Friday, January 20, 2006

Storm Warriors: Heroes of the Shipwreck Coast

If I told you that there was a place called "Shipwreck Coast" where ships and sailors met their untimely deaths in frigid, choppy waters that crash against constantly shifting sandy shoals and rocky coastline, where do you think I would be talking about? Norway? Sweden? Iceland?

Well, how about the Upper Peninsula in Michigan? Just watched a documentary on PBS called "Storm Warriors: Heroes of the Shipwreck Coast" that talked about Shipwreck Coast on Lake Superior in the UP of Michigan.

If you look at the image below, from the Great Lakes Information Network, Shipwreck Coast is the coastline after you emerge from the Soo Locks of the St. Marys River going into Lake Superior along the northern coastline of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Another image is here, from the documentary website.



The problem was so bad that Congress eventually built a series of "Life-Saving Service Stations" along the coast and two lighthouses. The people that lived here faced harsh, long winters and an almost desperate isolation as they served this country by rescuing those in shipwrecks, or ships that were clearly about to become wrecks. The documentary detailed many of the heroic rescues that were accomplished and depicts the life of these men and their families in an engaging manner.

It's kind of strange to imagine Lake Superior as the setting for so much maritime drama. From 30-foot waves, to tragic deaths and incredible rescues, the 100 or so shipwrecks along Shipwreck Coast each have a compelling story behind them.

Apparently today, you can visit Shipwreck Coast and go scuba diving to see the wrecks firsthand. There is also a museum you can visit, to complete the edutainment.

Amazing what's in our backyards...

3 comments:

Tmahmud said...

one word: nerd.

Umar said...

Whatever dude, you know you love it. If not for me and my ilk the world would not know cool...it is only because nerds exist that the cool can exist. And the cool only exist to ostracize the nerds until such time as the nerds are performing brain surgery on the cool or doing their income taxes.

Then the cool become screwed.

And the nerds laugh. We laugh tears of joy into our warm milk our mothers heated up for us as we eat chocolate chips and watch reruns of Star Trek: Next Generation. And we say, who is cool now? Who is cool now...

Tmahmud said...

You laugh tears of joy? You mean you laugh until you CRY tears of joy? Thank God I wasn't an English major at U of C. Maybe you saw an episode of Star Trek where an alien race secretes tears from their mouths instead of their eyes, nerdboy.