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Shipwrecks of Lake Erie, East End
This is a very brief sampling of some of the diving available along the East end of Lake Erie. The sites listed below provide an overview of the wreck diving that is available to expereinced wreck divers and technial wreck divers. There are also numerous sites in the area reating at depths suitable for novice to intermediate level divers.
- Passaic - 198 ft propellor package freighter carrying lumber, sunk in about 80 ft of water in a gale in 1862 just off Dunkirk, NY. When the crew was paid, they were docked 2 days pay for the time they were awaiting rescue. The Passaic was thought to be the Dean Richmond, so was dynamited by salvors who wanted her safe. The boilers, firebox, gears, and engine are still standing. Nice dive.
- Washington Irving - 81 ft, two-masted schooner carrying coal and pig iron, sunk mysteriously in 1860 near Dunkirk, NY in 120 ft of water. Both masts are still standing but leaning as the entire wreck lists to port. There are lots of deadeyes. The bowsprit is quite long and is intact. A very nice dive.
- Oxford - 114 ft schooner carrying iron ore, sunk in 160 ft of water off the Erie PA harbor entrance in a collision with the steamer Cataract in 1856, taking the captain, his family, and 2 crew members. Her large tiller is prominently visible as are the masts, as one descends. The damage from the collision that sunk her is visible on the starboard bow. She is amazingly well preserved because of her depth. The offset centerboard, rigging winches windlass, and bilge pumps still in place give one the Erie feeling that she is about to set sail once again. Beautiful dive.
- Dean Richmond - 238 ft wood twin propellor carrying flour and pig iron foundered in a storm on Oct. 31, 1893, sinking in 110 ft of water after having departed on Friday Oct 13. Entering a gale with a damaged rudder appears to be a more likely cause of her demise. Two crew members perished with her. She is upside down and still has one propellor, the other having been salvaged with the safe years ago. This is a really fun dive.
- Cracker - this 118 ft 3 masted scow is still unidentified. Reportedly the name was given as the crew who located her were eating crackers at the time. Little else is known about this truly well-preserved wreck in 190 ft of water. The cabin is intact and contains a chimney pipe. She's easy to inspect from the exterior using a good light. There is a beautiful carved figurehead on her blunt bow. A few snagged nets give the feeling of a fantasy Disney movie.
- John J. Boland - 253-ft bulk freighter (canaler) with triple expansion steam engine, took on water in high swells as her holds were open to accommodate an oversize cargo. She sank suddenly in 135 ft on October 5, 1932, 7 miles from Barcelona, NY, taking 4 crew with her. She lies on her starboard side, so after ascending on the he tie-in at the prop, it's easy to follow her deck to the bow. Huge hatches are open and chunks of coal can be found in the silt outside. Her pilothouse can be explored without penetrating. Another awesome dive.
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