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Old 10-11-2008, 10:47   #1
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Unhappy 33 yrs ago today "The Big Fitz"

SS Edmund Fitzgerald

SS Edmund Fitzgerald - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



I was on the standby dive support ship "CCGS Samuel Risley" when they brought up her bell. It was a moving experience I'll remember my entire life.
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Old 10-11-2008, 10:59   #2
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Thanks for the reminder Rick. And sorry, but I don't recall the recovery of the ship's bell. Were they able to take any photos of the wreckage? And if so, did it lead to any firm conclusions as to the reason she sank so quickly?

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Old 10-11-2008, 10:59   #3
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Seems like just yesterday when the song came out. Where did the place the bell?
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:23   #4
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Today the local newspaper (Lakeland, FL - what do they know?) referred to the 1975 storm as a 'freshwater fury'. I had never heard this term before except as the title of a book by Frank Barcus about the 1913 Great Lakes storm, and I don't know whether such storms are now commonly referred to as freshwater furies. I have heard the term 'white hurricane' applied to blizzards with hurricane or near hurricane force winds.
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Old 10-11-2008, 12:42   #5
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From the Wikipedia site...

The ship's bell was recovered from the wreck on July 4, 1995 and is now in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point near Paradise, Michigan.

There's a few documentaries that air on Discovery or TLC channels. I imagine they'll be on tonight. IIRC they replaced the original ships bell with another inscribed with the names of the 29 crew members.

As for the weather in Superior there's a few locals on here (GordMay) who can attest to Superior's fury during winter storms. I've sailed on all Canada's coasts including the Arctic and North Sea off of Labrador and I never got seasick till I sailed Superior. It was standard procedure to run for cover even on a tough icebreaker when Superior kicked up. Spent more than a few nights anchored out in Batchawana Bay as near hurricane force stormes whipped Superior into a froth.

The eastern end of the lake is the worst, plenty of fetch, the waves are steeper with a quicker frequency than normal. More than once we hit our racks with our Immersion suits on and our lifejackets stuffed under the edge of our mattresses to keep us pinned to the bulkheads. I remember riding out one storm in my bunk and the door curtain to my cabin swinging out past 45 degs and hitting my locker. The Cap'n that night decided to ride it out in open water. We took on a lot of ice, Chief Eng estimated over 600 tons on the decks. It took the boys two days to clear it all off.
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Old 10-11-2008, 15:23   #6
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Gordon Lightfoot: Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald - Song Lyrics
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Old 10-11-2008, 15:56   #7
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Still one of my all time favorite songs and still have the 33 LP
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Old 10-11-2008, 16:21   #8
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Still one of my all time favorite songs and still have the 33 LP
I agree. This is the part that touches me.

Quote:
Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
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Old 10-11-2008, 18:21   #9
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Just in case your record player is as old as mine


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Old 11-11-2008, 03:19   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slomotion View Post
Today the local newspaper (Lakeland, FL - what do they know?) referred to the 1975 storm as a 'freshwater fury'. I had never heard this term before except as the title of a book by Frank Barcus about the 1913 Great Lakes storm, and I don't know whether such storms are now commonly referred to as freshwater furies. I have heard the term 'white hurricane' applied to blizzards with hurricane or near hurricane force winds.
I suspect that the newspaper was taking a little poetic license.

As you indicate, Freshwater Fury was the title of a book By Frank Barcus about the great storm of 1913 (Nevember 7 - 10); which was the most destructive in the history of the Great Lakes.

As nearly as can be traced, 235 sailors lost their lives in this storm: 44 of them on Lake Superior, 7 on Lake Michigan, 6 on Lake Erie, and 178 of them on Lake Huron.
The storm of 1913 caused a death toll of 235 or more, and upwards of 40 shipwrecks, including 11 lost with all hands.

White Hurricane: A Great Lakes November Gale and America's Deadliest Maritime Disaster by David G. Brown,
and
Ships Gone Missing by Robert Hemming
also tell the story.

The USCG Casualty Report on the sinking of the
"SS Edmund Fitzgerald":

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/docs/boards/edmundfitz.pdf
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Old 16-11-2008, 19:35   #11
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I was going to school in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario at the time. When we heard about it, we drove up to Gros Cap, which juts out into Whitefish Bay. If you stand on that point on a sunny day, you will see the outlines of 7 different wrecks around you. Even the next morning the bay was a scary thing to see. We could see boats going out to look for the Fitzgerald with waves breaking over them and washing back along the side decks.

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