After several negative responses to her inquiries about where she could find the best inland lakes to snorkel, she realized that the information was not available anywhere. With her curiosity unsatisfied Nancy Washburne embarked on what would end up being a six-year field research study covering over a thousand inland lakes all over Michigan.

By herself, Nancy drove over 200 miles a day during spring, summer and fall of 1992-1997 snorkeling over a thousand public access Michigan inland lakes. With the discipline of a scientist, she kept copious notes of every experience, detailing the types of vegetation, names of resident fish and their locations.


To complement her research, Nancy, an experienced underwater photographer, took over 700 hours of video that she later painstakingly edited herself, which resulted in three outstanding 24-minute videos. The PBS TV show “Michigan Out of Doors” introduced Nancy, her book and her video during their March 26, 1998 TV program. Since then, Nancy has made nine presentations at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, as well as during the 30th Anniversary of Our World-Underwater. For additional information please refer to our Video Section.

For someone who has experienced the best diving and snorkeling sites that the world has to offer, Nancy was thrilled by the beauty and excitement found in Michigan inland lakes. She was not expecting so much color or the great variety of fish, large and small, along with the beautiful vegetation. When you add all of these to the enjoyment of snorkeling, you end up with one of the most therapeutic and energizing activities that the whole family can engage in, virtually around the corner for those fortunate enough to reside in or near Michigan.


“In addition to providing detailed information on 480 inland lakes for your snorkeling pleasure, “Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes” brings you a wealth of information about the sport, including photography. Nancy’s lively and colloquial literary style grabs the attention of the reader, even of people who have never snorkeled.

Fishing enthusiasts are among those who love to sit down and read what she has to say about a particular lake and its fish population. Bob Garner, the popular former host of the Michigan Out of Doors TV show told her “Nancy, I can’t be without your book--it lets me know what lakes I might like to fish.” The book is also popular with sailing enthusiasts, as it tells of many “no wake” lakes where sailors will not be bothered by personal watercraft.

Nancy Washburne is a lifelong resident of Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She founded the four Washburne Travel Centers in the Lansing area and, besides traveling the U.S. extensively, she has made numerous trips to Europe and the Middle East, the Far East, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Siberia and Outer Mongolia, Around the World, the Arctic and Antarctica, visiting a total of 137 countries and island groups.


As a certified scuba diver, her underwater experience includes dives at the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea, Truk Lagoon, the Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, Bonaire, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Manzanillo, Hawaii, the Florida Keys and an underwater photography course in Grand Cayman.

When she and her teenage son decided to explore camping in Michigan, she discovered that there was little or no knowledge of Michigan’s inland lakes from a snorkeling viewpoint. It was this lack of available information that spurred her to make an underwater survey of all of Michigan’s public access lakes so that snorkeling could be developed in Michigan as a leisure activity. Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes is the result of that survey.


She taught in the School of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University and the following is a link to her Spartan Saga:

To get your copy of the Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes, please click the "ORDER NOW' button to be directed towards the purchasing page.

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