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Posted: 12/28/2009 7:22:54 AM EDT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgI8bta-7aw



The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.
"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"



Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
Music and lyrics ©1976 by Gordon Lightfoot


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Edmund_Fitzgerald
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:25:28 AM EDT
One of my Favorites
I grew up in Duluth and was still living there when this happened.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:29:51 AM EDT
Good stuff.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:31:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:33:46 AM EDT
One of my favorite songs.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:34:11 AM EDT
Took me a long time to convince my wife that this actually happened. She didn't think there were ships that big on the Great Lakes and that it couldn't get that rough out there.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:34:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Mclovin5-0:
I Wish I Was Back Home in Derry


I've been in Derry.

That is one of the CREEPIEST places I've ever trod in. I felt as if at any moment a shootout was going to begin. I kept looking for places I would be able to throw my wife down into to get some cover.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:36:56 AM EDT
Takes me back. I remember listening to that on the old mans 8 track. Now I have it on my ipod.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:38:23 AM EDT
November 10, 1975


Why posting now, missed the anniversary by a month
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:40:55 AM EDT
An old favorite. It is a haunting sad song.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:41:42 AM EDT
I used to live in the Soo and camped here at Bay View a lot.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:43:11 AM EDT
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:43:33 AM EDT
I have a friend that has a cabin up on Superior, between Ontonogon and Silver City. We stayed there in Jan. a couple of years ago. A storm came up the 2nd day we were there. I don't know how big the waves were, but it was impressive. This year one of the storms was supposed to have kicked up 20' waves at the shore. Yeah, it gets rough, and yeah, it comes up quick.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:43:44 AM EDT
Thanks - now that tune is stuck in my head and is on constant rewind.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 7:45:08 AM EDT
Always been a favorite song.

You can never go wrong with GL
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:06:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By alc1343:
Always been a favorite song.

You can never go wrong with GL


Roger That.

Inspiration Lady

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdwMoKJ6C4g&feature=related
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:08:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2009 8:08:28 AM EDT by DaveS]
da-da-damn server
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:11:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2009 8:13:42 AM EDT by eracer]

Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?

The Great Lakes can rapidly develop very steep and big waves. A big storm kicked up waves that simply broke the ship in half. The general consensus is that the iron ore cargo started shifting around, and that, combined with the steep waves, caused the boat to snap in half.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:11:40 AM EDT
Me likey
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:13:24 AM EDT
good tune
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:17:08 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DisplayName:
I used to live in the Soo and camped here at Bay View a lot.


What's this, another yooper from the Soo now living in Indiana???

I remember that night well, nasty storm.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:18:39 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


Three theories, you can take your pick. Coast Guard blamed the crew for not adequately securing the hatches. NTSB said the crew wasn't at fault, the hatches were in poor condition and just gave way. Great Lakes Shippers Assoc said she struck bottom on Michipicotin (spelling?) island. All more or less in agreement that gradual flooding eventually overwhelmed the pumps and she submarined to the bottom, possibly the result of rogue waves. The condition of the wreck made it difficult to prove one theory over another.

Fascinating subject, to me anyway. Just about every Great Lakes museum I've been to features a Fitzgerald display.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:18:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


No one knows for sure. There are a few possibilities.

They reported unspecified topside damage. If they took enough water, they could go under.
They could have hit bottom, as they were in an area with some shallows. The captain of the ship following them was concerned about their position.
They could have been hit by a series of very, very high waves that caused the ship to only be supported at the ends, breaking the ship in the middle.

Or a combination of the above.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:20:13 AM EDT
That song gives me chills.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:24:15 AM EDT
The most prominent theories state one or more of the topside hatches were damaged, improperly sealed, or somehow broke open during the storm, flooding the ship.

Respect the water.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:25:38 AM EDT
Love that song, and it always makes me well up a bit when I hear it or watch documentaries about it.

Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:26:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Chaingun:
November 10, 1975


Why posting now, missed the anniversary by a month

Yup, day late and a dollar short.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:36:02 AM EDT
That song is a testament to the lyrical quality and expertise of a true musical genius.

I loved how he kept your suspense about which lake it was till the end.

Beautiful and haunting at the same time.

They don't do it like that any more.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:55:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Chaingun:
November 10, 1975


Why posting now, missed the anniversary by a month


Just felt like it.

Link Posted: 12/28/2009 8:56:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Shooter62:
One of my Favorites
I grew up in Duluth and was still living there when this happened.


Looks like a Yamaha Warrior in your avatar....am I correct?
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 9:21:25 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


Eventually, yes.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:11:43 AM EDT
My Ring tone!
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:17:20 AM EDT
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:22:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...

I'm pretty sure that after the last dive they did on the wreck that that theory was de-bunked.

I believe that the thought today is that a rogue wave slammed her and split her in two, which is why she sunk so fast, with little chance for the crew to adandon ship.

Such a sad story
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:34:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...

I'm pretty sure that after the last dive they did on the wreck that that theory was de-bunked.

I believe that the thought today is that a rogue wave slammed her and split her in two, which is why she sunk so fast, with little chance for the crew to adandon ship.

Such a sad story

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

You can't write a more poetic line than that. GL is a genius.

Given the temperature of the water and the conditions, you are doomed whether you sink fast or slow. Absolutely no chance of rescue in 1976 in hurricane like conditions on Superior.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:41:31 AM EDT
There was a thread a while back about what GL would do if he found Sundown creeping by his back stairs.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:44:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:46:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Barrelburner:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.

Genius.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:51:28 AM EDT
In a musty old hall in De-troy-it they prayed,..
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:55:43 AM EDT
Hell of a storm even by UP standards. I got out to Whitefish Point a couple days later and watched the ships still out there searching for debris.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 10:57:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DoubleARon:
There was a thread a while back about what GL would do if he found Sundown creeping by his back stairs.


I can't find it, but I bet it was good.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 11:06:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:

Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...

I'm pretty sure that after the last dive they did on the wreck that that theory was de-bunked.

I believe that the thought today is that a rogue wave slammed her and split her in two, which is why she sunk so fast, with little chance for the crew to adandon ship.

Such a sad story

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?"

You can't write a more poetic line than that. GL is a genius.

Given the temperature of the water and the conditions, you are doomed whether you sink fast or slow. Absolutely no chance of rescue in 1976 in hurricane like conditions on Superior.

True....fucking Witch of November
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 11:13:41 AM EDT
What was really heroic, the Arthur Anderson following along behind finally made harbor that night. Coast Guard asked them to go back out into the storm and search for survivors. They did so reluctantly.
Plus, the Edmund Fitzgerald's history was turned into lore with some of the mishaps, starting with her launch upon completion.
Time Line history
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 11:48:30 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?


No one knows for sure. There are a few possibilities.

They reported unspecified topside damage. If they took enough water, they could go under.
They could have hit bottom, as they were in an area with some shallows. The captain of the ship following them was concerned about their position.
They could have been hit by a series of very, very high waves that caused the ship to only be supported at the ends, breaking the ship in the middle.

Or a combination of the above.


Capt. Cooper stated after the loss that they passed closer to the island than he would have liked to have been.

It's entirely possible that they did bottom out there. McSorley did later report a list, but there could be many causes for that.

I still respect Cooper for his actions that night. He'd been through the hell that storm generated that night, but he still went back out ( begrudgingly) into the tempest when the Coast Guard asked him to. When they they asked him to go out, he was reluctant and they told him a ship was likely down. He replied that, if he went out, there might well be two ships down, but still went.

It takes balls to do that.

Link Posted: 12/28/2009 12:04:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...

I'm pretty sure that after the last dive they did on the wreck that that theory was de-bunked.

I believe that the thought today is that a rogue wave slammed her and split her in two, which is why she sunk so fast, with little chance for the crew to adandon ship.

Such a sad story


How long ago was this? As I understand it, no further dives will be made on Fitzgerald, by request of the families.

I'm interested in seeing what they have to say. The four theories I'm acquainted with are:

1) She broke in half on the surface and sunk. (Stress fracture)
2) She was hit by the "three sisters" (three large waves in a row, not quite a "rouge wave", but conceptually close), causing either a breakup on the surface or causing her to hit bottom bow-first, splitting her hull.
3) Improperly closed hatch covers. (This appears to be the least likely at the moment)
4) Bottoming out on six-fathoms shoal.

I've never heard of any of those theories becoming "official" and many researchers say that any of them are possible and we simply do not have enough information to prove one over the other.

Whatever did happen, it happened FAST. McSorley never called distress, even though the radiophone he would use to do so was in easy reach.

Perhaps the most haunting part of the whole story is the last conversation between Capt. McSorley and Capt. Cooper.

Capt. Cooper: "How are you making out with your problem?"
Capt. McSorley: "We are holding our own."

McSorley said that this was one of the worst seas he'd ever been in and he'd on the lakes for many decades. He knew it was hairy, but he was also sure that "Big Fitz" would get them home once again.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 12:04:28 PM EDT
That was a nice job on that video.
Link Posted: 12/28/2009 12:53:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Schlange:
That was a nice job on that video.


Very nice.

I'm surprised by how far and wide interest in this is.

It's very local for me, as the Fitzgerald often docked in Toledo and at least 4 crew members were from Toledo or Oregon, with two others being from the local area. One of them was from the town I live in.

Also, the father of childhood friends from down the street was a Lake Freighter Captain. Smart guy.

Link Posted: 12/29/2009 6:09:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2009 6:12:02 AM EDT by DWFAN]

Originally Posted By tep0583:
Originally Posted By DWFAN:

Originally Posted By Tomato_Thrower:
Wow, what a sad slice of Americana.

Thanks for posting...I've always loved this haunting tune.

I remember seeing a Discovery Channel show on this some time ago, and the consensus guess was that one or more of the cargo hold lids were not properly secured, allowing water in a rough sea to leak in. I think there was a problem with corrosion in the latches...

I remember being at a dance in New Hampshire as a kid around '76 when the song came out and hoping I could slow dance with some hot chick...never happened...

I'm pretty sure that after the last dive they did on the wreck that that theory was de-bunked.

I believe that the thought today is that a rogue wave slammed her and split her in two, which is why she sunk so fast, with little chance for the crew to adandon ship.

Such a sad story


How long ago was this? As I understand it, no further dives will be made on Fitzgerald, by request of the families.

I'm interested in seeing what they have to say. The four theories I'm acquainted with are:

1) She broke in half on the surface and sunk. (Stress fracture)
2) She was hit by the "three sisters" (three large waves in a row, not quite a "rouge wave", but conceptually close), causing either a breakup on the surface or causing her to hit bottom bow-first, splitting her hull.
3) Improperly closed hatch covers. (This appears to be the least likely at the moment)
4) Bottoming out on six-fathoms shoal.

I've never heard of any of those theories becoming "official" and many researchers say that any of them are possible and we simply do not have enough information to prove one over the other.

Whatever did happen, it happened FAST. McSorley never called distress, even though the radiophone he would use to do so was in easy reach.

Perhaps the most haunting part of the whole story is the last conversation between Capt. McSorley and Capt. Cooper.

Capt. Cooper: "How are you making out with your problem?"
Capt. McSorley: "We are holding our own."

McSorley said that this was one of the worst seas he'd ever been in and he'd on the lakes for many decades. He knew it was hairy, but he was also sure that "Big Fitz" would get them home once again.

I really wish I remember the documentary I saw fairly recently that discussed when the last and final dive was completed, and what their findings were.

I do know that they as you stated, pretty much dispelled the hatchways being improperly closed. I know the familiedswere extremely pissed off about that theory.

I believe that you are correct in that there isn't an "official" determination as to the cause of the wreck.

Whatever caused it, it is a compelling story, and one that I've always been interested in since I was a boy.


ETA- From Wiki:
A documentary created and aired by the Discovery Channel investigated a large "fold" found in the hull plating. Previous defects with cargo hold covers and clamps as well as cracking issues were also addressed. Through the use of wave tanks and computer simulation, the Discovery Channel team concluded the loss of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was due to a
rogue wave. Reports show three large waves were detected, two of which were reported by the Anderson. Such a grouping of waves is often called "three sisters". As per the investigation, it was theorized that the Fitzgerald was badly battered by the first two waves, further damaging the hatch covers. It was surmised ultimately that the Fitzgerald took on water through the damaged cargo hold covers, which flooded the ore cargo and severely stressed the ship's hull, and was then overwhelmed by the third wave that snapped the weakened ship in half.


Link Posted: 12/29/2009 6:32:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2009 6:35:19 AM EDT by Isenhelm]
Originally Posted By Chaingun:
November 10, 1975


Why posting now, missed the anniversary by a month


yeah... the point of this thread? What is it?

the song or the subject? just randomly
Link Posted: 12/29/2009 6:42:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2009 6:43:07 AM EDT by CWS1911]
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
So what caused it?

Did they hit bottom?




Link Posted: 12/29/2009 6:50:22 AM EDT
I was in 1st grade in MI at the time and still remember it being on the news.
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