One hundred and forty years ago, the propeller steamer Mary Ward sank off Craigleith on November 24.
She had a cargo of salt, refined coal oil and 20 carboys of acid (!). After losing sight of the Nottawasaga lighthouse in a gale, the ship hit a reef about two kilometres from shore. Eight drowned when they left the ship in a small boat that overturned in the waves. See contemporary newspaper accounts of the disaster here. We visited the wreck site on a calm, sunny July day and found it amazingly well preserved. The boiler and smokestack lie separated from the hull.
The hull looks a bit like the skeleton of a whale.
Of the circular object in the photo below, marine archeologist Ken Cassavoy of the Bruce County Museum says: “I think this a plate connected to, or associated with, the end of the propeller drive shaft. I recall seeing a shot which would have been taken somewhere off to the right of the guy in the picture…maybe 10 or 15 metres away…..with the propeller in the foreground and a shaft leading to this circular plate we see here.”
Viewers of the video above are asked to forgive the cameraman, who got a mouthful of water at 1:39.