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BREE'S BLOG: In The Wake of the Fitzgerald

On the lake, a bleak desends on November Ten morning

By 1 a.m. on Ten November, black water scoured the deck of the big ship. Conditions had grown worse as the Fitzgerald made its way northward along the Northern Track. The barometer had been dropping steadily since she sailed out of the Duluth Superior port and at about 7 p.m. , the winds shifted and  Read More 
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Ever northward the Big Fitz --- and the storm grows worse

In the wheelhouse, sitting 40-some feet above the water, Capt. McSorley felt secure as he headed his 729-foot oreboat northward. It was warm here, with only occasional bits of Superior spray on the forward windows, and the boat -- despite its "wiggling thing" that they had been living with for years -- was humming  Read More 
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Storm over Superior

I felt a cold breeze on my right cheek. As I turned my face to determine its direction, the wind seemed to grow into intensity. "Damn," I swore. Out of the mist a howling gale sprang up and aboard Persistence, I was caught again, this time close to a lee shore. The savage winds  Read More 
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Superior's chill waters

The harbor fog misted about as I entered Persistence's cockpit. It was cold and dark where I lay berthed in Two Harbors, but I still remember one story of the diver Bill Burke. I had asked, "Isn't there a ship lying out near where I'm berthed?" Bill nodded and said told me it was  Read More 
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Bodies on the Fitzgerald?

The revelations about the lost bodies from the Two Harbors diver raised many questions about what happened to the men who went down with the Edmund Fitzgerald. Where are they now? From the many official videos I had seen over the years, the camera seemed shy of peering into the wheelhouse but lingered a  Read More 

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There are bodies down there

Night came. Down on the waterfront, where I was tied up with my boat Persistence, lights on the ore docks blurred in fog. It was chill and eerie as I made my way up the hill away from the misty dock. "Glad to see you tonight," the security guard Bill Burke said. "I heard  Read More 
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The Fitz went this way as storm grew

It was foggy and stormy out on the Big Lake as I sat in the tiny cockpit of Persistence. We were securely tied up to a barge in Two Harbors, Minnesota, near the old steam tugboat, the Edna G. Out there, just past the breakwaters not far away, Superior was kicking up big waves  Read More 
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Safe at last -- or not?

Now under power of my 5 horsepower outboard engine, I circled the pier which was festooned with colored flags. Banners proclaimed that the small Minnesota town was celebrating its hundredth anniversary. I was now in Two Harbors and tall ore loading docks loomed dark and rusty red. At least I was off the storm-tossed lake.  Read More 
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Dancing with Waves

The waves were growing ominously. I was following the track of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but in reverse. The big ore carrier had headed on the Northern Trek past Two Harbors, MN., (see locator map below) and shoving 10-foot waves away with aplomb. I was taking a walloping heading south. I could not steer a  Read More 
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Trouble at Two Harbors: The Storm Begins

When the Fitzgerald was well out to sea, about an hour and a half after leaving the Superior entryway of the Duluth - Superior Harbor, the Weather Service broadcast gale warnings. The weather was worsening, with winds gusting from 34 to 38 knots. Capt. McSorley heard the crackle of a radio message. It was the 767-foot  Read More 
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