‘Otherworldly’ Photos Give a Peek At A Lake Superior Shipwreck
"Otherworldly" is the word that first comes to mind when you see these photographs. The images are from a Lake Superior shipwreck, one with a possibly fascinating history, made all the more interesting by the mystery attached to it.
Facebook group PureUP posted these shipwreck photos with the detailed story behind them.
"Isle Royale’s (National Park's) Five Finger Bay tug has remained an enduring mystery since it was first spotted by seaplane pilots in 1976 lying in the southernmost finger of Five Finger Bay. The tug was remarkably intact, being well-protected in the confines of the narrow bay where she lies in 15 feet of water. - PureUp post.
But this only the tip of the story. The original examination by divers in 1976 provided more questions than answers. They surmised the small wooden boat was a work tug and not a fish tug. Divers did find a 1920 Michigan boat license plate, but that turned out to be a dead-end as many of Michigan's early records were destroyed by fire. The gasoline engine on it could be narrowed down to somewhere between 1902 and at least 1920.
After word got around about its existence, sport divers stripped much of what was once the boat in 1977, taking with them more clues.
As more people delved into this mystery, more inconsistencies deepened the mystery. A long-time observer thought the tug's work may have been something related to logging, but that would've been more a Wisconsin-related endeavor as Michigan boats weren't used as much in logging efforts, in that area. Isle Royale National Park is off the coast of Minnesota, but near Ontario, and not far from the northern tip of Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Researchers hope that someone with a deep knowledge of these kinds of craft might see the pictures and be able to help with identifying the ship. According to the post, the boat was probably parked in the bay due to mechanical issues or laid up for the winter and sank at her mooring sometime during the 1920s. She has likely been on the bottom for nearly 100 years; a peaceful watery grave.