Harbor Beach, Lake Huron
|| 158 feet
|| 186 feet
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.