Scuba Diver From Minnesota Makes Surprising Discovery
Ken Merryman, a retired engineer who lives in Minnesota and has been scuba diving for 50 years, spends his summers looking for undiscovered shipwrecks. Merryman thinks he has just found what could be the most valuable item he has ever found aboard the recently discovered wreckage of the steamship Manasoo in Lake Huron. The best part is what he thinks should happen with 1927 Chevrolet Coupe he found at the bottom of the lake.
According to Hagerty.com old-time mariners have had a long-held superstition that changing the name of a ship is the kiss of death. Veteran mariners will tell you it’s a lot more than a myth or old wives tale, it’s a reality and the Manasoo’s fate certainly bears that out.
The ship was built in Scotland in 1888, and spent the first 39 years as the Macassa, working on Lake Ontario carrying tourists and cargo between Toronto and Hamilton. Then in 1928, it was purchased by the Owen Sound Transportation Company and mainly used on Lake Huron to ferry passengers between Manitoulin Island and Sault Ste. Marie. The ship’s name was changed to reflect the two communities it served, but the name and the boat didn’t last very long.
It was on September 14, 1928, the Manasoo departed Manitowaning, on Manitoulin Island, with an atypical passenger list: 17 crew, four (human) passengers, and 116 head of cattle. According to a crewman's 1982 interview, the weather got very bad, with a strong southeast wind getting up to gale force. The wind was so strong it forced the boat to list hard to port after passing Griffith Island in Lake Huron.
In the early hours of September 15, 1928, the Manasoo disappeared beneath the icy waters of Lake Huron, about a mile and a half from Griffith Island in Georgian Bay. Out of the 21 people to step onto the boat, only 5 survived the ship sinking and the wait to be rescued that took over 60 hours according to Mlive.com. Of the 5 survivor's only one was a passenger, and it was that passenger who owned the Chevrolet. The man's name was Donald Wallace.
Sources cannot agree on the number of ships lost in the Great Lakes, but the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum puts the number at about 6000 (along with 30,000 lives lost). Of those, Cris Kohl’s research indicates that only 1500 have been discovered, which makes every find a big deal.
Merryman says the Manasoo is an even bigger discovery since it is one of only five wrecks with a wooden pilothouse and one of just four that were found with a car aboard. It’s the only Great Lakes shipwreck that has both.
Merryman has hands down the best idea for the entirety of the shipwreck, including the Chevy Coupe, leave it where it was found. You can see the 1927 Chevy Coupe, and the rest of the shipwreck in this YouTube video.