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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Shipwreck Discovered Near Wiarton.

Wiarton | by Claire McCormack  

Divers believe they have located the Jane Miller, which went down in 1881.

A ship that sank back in 1881 taking with it the lives of all 25 people aboard has been found in Colpoy's Bay by American shipwreck hunters. 

Ken Merryman and his crew made the find in Colpoys Bay this past July.

Merryman, who lives in Minnesota and his long-time friends and fellow shipwreck hunters Jared Daniel and Jerry Eliason were also looking for the wreck of the Manasoo (sunk 1928)  off of Griffith Island but found the Jane Miller first. 

Merryman says they did a 25 minute dive around the boat, and in his mind, that was enough to confirm it was, in fact the Jane Miller. 

"It seemed like it should be an easy one to find, and turned out it was." Merryman says.

While he says history claimed it went down between Big Bay and Spencer's Landing (likely now Skinner's Bluff), Merryman figured because it was so windy ,the boat may have changed course a little. 

He figures the waves and wind caused the boat to turn, and maybe it was top-heavy and rolled while trapping people inside. 

Merryman says the gangways on the ship remain open and cargo appears to be spilling out onto the bottom of the lake.

He says fellow dive team member Jared Daniel believes he saw human remains on the boat. 

Daniel is an underwater recovery team member for his local Sheriff's office in Wisconsin.

Merryman says it was hard to tell because everything is encrusted in zebra mussels. 

"It looks like whatever happened, happened quickly and most of the people were sealed inside."

Merryman says while he supposes its remotely possible it could be something else, he's 99 per cent sure it's the Jane Miller. 

He says the wreck is right where the ship supposedly sank, it's a wooden steamer that's about the right length while structurally it looks like the Jane Miller. 

He hopes to go back at some point as part of his larger undertaking of circumnavigating the Great Lakes but would need another permit. Until then he has plans to dive for wrecks in Curacao and Belize. 

Merryman has found some 20 wrecks over the 40 years he's been searching for them. 

You can find his Facebook page here:

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