Sunday, October 7, 2007

Another day, another wreck

Chalk up another one for Great Lakes shipwreck hunters Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville.

The pair, who are avid recreational divers and shipwreck devotees from upstate New York, identified the wreck of the Canadian schooner Orcadian (which would have looked a lot like the boat pictured here) last week off Rochester in Lake Ontario. The found the old wooden schooner, encrusted with zebra mussels, seventy-five metres down in the lake's frigid depths.

The Orcadian had left Bayfield, Ontario, for Oswego, New York loaded with wheat in early May of 1858 when she was involved in a collision with the Chicago-bound Lucy J. Latham. The heavily laden Orcadian took only ten minutes to disappear beneath the surface, but her crew, which included Captain James Corrigal, his wife, and their two children, was lucky. They made it over to the Latham in time to save their skins, if not their ship.

Kennard and Scoville, who fund all of their shipwreck research out of their own pockets, have made names for themselves in the field by discovering over 200 Great Lakes wrecks over the past thirty-five years. (They also found the wreck of the schooner Milan in Lake Ontario last year. To read more about her, click here.) And it's certainly a labour of love; the vast majority of vessels lost on the Great Lakes carried not treasure but more mundane cargoes -- like wheat -- that were desperately needed to help settle what was then the frontier of European settlement.

To read the full Globe and Mail story, click here.

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