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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

40 Years Ago Today - The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald
The Edmund Fitzgerald was built to be just one foot shorter than the length of a ship allowed to go through the Saint Lawrence Seaway - 729 feet. It was the largest ship ever sunk by the weather in the Great Lakes. The ship was made famous by the song by Canadian - Gordon Lightfoot. In the song he describes the "Witch of November" - the formidable storms of the fall that can produce 65 miles per hour winds and up to 50 foot high waves.

The ship was hauling 26000 tons of iron ore pellets from Wisconsin to Detroit. 40% of all Great Lakes' shipwrecks occur in November.

The ship is lying on the bottom - broken into two large pieces with a pile of iron ore pellets between the pieces - covered by 500 feet of water. 

At that time in 1975 - depth finding was still done by throwing a rope over the side with a sinker on it - and then counting the number of knots on the rope - one knot for each 6 feet of depth - a fathom. 

The insurance company paid off a claim of $26 million for the wreck. 29 crew members all died. 

In 1913 - a hurricane sunk 19 ships in Lake Huron - killing 254  persons. No one wrote a song about that. 

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