The career of the motorship Nordmeer ended abruptly when it miscalculated a turn and ran aground 7 miles northeast of Thunder Bay Island. Some crewmen stayed on board, but they evacuated a few days later when a storm struck and tore open the ship’s bottom. Part of the vessel stands out of the water, but years of storms and ice have broken and twisted the hull. The big diesel engine stands amid the wreckage, but the cargo has been removed. A steel barge rests alongside the wreck, a relic of extensive salvage work. Some artifacts may be seen today at NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.
Chris dove the wreck a week ago and writes: “Bea and I had a big day of diving in Lake Huron today. We visited three shipwrecks and can’t wait to share some photos. This picture is the engine from the Nordmeer shipwreck near Rockport Michigan.”
The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, “night.” On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. (See more about this below.)
During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox; when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.
Scott took this photo on the final day of the summer of 2016 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse. See more in his massive Lighthouses gallery on Flickr.
Here’s hoping that you get a chance to enjoy some of Michigan’s gorgeous scenery this Labor Day Weekend & also that it’s the LAST lost summer for a state that relies so heavily on tourism & travel & fun in sun!
Located at the northern tip of Lake Huron, on the south shore of Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, the Les Cheneaux area was once a strategic international northern outpost and center of early exploration. But it was not until the early eighteen eighties that permanent homesteaders came in earnest to Les Cheneaux: Anthony Hamel came over from Mackinac Island, William A. Patrick arrived from Ontario, the Westons migrated north from Chicago, and the likes of Henry Clay Wisner and the McBain-Coryell clan appeared as the area’s first seasonal visitors.
From this decade can be traced the story of the evolution of the Les Cheneaux area from unwanted real estate into highly desirable timberland and, almost simultaneously, homestead settlement and summer resort community. Our story is an individually distinct as any in American history and as important as the opening and development of the Great Lakes and the integration of two great peninsulas into the State of Michigan.
Since she first sailed the Straits of Mackinac between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan in 1911, the Chief Wawatam carried thousands of passengers, automobiles, and railcars. The last coal-burning vessel on the Great Lakes, the Chief Wawatam made a name for herself for reliable, efficient service across the often-treacherous waters of the Straits. It was often the Chief who would deliver food and fuel to other Great Lakes vessels who became stuck in the thick winter ice.
After the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957, the crossing time was slashed from nearly an hour by ferry to a matter of minutes by car. While other ferries ceased running almost immediately, the Chief Wawatam stayed in service for another twenty-seven years before finally retiring. Four years later, the boat was sold to a Canadian firm that cut the 338-foot ferry down to a deck barge.
Bill took this photo back in 1979 & writes:
The Chief is closing in on the dock at St Ignace, MI after crossing the Straits of Mackinac with another load of freight cars. There’s a Soo Line crew waiting for the Wawatam’s arrival. They’re taking a break right now, as are the deck hands on the Chief. Soon, everyone will be hard at work, moving their share of America’s freight. This was a daily scene way back when and will never be repeated. I was lucky enough to catch the action on September 24, 1979.
Sunday evening the winds picked up and we rode down to the pier and I watched this boat come from the harbor out the channel and head towards Petoskey north. He hit some huge waves coming in and I don’t know how he ever made it.
Here’s hoping he did and that you’re able to overcome the waves of 2020 as well!! See more in Julie’s Coronavirus Times 2020 album on Flickr.
During a summer recreation season already hampered by pandemic-related delays and restrictions, many of Michigan’s state parks are now wrestling with another force of nature: historically high water along the Great Lakes.
From the east side to the west side and up north, the record-setting water levels are reshaping shorelines, eroding beaches, submerging docks and piers, and rendering roads and trails inaccessible. The unprecedented situation has manifested in high water-related closures statewide at harbors, parks and boating access sites managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
…A number of boating access sites and fishing piers across the state are temporarily closed on account of high water as well; a full list of closures and updates is available at Michigan.gov/DNRclosures.
Officials stressed that although the water is receding, it will take several days and residents should remain vigilant. It’s possible “we won’t even hit the 24-foot flood stage until the end of the weekend or later during Memorial Day,” Bone said.
“It’s essentially a mess out there and it isn’t safe to drive around barriers or travel on the roads that are deemed closed,” he added. “Everybody please stay safe and do your best out there and we’ll get through this.”
Kaye said things have changed quickly since officials last addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon, when they were predicting the river to crest at 38 feet at about 8 p.m. Soon after, an updated forecast moved the flood peak back by about three feet and about four to five hours.
“At this point in time, by all models, by all indications, at least, we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve crested…we’ve kind of plateaued right now, but we will start the descent as water starts to recede,” Kaye said. “That’s great news for the county, for the city, certainly for the residents and business owners that are in the affected areas.”
After a long, cold winter, that first day on the water is always a special thrill, no matter how many times you’ve experienced it. The maples are just leafing out and there may still be a nip in the air, but it’s time for some fishing!