Shipwreck hunters found a schooner that sank in 1881 intact in Lake Michigan

Shipwreck hunters found the intact remains of a schooner that sank in 1881 in Lake Michigan, they said Thursday.

REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Maritime historians found a schooner that sank in 1881 intact in Lake Michigan.
Brendon Baillod and Robert Jaeck found the shipwreck of the 156-year-old vessel back in July.
The vessel is so well-preserved that its crew’s possessions are still present.

Shipwreck hunters found the intact remains of a schooner that sank nearly 150 years ago in Lake Michigan — and the ship is so well-preserved that its crew’s possessions are still there.

Two Wisconsin maritime historians located the 140-foot-long Trinidad back in July, at a depth of around 270 feet.

“The wreck is among the best-preserved shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters with her deck-house still intact, containing the crew’s possessions and her anchors and deck gear still present,” Brendon Baillod and Robert Jaeck said in a statement Thursday, per the Associated Press.

Baillod and Jaeck found the vessel by reading historical accounts of the shipwreck by survivors, then deploying side-scan sonar to track its location more accurately.

The Trinidad was built in 1867 and used in trade between Milwaukee, Chicago, and Oswego, New York, the AP reported.

In May 1881, it sank after passing through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. It was carrying a shipment of coal from Port Huron to Chicago, according to a website run by the Wisconsin Historical Society and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

Its nine-person crew discovered a leak and abandoned the vessel for a smaller boat once they realized it was sinking.

They rowed for eight hours before coming ashore at Algoma in Ontario, Canada, per the AP.

Lake Michigan shipwrecks are often found intact due to the lake’s cold and fresh waters, which tend to preserve many items found onboard the sunken vessels.

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