On November 7th, 1868, the 135’ schooner WALRUS, commanded by Captain Everett, was making her way through the Beaver Passage in Northern Lake Michigan. She was out of Chicago with a hold full of barely bound for Oswego, New York. The weather was described as “Thick” and a heavy fog was present. Captain Everett lost his way and ended up running aground on Gray’s Reef, one of the most treacherous shoals in Lake Michigan. Within a couple days another large storm struck the area and the Walrus went to pieces, making salvage impossible.
The WALRUS was discovered by Steven Wimer, Cal Kothrade, Brent Tompkins and Ross Richardson on June 16th 2018. The Walrus rests on a sandy bottom in 25’ of water and is a disarticulated wreck site. Lack if algae and quagga mussels on her timbers indicate this wreck covers and uncovers with sand, from time to time. The area surrounding the Walrus has not been thoroughly searched and more pieces of her hull is thought to be nearby.
The WALRUS was a two-masted schooner which measured 135’ in length. She was built on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio by noted shipbuilders Stephens & Laffrienier. She was built in 1857 and her wooden hull was comprised of white oak timbers, the preferred hull material for vessels built in the Great Lakes Region.
The wreck of the WALRUS is located in Northern Lake Michigan, just north of Gray’s Reef. GPS numbers are planned to be released in 2020