A Landing a Day

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Port Sanilac, Michigan

Posted by graywacke on July 4, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2449; A Landing A Day blog post number 885.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N43o 27.758’, W82o 58.804’) puts me in E-Cen Michigan (on Michigan’s “thumb”):

My local landing map shows that I landed in (as I am wont to say) a “veritable plethora” of small towns:


Here’s my streams-only map:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the South Branch Cass River (first hit ever!); o to the Cass River (first hit ever!); on to the Saginaw (3rd hit); on to Lake Huron (19th hit).

Moving over to Google Earth (GE), you can see I have excellent GE Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

The OD had to ramble a couple hundred yards west to get a look at the South Branch:

And here ‘tis:

Of course, I checked out each of the teeny towns on my landing map.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  At first, Port Sanilac look pretty damn hookless, until I noticed this in Wiki:

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve is a designated shipwreck preserve that is very popular with scuba divers.

The Preserve was Wiki-clickable, so I was off . . .

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve was established to promote conservation of the submerged historical resources in Lake Huron near Port Sanilac, Michigan.

[Submerged historical resources?  Of course, that means shipwrecks.  Enough with the jargon!]

The Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve spans a total of 163 square miles of Lake Huron. The Michigan Underwater Preserve Council oversees activities relating to all of Michigan’s Underwater Preserves.

The preserve is open to scuba divers.

[OK, but still nothing about shipwrecks.]

Port Sanilac was originally a lumberjack settlement on the shore of Lake Huron named “Bark Shanty Point.” In 1857 the village was renamed to Port Sanilac. Local legend attributes the name to a Wyandotte Indian Chief named Sanilac. Local landmarks include the Port Sanilac lighthouse (burning kerosene from its opening in 1886 until its electrification in 1924) and a twenty-room Victorian mansion (now a museum) built in 1850 by a horse-and-buggy doctor, Dr. Joseph Loop.

There are numerous shipwrecks located near Port Sanilac.


And then, there was this table:


Three of the wrecks were Wiki-clickable:  the Charles S. Price, the Regina, and the Sport. 

The Charles S: Price:

The SS Charles S. Price was a steel hulled ship lost on Lake Huron on November 9, 1913 during the Great Lakes storm of 1913.

[The storm is Wiki-clickable!  More about the storm a little later…]

The Price was found on a day after it foundered with her bow above water, and her stern dipping below. Because of her disposition, the ship’s length could not be measured to make a positive identification of the vessel: the wreck was initially assumed to be the Regina. The vessel was eventually identified as the Price before she sank on 17 November.  In spite of several efforts, the ship was never salvaged.

The SS Regina:

The SS Regina was a steel ship, with a crew of 32. The ship sank during the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 after taking great damage. Lost for more than a half century, she became known as the “Great Mystery of the Great Storm of the Great Lakes”. Since found, she has become an active dive site for scuba divers and is now part of Michigan’s underwater Preserve system.

Sailors initially theorized that Regina collided with Charles S. Price, another ship sunk in the storm, as some of the bodies of Charles S. Price’s crewmen were wearing lifebelts from Regina.  However, this theory was dismissed after Charles S. Price was found capsized on Lake Huron; a diver confirmed that the ship was Charles S. Price and that the ship showed no signs of being in a collision.

And finally, the Sport:

The Sport was a tugboat, built in 1873 and wrecked in 1920 in Lake Huron.  On December 13, 1920, the Sport set out from Port Huron, bound for Harbor Beach. It encountered a heavy gale, and by 6:00 pm was taking on more water than could be pumped out. The seasick and exhausted firetender returned to his bunk, and the boat lost steam, killing the pumps. The crew abandoned ship at about 11:00 pm, and washed ashore near Lexington, still alive.

The wreck of the Sport was discovered in 1987.  In 1992, the Sport became the first Michigan shipwreck with her own Michigan Historical Marker placed on her. The wreck is now part of the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve, and popular with divers.  The marker was damaged and removed in 2002.

So what about this 1913 storm?  From Wiki:

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 (historically referred to as the “Big Blow,” the “Freshwater Fury,” or the “White Hurricane,”) was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. Deceptive lulls in the storm and the slow pace of weather reports contributed to the storm’s destructiveness.

The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster to hit the lakes in recorded history, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others.

The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes’ relatively warm waters. It produced 90 mph wind gusts, waves over 35 feet high, and whiteout snowsqualls.

Here are some Wiki storm shots, starting with this Cleveland street:


Waves breaking on a seawall in Chicago:

And local press coverage:



I’ll close with this lovely GE barn shot from about 4 miles SW of my landing (by Tudor ApMadoc:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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