Sunken Treasure

I was going through some images, looking for one in particular, and found these images, thought I’d share the story.


It was the proverbial last trip of the season.   Closing up the cottage, Thanks Giving Weekend  October 2004.  The first day had been calm and nearly 30C.  The dock comes out for the winter as always, and the boat gets tied to the chains and tires that normally act as a bumper and securing system for the floating dock.

During the night, a wind squall and thunder storm had rolled through with very high winds out of the South.  I’m going by what neighbours told me, as I slept through it all.  Guess I was pretty tired out.  The neighbours were awakened during the night by the wind, blasting in their bedroom window.  Neither a typical direction or strength.

In the morning there was a moderate breeze, but I didn’t think anything of it, as the top of the boat was visible through the trees and it was riding well.  Or so I thought.

When I eventually went down to check on the boat, I was horrified and completely dismayed to find the stern and motor completely submerged.  Depth varies from year to year, but about 4 to 5 feet of water.   The boat was more or less level from side to side, which is why, for what I could see it looked fine.  The bow was quite high, but trees had blocked my view, so I hadn’t seen this.   In discussions afterwards we concluded that even though protected from most waves, these waves wrapped around the shoreline and broached the stern of the boat.

Being a long weekend, meant that most marinas in the Parry Sound area were closed, or operating with minimum staff.  I made a few calls, and was referred to this person and that person.  In the middle of this process, my cell phone minutes began running out.  I had to call my wife and have her call the cell provider and top-up and register a credit card.  Eventually I had arrangements in place to float the boat again, but they wouldn’t happen until that coming Tuesday.  It being only Saturday I had more problems.

Fall on Georgian Bay is pretty notorious for bad storms.  Some of the most famous ship wrecks on the Great Lakes have occurred in the Fall.  This weekend unfortunately was not an exception.  Front lines shifted and lined up to cause successive storms to roll through.  Each storm having dramatic winds and lowering the temperature towards the icy side of things.

On Saturday morning and into the afternoon, the moderate North Easterly breeze shifted around to the West.  By the middle of the afternoon the winds had ramped up to Storm force, with sustained gusts of 45 Knots.  Little by little the waved action pushed and shifted the boat up onto its side and against the rock shoreline.  The outside going down and the inside climbing up.

Come Sunday morning the weather had passed, it was clear and sunny with a light breeze out the North East again.  The boat was for the most part unharmed.  I was lucky in that our neighbours to the North of our cottage were up and volunteered to give me a boat ride into my marina in Parry Sound.

This is where things continue to worsen.  For several days the boat stayed in the water. Had it been floated promptly minimal damage would have been done.  Another storm system came through on Tuesday night into Wednesday.  On Thursday I call the marina that I had hired to float my boat, as I hadn’t heard anything.  Turns out the marina (Frying Pan Island) had decided that they weren’t up to the job, but hadn’t phoned me.  Guess they were to embarrassed at this point, as they had assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.

Things actually take an upturn at this point as I called Rick Zanuzzi of Canadian Contracting Services.  I told him my story, and he assured me that he’d look after it right away.  He pulled his crews off other sites in the area and had 2 boats, 1 with a small hull mounted crane in position within the hour.  They got it floated and started towards town.  On route they had to pause and put a crew member with a fire pump in the boat as it was taking on water so fast it was sinking.  With the successive storms and accompanying waves the aluminum hull had worn through on the rocks.

He and his crew got it to my marina in Parry Sound, Glenn Burney where the staff were waiting for him.  They got the boat out of the water right away.  The marina staff promptly attached a fresh fuel tank and started the motor to clear any water and dry the engine.  Being a 2-stroke motor simply by doing this you may well  save your motor from a possible rebuild.

Kudos to Canadian Contracting Services and Glenn Burney Marina


This entry was posted in Boating and Cottaging. Bookmark the permalink.