Edmund Fitzgerald, Cold, Weather

By Steve Kostan

(WOMC) — As we get our first real winter blast here in Michigan, we Metro Detroiters should be happy we don’t live in the upper Peninsula.

The shores of Lake of Superior received a thick, multi inch snowfall.

Too early?  Nope.  Nov. 10 is the anniversary of the wreck of the massive freighter the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.

November is notorious for extreme gales on Lake Superior which allows the winds to build, and build unimpeded out of the west for many miles.

It’s like a hurricane with ice thrown in for good measure.

I, like many of you, have visited the Shipwreck Museum on Whitefish Point, which the “Fitz” was hoping to round to get a little protection, but didn’t make it.

The thing that makes it even hairier than an ocean hurricane, is  frequency and shortness of the wavelength. Hey sounds like radio, a little.

The Captain, Peter Pulcer, was nicknamed “DJ” because he used to pipe (Blast) music through the ship when they were passing through the Soo Locks or the Detroit River for the people on shore.  Showmanship!  I wonder what jams he went with.

Having those big 35 foot waves so close together makes for an increased amount of stress on the ship, which we all know was loaded down with ore pellets that shifted during the ordeal. Not good.

As most of you, I prefer louder guitar rock but Canadian folkie, Gordon Lightfoot hit a home run with his song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”  He put you right there on the ship, with an almost Bob Seger genius songwriting talent that was as massive as those waves that day.

Gordon even uses the cool pronunciation of “De-troy-at” we all know from Ch. 9.

If you ever visit the museum there, pick up a copy a book that chronicles many of the hundreds of ships that have gone down over the centuries. Cool Read.


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