The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 24 Nov 1859

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SINGULAR FACT IN REGARD TO THE NAVIGATION OF LAKE ONTARIO - During the past twelve years more than a dozen vessels have gone ashore between the mouth of Genesee River and a point a dozen miles west, and in every instance the disaster had been attributed to defects in the compasses by which the vessels were steered. We have during the period named recorded these disasters, and have observed the peculiar phraseology used by the masters in the protests they entered. Nearly all of these declare upon oath that they made the Sodus Light, and then steered northwest, a direction that would take them well over to Toronto, and while on this course they ran ashore just west of the Genesee River.

The last cases we have of this singular way of navigating occurred last week. The schooner Andover went ashore at Braddock's Point, and the captain swears in his protest that he sailed northwest from Sodus Light. - While the steam tug Page was at work on the Andover on Thursday night, the schooner H. L. Wittman ran ashore near by. The tug went to her assistance before she got hard on, and she was relieved and went on her voyage. - We understand that the Whitman, too, was sailed by the compass, and bearing northwest from Sodus Light.

This peculiarity in misfortune which has attended so many ships sailing as we have described can hardly be attributed to derangement of the compasses by local causes on shipboard. May there not be some influence on shore, in the vicinity to which the vessels tend, that affects the compass, and thus misleads them? The subject is worthy of investigation. - Roch. Union, Monday

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Item Type:
This phenomenon has also been observed and well documented on waters of Lakes Michigan and Superior which overlie great deposits of iron ore.
Date of Original:
24 Nov 1859
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Language of Item:
Dave Swayze
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI), 24 Nov 1859