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The Newell Eddy was a schooner barge which was lost in a gale during April of 1893 while under tow by the steamer Charles Eddy. They were downbound on Lake Huron, just below the Straits of Mackinac, when the tow line parted leaving the Newell Eddy drifting towards Bois Blanc Island. It was felt frozen rigging prevented the ship from setting sail. A search after the storm did turn up the entire stern of the schooner on the N.E. shore of Bois Blanc Island, but the crew of nine was never found.
The Eddy was discovered in 165 feet of water by the University of Michigan research vessel in 1992. The ship lies just north of Raynolds reef leading to speculation that the Eddy washed into the reef, breaking off its stern before settling into deep water on the other side. It was standard practice for the crew of schooners to head for the rigging when a ship went down. If the ship settled upright in fairly shallow water, they would have a chance of getting plucked from masts standing above water when search tugs went out after a storm. The Eddy did settle upright, but the tip of the main mast is below 50 feet and not much use to the crew who probably scrambled up the rat lines as the ship filled and sank.
Story and photos ©2005 J.R. Underhill Communications