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Minnedosa
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden schooner/barge
Location

 Harbour Beach, Lake Huron

Depth  210 feet
Length  243 feet
Built  1890
Sank  1905
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

The Minnedosa was the largest Canadian sailing vessel ever built in Canada. There is a certain aura that you expect when you are diving one of "the" sites, you hope there will still be some of "the" mystique about it. And in this case, there is.

Although the Minnedosa was four masted she was never intended to work under sail. She came along towards the end of the era of the wooden ship and would be towed as a barge, and that is precisely what happened when she sunk. While one of two barges being towed behind a steamer she foundered in a particularly violent gale and went to the bottom.

Divers able to reach these depths will find a truly exceptional wreck. The stern (the only part I’ve visited) is quite in tact. The masts are down but the yardarms are still there, along with a few mast hoops, the yawlboat rests on the lake bottom just off the port rail aside the leading edge of the aft cabin which has collapsed and is askew. On top of the aft cabin is a nice skylight, a section of ladder, portholes, and a small torpedo-like device that was used for measuring boat speed. As of Sept. 2004 the wreck still had very few mussels on it, but did have a very fine layer of silt which could be easily disturbed.
 

 

Dunderburg
Jul 24th, 2009 by Tom

Wreck Summary

Type  Shipwreck
Build  Wooden
Location

 Harbor Beach, Lake Huron

Depth  158 feet
Length  186 feet
Built  1867
Sank  1868
Access  Boat
Experience Level  Technical
Orientation

 Upright

When you hear about a wreck for years and how good it’s supposed to be you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The word on the Dunderburg was that it had a one of a kind figurhead under the bowsprit, and was suitably in tact to make it one of the most interesting wrecks in the Great Lakes. That’s a tall order, and one it does not disappoint on.

For a wreck that has no wheel, no standing masts. the rudder detached, and considerable stern damage, it’s still a gorgeous site.

The figurehead is… just weird. Theories abound as to what it is, with suggestions ranging the gambit from alligator to platypus. I was going to reserve judgment until I saw it for myself, and I can conclusively say I still don’t know what the heck it is. The mouth could be jaws or a bill, it has four little stumps for legs, and the tail blends into the underside of the bowsprit. This is the most famous part of the wreck due in no small part to the lack of definitive identification, and I’m certainly not gonna change that any.

Inside there’s little of what would pass for cargo (corn), leaving the massive gash in the starboard side where she was hit by the steamer Empire State as the most interesting feature. The masts are down, and the pulleys and crosstree are still nicely in tact on the forward mast which lies just off the port bow, and makes for an interesting photo with the wreck in the background thanks to amazing Lake Huron visibility. As of August 2004 the number of zebra mussels is still relatively small, with only the metal parts being covered, but that may not last long if what has happened in other lakes is anything to go by. Also of interest on the wreck are the fife rails, belay pins, mast hoops at the base of the snapped-off mast,  and the two sizeable bow anchors.

 

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