David Trotter is a renowned shipwreck discoverer, deep diver, author, lecturer and photographer. In over 20 years of diving, he has been the first to locate, identify and document over 60 Great Lakes shipwrecks. His shipwreck discoveries and programs have been featured on television and in newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has written several articles on Great Lakes shipwrecks that have been published in historical journals and national scuba diving publications.
Through Undersea Research Associates, founded to present the Great Lakes community with an electronically sophisticated means of underwater search and survey for archeological and commercial purposes, he presents visual underwater time capsules of marine history. Utilizing state-of-the-art side scan sonar, with outstanding skilled operators, the organization offers high resolution bottom profiling at depths to 1,000 feet, underwater site survey and underwater photographic documentation.
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE MYSTERIOUS LOSS OF THE TUG FRED A. LEE
The Bay City Times newspaper headlines screamed “LOST OFF POINT AUX BARQUES”.
From Detroit, the 70′ Canadian Tug Fred A. Lee departed on her proverbial last voyage of the year, heading for her home port of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. While in the notoriously treacherous waters off the “Thumb” of Michigan, the Leewas to disappear with all hands beneath the surface of Lake Huron.
The Fred A. Lee is a mystery of thirteen’s: enrolled on June 13, 1896, sunk on Friday, November 13, 1936, and reported lost 13 miles off Point Aux Barques. According to Captain Dahlburg of the Steamer Munson, despite heavy winds the ship arrived at the site of the tragedy within 15 minutes. Munson crew members found only a few items floating in the churning waters. “I am certain that it must have been an explosion aboard the vessel which caused it to sink so rapidly,” Dahlburg said.
What is the truth regarding the loss of the Tug Fred A. Lee with all hands on that wind-torn afternoon of Friday the 13th, 1936? The final chapter unfolds as we descend into the cold dark waters to uncover her secrets and offer new theories as to the reason for “The Mysterious Loss of the Tug Fred A. Lee“.
LEGACY AT THIRTY FATHOMS
On August 8, 1868, the Dunderberg set sail from Chicago with a cargo of corn and six passengers. The 187 foot three-masted schooner sailed the lakes for only 14 months when, on August 12, downbound to Detroit in Lake Huron, the steamer Empire State brought about her untimely death. Under her sixty foot bowsprit, a figurehead gazes silently into the murky deep. This unique figurehead, combined with her ornate finish work, set the Dunderberg apart from the normal working class ship of the 1860’s. Her story depicts a classic wreck, perfectly preserved in the cold depths of Lake Huron.