John B. Cowle - Whitefish Underwater preserve
Depth 170-215ft / length 420 ft/ steel steamer/ lost July 12, 1909
Cowle's short working life ended on the foggy night of July 1909 in a collision with Isaac M. Scott. Seven years old at the time of the collision, John B. Cowle was on the southeast course to Soo Locks carrying a cargo of iron ore from Duluth to Soo. Isaac Scott was empty since it was its maiden voyage in the opposite direction
1909 was the time before the radar, Coast Guard radio and separation of up and down bound lanes - and the fog whistles and other measures did not help the two vessels in avoiding few miles off the Whitefish Point. Loaded with heavy iron ore, 436 ft Cowle was no match to empty 534 ft Isaac M. Scott - Scott's bow almost sliced Cowle in half. it sunk in less than three minutes taking 14 out of her 24 crew with her.
Today, Cowle is one of the popular wrecks in the preserve. Due to its length, it is usually moored at both bow and stern. When we did it, only the stern mooring was there. Due to its length and depth, we did not attempt to cross to the bow part. During the dive, I could not get rid of the thought of how powerful the collision and subsequent sinking must have been to bend thick sheets of metal like plastic
The definite highlight of the stern is the huge anchor with on the deck as well as the spare prop blade underneath it. Prop itself is another attraction. Stern cabin is still there, although it is partially collapsed likely during sinking.
Hazards are depth and cold - it was 39F at the bottom in lake July.