Chris Roxburgh is a diver and photographer who is one of my favorite follows on Facebook. About this photo he writes:
The Westmorland shipwreck located in a 200’ deep unpublished location in Lake Michigan. After many wreck hunters tirelessly searched for this vessel rumored to have whiskey Barrels and gold that was being delivered to the garrison army on Fort Mackinac. She sank on December 7th 1864. When she was finally found in 2010 by Ross Richardson the mystery was unlocked to her final resting place.
The Westmorland was one of the first 200 foot long steam powered ships in the Great Lakes and at first was called a “propeller” since they used a prop instead of sails. She hauled many tons of grain and meat across the Great Lakes. With a crew of 34 she steamed into rough seas with over 20’ waves and a violent snow storm all while leaking from the night before. As the crew made a bucket brigade trying to keep the engines out of the water they could not keep up with the ever increasing flow. Once the water stopped the engines she could not keep straight into the waves. The lifeboat Davits you can see in this picture where used to lower the boats Into the water as she sank. Out of the 34 crew fifteen went down with the ship and two succumbed to weather on the shore of Platte Bay as the others walked 40 miles to a nearby town.
I was very excited to dive her because only a handful of trusted divers have been given the opportunity to visit this site. Dusty Klifman and I decided to plan this deep dive last week as the opportunity with perfect weather on Lake Michigan arrived.