0.U. C. Historical Committee
AN EXERCISE IN UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY
"The GOLD HUNTER was a big schooner, estimated at about One hudred and ten feet long. She was owned and skippered by a Captain McLeod. In October 1892, she was heading up the lake for Howdenvale (L. Huron) on the Bruce Peninsula, where she was to load lumber. On the day of her last voyage, Bert Tyssen and his brother were on a pile of lumber located on Tyssen's Island which is in front of Howdenvale harbour on which their father had a steam sawmill. The boys were piling lumber. They saw the GOLD HUNTER coming up the lake as there is a good view from the place they were piling lumber out between Gheghetto Is. and Beamant Is. to The south. There was a fair wind blowing with waves probably three feet high and you could see the white caps on the reefs. They waited for the GOLD HUNTER to come round the north side of Gheghetto where she intended to come in the channel to Howdenvale. She never came and later in the day was seen piled up on the reef. She had not gone far enough north to make the Gheghetto channel and turned too short and subsequently piled up on the reef. She stayed on the reef for some years until finally the
torms knocked her off, and the superstructure broke off and is aid to be about one half a mile north of the keel and remaining planking. The keel and planking came to rest just inside the reef where she still remains"
This story was related by Mr. Bert Tyssen, one of the boys who watched the GOLD HUNTER coming up the lake on that day.
Now, some seventy four years later, in August of 1966, three divers prepared to study the scarred remains for some significant sign of the past. Although the wreck had been previously scoured by numerous divers looking for souvenirs, we looked forward to being able to have good archaeological practice session. The three divers, members of the Stratford Aquanauts, had been studying techinques all last winter in order to be prepared for this and other planned studies.
In all, we made four dives on the wreck for the purpose of sketching construction details, phtography and minor excavation for artifacts. The first dive was strictly reconnaisance, to lay out plans for our assault. Weather and conditions were with us for the four days with
the lake calm and visibility excellent. Fortunately for our air Supply, the wreckage is in relatively shallow water (15 - 25') and we were able to make sufficiently long enough dives to accomplish our objectives.
Former diving parties have searched and ravaged the wreck. Winter storms and wave action have also taken their toll. On our first dive, it was noted that the sides of the vessel had collapsed and yhe deck had dropped through the center. Hacksaws and cutting torches had left their mark where dead-eyes had been removed from along the sides. Even after seeing the sad shape our wreck was in, we were even more determined to do our work before all evidence was removed.
The keel, although in three pieces, was guite visible and our first job was to take detailed measurements. Detailed measurements and sketches were also made of the stern post and rudder frame. The rudder itself was nowhere to be found. Details of the ribs and their
construction were also done during this dive.
The third dive was to be spent on photography and searching for artifacts. This turned out to be most successful and the divers, Charles Tuyten, Kay and Stan McClellan, found a great variety of relics hidden among the rib sections between the planking. Relics included: small glass medicine bottle, parts of a gas lamp, heavy chisel, parts of a hinge, brush, lock and of course a variety of sizes of nails and spikes. During this dive we also found a section
planking with the caulking material and traces of paint still intact.
The last day was spent on a tow board searching for the lost section of superstructure and any other pieces in the area. This turned out to be the least successful part of our work although the rides on the board were most enjoyable and relaxing.
O. U. C. Report from the Historical Committee
(Presented at the O. U. C. Spring Meeting 1967)