The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Arabia (Propeller), U105254, aground ?, 1904

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"Seiches are irregular pulsations in the water of a lake set up by changes in the pressure of the air over various portions of its surface. They are highest under areas of low barometer. A height of six feet has been noted during which the whole mass of water swings rhythmically from shore to shore."
A curious result of two seiches happened in Buffalo, New York in 1904. A lumberman named Fritz Riebenach of Alpena, Michigan, bought the old steamer Arabia which had been out of commission for some time in Buffalo. He looked the boat over very carefully and being satisfied with her condition made a contract to buy her "afloat in Buffalo harbor." He came to Cleveland that night where he obtained funds to make the final payment for the ship, after which he took the night boat back to Buffalo and on his arrival there was amazed to find his boat not "afloat in Buffalo harbor" but upon the dock, about six feet above the lake level, and several feet from the edge of the dock.
This situation was very serious, so Mr. Riebenach took the next train to Cleveland and sought the advice and aid of his attorney, Frank Masten of the firm of Goulder, Holding & Masten.
After a long conference Mr. Riebenach and Mr. Masten went to Buffalo by train. On arrival there they took a cab to the Arabia's position, atop the dock, intending to get facts to support legal action for a breach of contract in making delivery of the ship. To their surprise they learned that during the night another seiche had lifted the ship from her new position on the dock, and had set her down in her normal position in the water beside the dock, which satisfied the contract terms that she be delivered "afloat in Buffalo harbor."
      This was a very happy solution of a complicated situation, caused, and later corrected, by the forces of Nature.
      After expressions of pleasure and good feeling between all parties to the contract, Mr. Riebenach took possession of the good ship Arabia for transportation to her new Michigan home.
      Benjamin L. Jenks
      Inland Seas
      October 1945, p. 55

Steam screw ARABIA. U. S. No. 105254. Of 1,395.48 tons gross; 1,202.28 tons net. Built Buffalo, N.Y., 1873. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 221.8 x 34.5 x 14.2 Of 480 nominal horsepower.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1895

Media Type:
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Reason: aground ?
Lives: nil
Remarks: Got off
Date of Original:
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Geographic Coverage:
  • New York, United States
    Latitude: 42.88645 Longitude: -78.87837
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Arabia (Propeller), U105254, aground ?, 1904