High Water Pushes 115-Year-Old Shipwreck Toward Michigan Shore

WWJ News
March 10, 2020 - 12:09 pm
Joseph S. Fay

(Photo: NOAA)

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ROGERS CITY, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - Officials say wreckage from a freighter that sank in Lake Huron around 115 years ago has moved toward Michigan's shoreline due to high water levels and waves, further weakening the ruins.

The Alpena News reports lighthouse caretaker Eric Klein said that one side of the Joseph S. Fay shipwreck had moved about 10 feet (3 meters) inland during an October storm.

He said now it has been pushed further even inland following a series of storms and estimates that is about 25 feet (7 meters) from its original location near the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, where it is crushed up against trees.

According to National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Joseph S. Fay — with the With the D.P. Rhodes in tow  — encountered a strong gale before it sank in northern Lake Huron on October 19, 1905. Fay hit the rocks at 40 Mile Point, the towline parted and the Rhodes met a similar fate at Cheboygan. The Fay broke apart quickly and its lower hull still containing a load of iron ore sits in shallow water not far from shore, while a large portion of the starboard side is located on the beach just up the shore from the lighthouse.

In the summertime, paddlers, divers and snorkelers can check out what's left of the ship, one of 32 wrecks in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary with a seasonal mooring buoy that allows boaters to easily locate the wreck.