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Monday, November 09, 2015

And then there were three.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote about the "White Hurricane of 1913," easily the most devastating storm in the recorded history of the Great Lakes. Twelve ships and 275 sailors perished in that monstrous event. As of when I wrote it, five ships had yet to be discovered.

In 2013, that number dwindled to four with the finding of the Henry B. Smith in Lake Superior.

According to today's Free Press, the number has dropped to three, with the remarkable find of the Hydrus by a determined crew of divers back in July

Since the Great Storm of 1913, the 436-foot steamship Hydrus had been lost. It sank, most likely on Nov. 9 of that year, during a storm so ferocious it has been called the “White Hurricane.” The sky unleashed a blizzard over the Great Lakes, hitting Lake Huron  hardest with wind gusts up to 90 m.p.h. and waves to 35 feet. The Great Storm, even today, is the worst recorded on the lakes. Not even the weather that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald 40 years ago this week compares to the 1913 disaster. There were a dozen major shipwrecks from Nov. 7 through 10, and eight of them were on Lake Huron. More than 250 people perished. The Hydrus had been headed south toward the St. Clair River, iron ore in its belly. The ship lost everyone on board, a crew of 22, including five found frozen to death in a lifeboat that washed up in Canada.
Since that time, every ship believed to have gone down in U.S. waters in Lake Huron was discovered except the Hydrus. Veteran shipwreck hunter David Trotter, a 74-year-old former Ford financial man who lives in Canton, has had it on his wanted list for 30 years. Along the way, he has found scores of other ships and even a few airplanes as he scours Lake Huron’s bottom every year with his crew. It was Trotter who, in 1985, found another of the 1913 casualties, the John A. McGean, which was heading north in Lake Huron with a load of coal when it went down.
On the day they dove the Hydrus, he and his crew set out on his 32-foot dive boat, the Obsession Two, bringing along a Free Press crew. Trotter remains tight-lipped about the locations of some of his finds, so all that can be revealed here is that Trotter’s boat ran 32 miles out on the lake to the spot where the Hydrus lay waiting. He plans to share the location only after he is done investigating the wreck.
A great story with great pictures. Read the whole thing.

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