The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, or the GLSHS, recently declared the discovery of a 292-foot Whaleback vessel dubbed the Barge 129. Barge 129 was revealed in Lake Superior, about 35 miles off Vermilion Point and in 650 feet of water.
Barge 129 was reportedly found along with eight other wrecks in 2021 by the GLSHS in association with Marine Sonic Technology deploying Side Scan Sonar – Marine Sonic Technology.
Barge 129 reportedly sank on 13 October 1902. Almost 120 years back. Reportedly, Barge 129 was in tow of the steamer named Maunaloa, downbound with a load of iron ore, when they got stuck in a heavy storm. The heavy seas strained and snapped the towline linking the two vessels. Barge 129 was at the mercy of the October storm.
Maunaloa turned around in solid trial to relink the towline, but the waves and wings slammed the two ships, with Maunaloa’s port-side anchor reportedly ripping into the starboard side of Barge 12g; Captain Josiah Bailey and the crew members moved and struggled to launch the life as the barge began sinking. The crew members of Maunaloa stood by and ultimately helped the Barge 129 crew members onto their vessel as the whaleback dove to Lake Superior’s autumn.
Marine Operations’ GLSHS Director, Darryl Ertel Jr., reflected on the discovery. He said he had been looking for the vessel for so long as it was a Whaleback. He was excited. He couldn’t wait to get cameras on it.
As the Shipwreck Society put the ROV this summer, they were startled by the vessel’s devastation. It was eventually destroyed at the bottom. Now, it is nowhere close to intact. It has been broken into at least 4–5 lares and numerous small pieces. It simply disintegrated, as Ertel mentioned.
GLSHS says it is proud of the discovery. The shipwreck hunters have been searching for that for a long time, mentioned Corey Adkins, the content/communications Director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society.
It is one of the last Whalebacks that was never to be found. Naturally, when the experts discovered it, it was overwhelming. The whalebacks were unusual vessels, stated Director Bruce Lynn, the Director of the Shipwreck Society.
When they had the ROV on it, one could explicitly view the distinctive bow with a portion of the towline in place. And that was an incredible moment!
References: Wilx, CBS News