Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Shipwreck Found in the Great Lakes

My Michigan-born blood still responds to the murmured sounds and memories of the Great Lakes. Summer days were sometimes spent building impossible sand castles on a Grand Haven beach, which Lake Michigan promptly demolished. (It didn't matter by then, as we'd moved on to pop and foot-long hot dogs.)

Even better, some of our vacations were spent on the shores of Lake Superior. The water was strangely cold, even on a sweltering July day, and we were warned to be careful -- the lake shelved off fast and "no one had ever found the bottom." Indian petroglyphs could be found on the rocks, and we picked up nicely polished agates and petoskey stones. If we were lucky, we'd even stop at Fort Mackinac (pronounced "Mackinaw" for you non-Michiganders) and grab some fudge and smoked fish for the ride home.

It's little surprise, then, that I learned to love stories of shipwrecks and hidden treasure of the Great Lakes. And the newest one: an early 1800s "dagger-board" schooner has been found upright in 500-plus feet of water, still cruising Lake Ontario:

Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville, who also found the HMS Ontario, a British warship lost in 1780 (and found in May 2008), discovered the mystery schooner while doing underwater surveys of Lake Ontario. Its name and date of sinking are unknown -- because anything of value seems to have been stripped from the ship, Kennard and Scoville are speculating that it was being converted for other use when it sank.

Dagger board ships have a long plank extending out past the keel. The ship was more seaworthy and could be maneuvered in shallow waters other boats would have difficulty with. However, the design was rare, and few of these vessels have been found.

Click on the video at the bottom of the post, and you'll see a stem-to-stern view of the mystery vessel. Cool...

Read a more detailed report here:

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Big chinook winds today -- lots of blowing and fussing, but surprisingly warm. They're dying down now, and huge billowy storm clouds fill the horizon above the mountains. Some of the furthest mountains back already wear a curtain of snow. Not surprising, considering we had a spectacular red-and-yellow sunrise this morning, topped off by a huge white full moon. (The last time the moon was this close to the earth, it was 1993.)

Red sky in morning, sailors take warning...

1 comment:

Allison Ann Aller said...

So cool that you posted this, Cindy!

The only "daggerboard" I ever knew of before this was the one I used to push into the slot in our little Sailfish on Lake Mich as I headed out over the waves to go for a sail. It operated on exactly the same principle as this schooner's.

And after my blissful hours out of site of land sailing on the lake, on the way in to land I would have to hold the sail's controlling line, or "sheet", in my teeth as I pushed the daggerboard back in as we passed the sandbar on the way in to shore.

These sailing memories are so precious to me....and your post evoked them.
Thank you!

Congratulations, Ana and Tyler!

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