Today marks the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. RIP to the 29 dead and their families.
If you ever get up to the UP of Michigan, plan on visiting the Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum. It's pretty sobering.
Google and there are several books on it. I was a senior in high school at the time. Sure I heard the news, but with school all day, working the pizza joint all night to make ends meet, and party like crazy during all free awake hours, I didn't pay much attention. When the song came out, I wondered about it for years before I added 2+2 to get it. 17 years old and on my own will do that to a young punk.
cool thread, and I have done some research on that whole area including Lake Michigan, lots of ships lost , just not as famous
lyrics of that song were definitely painting a picture, and Lightfoot was a brilliant artist
thing that sorta bothers me is that this got more posts that the veteran day thread... nothing against anybody here, but maybe a little view into what our schools are teaching, or NOT teaching... or I just have a conspiracy thing going on
Actually, the theory is it hit "Caribou Shoal" early in the afternoon. The depth there is only slightly deeper than the draw of the ship under normal seas. With the storm it's assumed they tore the keel wide open.
Shorlty before disappearing, Capt. Bernie Cooper, who was shadowing the Fitzgerald and providing radar support (radar was out on the Fitzgerald) radioed to Capt. Mc Sorley asking how they were doing and the reply was, "We're holding our own." Moment later Cooper's vessel was hit from the stern by a 35' wave. Shortly after that transmission, she disappeared from radar.
The assumption for years has been that wave drove the bow to the bottom and with the engine going full speed, it drove the bow quite a ways along the bottom untl the torque generated twisted the ship and it broke in half. This explains the large furrow dug into the bottom, the forward section of the vessel is right side up, and the aft section is several hundred yards away, upside down. Also explains why there was no distress call.
I think I've watched every documentary on this shipwreck, it has intrigued me since I was a kid.
Another good title out there is Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes
I,m not certain, but I think it was pretty straightforward like The Story of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
What was the name of the book WSG? Sound interesting
So, can we assume that reef is charted now?
I read a book on this 30 some years ago. The thesis was it hit an uncharted reef that pierced the hull and caused the ship to list and take on water and then was too low in the water and could not recover from 1of those huge waves. That explains the captain's comment, "they were taking on water. It's a great book and talks about the ship, the crew, and other weather incidents similar to this one.
Its days like yesterday when we get the "witches of Novemeber" those icy northwest winds that drive 30 and 40 ft waves - thats when I think of the E. Fitzgerald.
I was reading some on this a year ago and what happens on the east end of the lake is that all the wind and water pressure gets funnelled into the narrow end of the lakeand will create a situation of multi-directional waves so that no matter which way a boat is oriented it canot control itself and "ride it out". Hence the ship is tossed in every direction and eventually capsizes or is broken from the stress. Ive been in that situation before with my kayak on big water waves going in every direction and it was scary hell for several hours. Thought for sure I was going to die there.