The City of Grand Marais may consider a future expansion of their marina. This potential event may risk covering or damaging historic sgipwreck artifacts that are known to be on the bottom of the harbor. The schooner 'Elgin' sank in a 1906 storm near the breakwater that was built to form the current marina. The wooden planked bottom of the ship was noted on a Corps of Engineers chart of the harbor in the 1930's. Iron knees and a metal hatch combing have been noted by divers in the harbor near the picnic area. An anchor was pulled out by divers in the 1970's and may be seen outside the entrance to the North House Folk School.
The steamer 'Liberty,' burned at the dock on the east side of the harbor in 1919 and was pushed away to save the wooden fishing buildings near the dock. It dropped metal parts and its rudder (off shore from the picnic shelter) and sank in the southwest corner of the harbor. A winch and capstan have been found by divers int he past. A coal scupper cover was also found by the trip leader in the middle of the harbor. A large deck clamp and brass pipe fittings are located on the lake side of the breakwater, outside the harbor. The boat will be anchored to survey this area.
Additional information about these shipwrecks may be found in pages 152 - 158 in the book, 'Shipwrecks Along Lake Superior's North Shore,' by Stephen B, Daniel.
The Grand Marais Harbor Shipwreck Artifact Survey will involve two approaches:
1. The main harbor area (12 - 25 feet deep)will utilize a 24 foot boat that will tow a diver at idle speed on an underwater device in a grid pattern. When the diver spots an artifact, they will release the tow line by pulling a line attached to a quick release clip. A fisherman's float will be released to the surface, marking the spot. A spotter in the back of the boat will signal to stop and circle back to the diver. An underwater camera will be handed to the diver, who is now on the surface, to return to the bottom to photograph the artifact. A GPS waypoint will be noted and a mark on a drawing of the harbor will identify the location of the artifact.
2. In a shallow area near the south west corner of the harbor (7 - 10 foot depth) a smaller boat will be used to follow a diver who is underwater, scanning the bottom. When they find something, they will release a fisherman's float marker and surface. The person in the small boat will hand them an underwater camera to photograph the artifact. A GPS waypoint will be noted and a mark on a drawing of the harbor will be made to record the location.
We will camp in the city campground on Friday night and Saturday night. Please bring your own gear and make your own campsite reservations. Please call 218-387-1712 or 800-998-0959 (Grand Marais Recreation Area).
We will have a quick breakfast Saturday morning and meet at the boat launch at 8:00 AM, weather permitting. We will break for lunch (please bring your own) around Noon and end the dive around 4 or 5:00 PM. Additional survey work will be done on Sunday, if needed and weather permitting.
Project Leader / photographer