“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on downGordon LightFoot, Canadian songwriter and artist.
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”
The “Gales Of November,” one of the song’s line from Canadian Singer, Gordon Lightfoot’s hit song about the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, appears to hold true with the M. Stalker ship’s sinking in the Mackinac Straits. However in contrast to all lives lost with the Edmund Fitzgerald, there were no loss of lives in the M. Stalker demise.
The M. Stalker was a 135′ schooner built in 1863 in Milan Ohio, USA. She sailed the Great Lakes for more than 20 years, before succumbing to a collision with the barge, Muskoka, November 5, 1886. The M. Stalker was carrying a load of iron ore, as was the Edmund Fitzgerald.
In 1886, the M. Stalker anchored off Mackinaw City during a heavy November gale to ride out a hurricane. About two in the morning, she was hit in the bow by the barge Muskoka, which was being pulled by the Isaac May. The crew of the Stalker pulled anchor and were trying to reach shore. The crew left their ship in their “yawl boat” (a two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailboat) and headed for Mackinaw City, knowing their attempts would be futile, to save the stalker.
In 1967, wreck hunters Dick Campbell, Dick Race, and John Steele rediscovered the M. Stalker because her name-board was recovered at that time.
For divers, it sits at 85-100 feet of sandy bottom in the Mackinaw City-to-Mackinac Island ferry channel, where heavy currents exist. Because of this, a dive flag with a look-out in a boat above the water is crucial, and diving on a foggy day is not recommended.
You can see the broken and damaged bow in my video and even the windlass (large mechanism at the front to pull in the anchors) is still in place and intact.
Video and photos by Blueyes below