Archive for June, 2009

Forty Mile Point

Author: Ruth
Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Next stop, Forty Mile Point lighthouse, a reminder of the centuries in which the Great Lakes were the primary routes for commerce and travel.

Lake Huron sunset.

Forty Mile Point.

"Lake Huron, Graveyard of Ships

"Lake Huron, Graveyard of Ships"

“Named by seventeeth century explorers, La Mer Douce, the sweet or freshwater sea. Lake Huron is the second largest of the five Great Lakes. It has over 3800 miles of coastline and contains over 30,000 islands, among them Manitoulin, the world’s largest freshwater island. Violent storms on the “sweet sea”  have made it dangerous for ships. As of 2004, 1200 wrecks had been recorded. During the Big Blow of 1905 , 27 wooden vessels were lost. One of these, the steamer Joseph S. Fay ran aground. A portion of its hull rests on the beach approximately 200 feet north of the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse. The Great Storm of 1913 was responsible for sinking many modern steel ships.”

Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, Lake Huron sunset.

Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, Lake Huron sunset.

Closeup of weathered shipwreck hull on the beach.

Closeup of hundred year old hull of wreck "Fay" on the beach.

The headlines of a Detroit Free Press article about this wreck dated October 21, 1905 run as follows:

FIERCE STORMS WRECK VESSELS AND CARRY SAILORS TO DEATH

                                               Storm Fiercest in Years

Shores of Great Lakes Strewn With Wrecks of Steamers and Barges-Waters                                                         Lashed to Extreme Fury

    As told by B. E. Stone of the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society,  “foundering vessels didn’t have time to find shelter. Over 27 wooden boats did not return to port. The Fay was one of the twenty seven. On October 19, 1905, she was downbound on Lake Huron with the wooden schooner barge, D. P. Rhodes, in tow. Both vessels were fully loaded with iron ore. The captain hugged the coastline seeking protection from the violent wind and savage waves. The straining towline tightened, pulling taut. The wind changed direction and the captain tried to head out into deeper water. The tethered boats rolled in opposite directions and the Rhodes broke free taking a portion of the Fay’s stern with her.

     Water rushed into the Fay as the captain struggled toward 40 Mile Point Lighthouse. The Fay’s bow struck a sandbar and the boat washed sideways. The entire forward cabin was torn away. Incredibly, the hurricane force winds lifted the cabin over the side and huge waves carried it to shore where iw washed up on the sandy beach with the captain and 10 crewmen safely inside!

     First Mae David Syze of Port Huron and two crewmen clung to the beached hull. The crewmen ripped off a spar and managed to paddle to shore. The First Mate attempted to swim to shore, but the cold winds and rolling waters were just too much for him. In December 1905, the assistant keeper from 40 Mile Point Lighthouse found his body on the beach about one mile up from the lighthouse.

     The Fay broke up on the sandbar and sank, but about 150 feet of her huge wooden hull, metal rods and spikes holding her steady, rests on the beach about 200 feet west of the lighthouse. The Rhodes came ashore near Cheboygan and continued in service for many years under  the name of Arthur and Arthur Morgan. She was scrapped in 1938. Today the Fay, minus that portion of the hull resting on the beach, lies in about 12 feet of water near the lighthouse. It is often used as a classroom for diving instruction.”

Amazing to think of the stories these lakes hold, known and unknown.

Second night out, camping in luxury!

Second night out, camping in luxury!

After his second day out on the water, Stephen landed at what he thought was the nicest township park ever, but turned out to be a private resort. Luckily, the first person he saw had the authority to give him permission to camp, and did so with a most kind and enthusiastic spirit.

Cindy Mom's paddling pancake mix in action. The best pancakes ever, according to Stephen.

Cindy Mom's paddling pancake mix in action. The best pancakes ever, according to Stephen.

Grey ghost and gull

Grey ghost and gull

The next morning, foggy and calm, developed into a perfect day.

Beached

Beached

Wayne Blomberg of Ryde Marine in Ponshewaing.

Wayne Blomberg of Ryde Marine in Ponshewaing. Paddler extrordinaire.

Bret Huntman in front of retired Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, the world's largest icebreaker when commissioned in 1944 and long after.

Bret Huntman in front of retired Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, the world's largest icebreaker when commissioned in 1944 and long after, now a museum.

Zach, paddling fiend...I mean friend!

Zach Champion, paddling fiend...I mean friend!

Matt Piele aka Matteus Pierliopterus, linguist, botanist, bicyclist, friend.

Matt Pierle aka Matteus Pierliopterus, linguist, botanist, bicyclist, friend.

Midsummer's night eve dinner on the beach with our lovely hosts who opened their home to us, and cooked too! We toasted our anniversary and the good fortune of having such friends.

Midsummer's night eve dinner on the lake Huron shore with our lovely hosts, Anabel and David Dwyer, who opened their home to us, and cooked too! Stephen and I (Ruth) toasted our anniversary and the good fortune of having such friends.

 

June 21, 2009

Stephen begins his journey around Lake Huron from the south end of the Mackinac Bridge. Today is the summer solstice as well as the first anniversary of our marriage. Today is also the culmination of weeks of packing, months of planning, and years of anticipation. A group of friends surprised Stephen at the put in and joined him for the first few miles of paddling on this beautiful summery day.

 

 

canoe party It was a lovely Saturday  evening for a potluck party with all our friends who came with great food and good wishes for Stephen’s voyage.

Getting it together

Author: Ruth

In preparation for months of paddling, piles of gear spread through the house and spill into the yard. Here Stephen tests his laptop with the new solar charger as a power source. It works!

Solar charger

Stephen in the canoe, just add water.

Below, he is adding hardware to hold the ingenious Brunton solar charger on the bow of the boat while he is paddling.