Put It Back Report: Hesper Propeller Fluke
Steve Daniel, PIB Chairman
Chuck Morris and Don Maticek of the Owatonna Dive Club led an effort to return the broken propeller fluke from the Hesper
to the shipwreck site in Lake Superior near Silver Bay, Minnesota.
Several years earlier, the broken blade had been recovered from the bottom of the reef that the ship hit during a storm prior to sinking. It was returned to an area within 100 feet of the wreck on November 29, 1997. Unfortunately, weather conditions prevented a closer placement. The dive club plans to move the blade closer to the stern and rudder so that more divers will be able to see it near the wreck.
Some interesting things about the blade were noticed while preparing to return it. The broken blade is estimated to weigh 1200 pounds, and its size is about 3.5 feet wide by 5 feet long. The blade was broken off near the shaft. Furthermore, the number 17 is debossed on one side of the narrow end of the blade. There are a few deep grooves sculpted into the other side of the blade at the narrow end. Presumably, these were used for tightening the bolts that attached the propeller to the drive shaft. There is also a one inch diameter hole near one edge at the wide end of the blade. Perhaps, this is for positioning the fluke near the drive shaft for attachment or removal.
The PIB 0003 number was stamped in the blade on the side with the grooves, as this will be the side that will be exposed when the it is returned to the shipwreck site. The original location of the broken propeller fluke and where it will be relocated upon its return to the site was noted in documentation sent to Scott Anfinson of the Minnesota State Historical Society. The GLSPS appreciates the interest and generous assistance of the Owatonna Dive Club. We all look forward to seeing this large artifact when we dive the Hesper in the future.