Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks - Explore Shipwrecks - Ottawa
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  Final Voyage


The Ottawa's last mission came in 1909. The steamer James H. Hoyt was passing Wisconsin's Apostle Islands in a storm on Nov. 13, 1909, when its engines became disabled. The 353-foot freighter began drifting toward Outer Island and became stranded on a previously uncharted shoal 2 miles northeast of the island. The first mate and some of the crew launched the lifeboat and went to get help. They spent a frightening 13 hours on the stormy seas before they reached Bayfield.

crew of the Ottawa The crew of the Ottawa

Three tugs and a lighter responded to their pleas for help and worked all day in terrible conditions. They lightered the Hoyt's iron ore cargo and pulled on the steamer, but it didn't budge. For a full week, they tried to free the Hoyt. Finally the ship was turned over to its underwriters, who contacted Reid Wrecking Company. Reid sent the Ottawa and its partner the tug Manistique from Ontario to the scene. It took more than a week -- until Nov. 29 -- for the wrecking tugs along with another tug to free the Hoyt from the shoal. The tugs brought the rescued steamer into the shelter of Red Cliff Bay, near Bayfield, Wisconsin.


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