Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last call

On their last survey run of the season, shipwreck hunters Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville made another intriguing find in Lake Ontario, according to Friday's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The ship, which remains unidentified, certainly ranks among the oldest wrecks on the Great Lakes, dating back to the period of the War of 1812. According to the story, Kennard and Scoville think it may have drifted away from its dock and out into the middle of the lake, or perhaps had been under tow, when it went down.

The ship is a rare "dagger-board schooner," a type of vessel that was only used for a short time on the Great Lakes. Apparently, the dagger-board was a wooden plank that acted like a keel, and could be dropped to provide additional stability while under sail. Conversely, when the ship made port, the board could be raised in order to clear the bottom.

You can read the full Rochester Democrat and Chronicle story (which includes an amazingly clear photo of the bow section) here. also has a number of photos, more information, and an informative YouTube video, here.

Finds by Kennard and Scoville have been mentioned on this blog before. They have a long history of tracking down shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, including that of the HMS Ontario, thought to be the Lakes' oldest identified wreck, which went down in a storm way back in 1780. You can read about that historic vessel here.

Shoulder injury update: Thanks so much for the kind notes about the state of my now-reattached shoulder joint. It seems to be coming along well, though I must admit the sling is taking some getting used to. I had to be gently reminded today that, no, I can't ride my bike to go out and run errands tomorrow. Oh, well. At least the next paddling season is still a long way off.

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