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GPS Location: N45° 01.996’ W83° 11.988’
Depth: 18 Feet
Wreck Length: 160 Feet Beam: 30 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 572 Cargo: Coal
Launched: 1872 by Linn and Craig at Gibraltar, Michigan
Wrecked: November 23, 1907
Description: Built as the double-decked bulk freighter Ira H. Owen, the ship was rechristened Monohansett in 1882. Ten years later, it was rebuilt as a single-decked lumber carrier. On November 23, 1907, the ship burned to the water’s edge at Thunder Bay Island. Most of the crew lost their personal belongings and some suffered minor burns, but there was no loss of life because the ship was near the island’s Life Saving Station. Today, the Monohansett’s wreck lies in three sections. The stern portion has hull features, propeller, and shaft all in place, and the boiler is nearby.

YouTube; youtube.com/watch?v=wouPWXPRmwQ



From Alert Diver; November 23, 1907. A vicious storm raged on northern Lake Huron as the wooden steamer Monohansett struggled to find safe haven for the night. The brave captain fought through waves and fog finally making it to the lee shore of Thunder Bay Island, where he could see Lake Huron’s second oldest lighthouse periodically shining through the dark mist. Relieved, the crew settled down to ride out the gale when a desperate shout from the engine room rang out, "Fire!" Within just a few hours, the Monohansett’s cargo of coal and wooden hull burned and sank to the bottom; the crew of 12 barely escaped with their lives.

Today the Monohansett rests in northwestern Lake Huron in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary; its machinery (including an impressive steel propeller) and lower hull are still visible in 18 feet of crystal clear water. And the Monohansett is not alone. With more than 50 identified shipwrecks ranging from schooners to steamers and from depths shallow to deep, the sanctuary is a world-class diving destination.

Even at its shallow depth, experienced divers enjoy exploring the site of the Monohansett; machinery parts, tail shaft and stern post can be seen just a few feet from the intact boiler and steam drum. Tiny gobies (an invasive species) usually dart spastically in and out of the bulk freighter’s timbers, a remarkable structure that offers insight into the minds of the pioneering shipbuilders of the late 19th century.

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