The schooner barge Pathfinder
worked in the grain trade making several trips carrying coal from ports on Lake Erie to the upper lakes and returning with grain. Pathfinder
was large for a wooden schooner measuring nearly 200 feet in length. To achieve that length she was built with a massive reinforced keelson structure.
On the night of November 17, 1886, Pathfinder
was loaded with a cargo of iron ore and in tow of the steambarge Jim Sheriffs
north of Twin Rivers Point (now Rawley Point) when they encountered an enormous gale and snowstorm. By 10 PM, Pathfinder
iced up and broke her towline. The captain of the Jim Sheriffs
made several attempts to pick her up, but the sea conditions prevented him from getting near her and she went ashore in bed of quicksand at about 4 AM.
lies in 15 feet of water, in a bed of quicksand. The site was reported by Suzze Johnson while flying in a powered parachute in the fall of 2013. Measuring just less than 200 feet in length, Pathfinder
is an excellent site for exploration by divers, kayakers and snorkelers.Though the hull structure has split and twisted, most of the vessel’s lower hull remains intact, as does the cargo of iron ore Pathfinder
was carrying when she sank. Though much of her upper deck works, rigging and anchors were salvaged shortly after her grounding, major structural components of the vessel remain points of interest for visitors, including her centerboard trunk and keelson structure.
A dive guide for this vessel is available for purchase.