George A Marsh
Ship Type: Three Masted Schooner
Lifespan: Built 1882, Sunk 1917
Location: Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.07.55 W76.36.16
This beautiful schooner was built in 1882 by Footlanders at the Muskegon, Michigan, USA, shipyard, After service under the American flag, she was purchased by J.B. Flint, of Belleville, Ontario and given Canadian registration. On a sunny and calm day, August 8, 1914, she set sail from Oswego, New York, loaded with 450 tons of coal destined for Rockwood Hospital, Kingston, Ontario. On board were 14 souls: Captain Smith, his second wife, five of their seven children; the mate William Watkins; the Captainís brother, William Smith; Neil McLennon, a deck hand, with his wife, their eighteen-month-old baby, and a nephew
A violent storm came up and battered her loaded hull, until her seams gave way and her pumps gave out. William Smith and Neil McLennan, with babe in arms, managed to get to the ship's yawl and make their way to Amherst Island. The baby succumbed to the cold. All told, 12 souls where lost that day to the fury of the Lake Ontario. Several dead were recovered and the rest remain buried beside the wreck
The history of this wreck only adds to the beauty and mystery of the schooner as the diver makes their way down the line to the mooring block. Visibility on this wreck of 135 ft (41.5m) is often 20 to 40 ft (6-12m); more in the spring and fall. Temperatures range from low 40ís (Fahrenheit) in spring to low 60ís in the summer (5-18 Celsius).
One of the most striking features of this wreck is her ghostly shape, sitting upright as if ready to set sail. Her bow sprint remains intact, with the ropes hanging down and off the sides. Her rigging - deadeyes, belaying pins and blocks - lays about the deck. Masts are off the side and wheel and steering gear are still in place, as are the capstan and anchor winch.
This wreck remains a personal favorite of most; she is captivating in her beauty and a haunting memorial to the 12 souls lost on her. She is best enjoyed using good buoyancy skills as she has a layer of silt covering her. Penetration is minimal due to the full load of coal in her holds. There is no current on this wreck and of concern are only bottom time and air consumption because of her depth. This pearl is sure to be a lasting memory to all that enjoy her splendor.
Damage to Stern
Photo credit Tom Wilson
Video Credit Northern Tech Diver Corp
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