New Book on Lake Superior Wrecks
“Too Much Sea for Their Decks” by Michael Schumacher chronicles shipwrecked schooners, wooden freighters, early steel-hulled steamers, passenger vessels, whalebacks and bulk carriers—some well-known, some unknown or forgotten—all lost in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.
Included are compelling accounts of vessels destined for infamy, such as the Stranger, a slender wooden schooner swallowed by the lake in 1875; the sailors’ bodies were never recovered and the wreckage was never found. The whaleback Wilson was rammed by a large commercial freighter in broad daylight and in calm seas, sinking before many on board could escape. The Kamloops, a package freighter, went down in a storm while its sailors were found on Isle Royale the following spring, having escaped the wreck only to die of exposure on the island. The ill-fated Steinbrenner was plagued by bad luck from the time of its construction, when it was nearly destroyed by fire, to its eventual tragic sinking in 1953. These tales and more represent loss of life and property—and are haunting stories of brave crews.
The book is arranged chronologically and comprises three sections that cover Minnesota’s North Shore, Isle Royale, and the three biggest storms in Minnesota’s Great Lakes history. Each shipwreck documented within these pages contributes to the rich and fascinating history of shipping on Lake Superior.
The author, Michael Schumacher, has written five previous books on Great Lakes shipwrecks: “Mighty Fitz,” “November’s Fury,” “Torn in Two,” “The Trial of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and “Wreck of the Carl D.” He has written narratives for 25 documentaries on Great Lakes shipwrecks and lighthouses. He lives in Wisconsin.