Two century-old shipwrecks found and identified in Lake Huron

shipwreck in Lake Huron

As Great Lake aficionados know, the floor of Lake Huron is littered with shipwrecks, many of which have never been found or identified. But two names can now be crossed off the list of undiscovered ships. Two schooners that were missing for over one hundred years were found and identified in Lake Huron recently, thanks to an established “shipwreck hunter.”

David Trotter has spent the last forty years hunting down shipwrecks, and in that time has located over 90 of them, including, now, the long-lost Venus and Montezuma. “Each Vessel lost is a unique piece of history,” he told WZZM 13.

The Venus, a transport ship that worked the Great Lakes shipping lanes in the late 1800s sank during a storm in 1887, killing all on board. Trotter worked with divers to find and identify the ship, which he described as being on his “bucket list.” He told WZZM that schooners can be difficult to identify, but when his divers reached the ship, they found grindstones, which the Venus had been transporting at the time she was lost.

Ship's wheel of the Venus shipwreck
Photo by Undersea Research Associates
The ship’s wheel of the long-lost Venus.

“The Venus is in amazing condition for a ship that sank 130 years ago,” Trotter said.

The other ship Trotter and his team found was the Montezuma, which Trotter described as “one of the earliest-built vintage schooners of the time period.” It was identified by its masts, of which there were three. The Montezuma sank in 1871, when it collided with another vessel due to a haze and poor visibility. The crew escaped the sinking ship by boarding the ship they had run into, which remained afloat.

room in the Montezuma shipwreck
Photo by Undersea Research Associates
An intact room in the Montezuma shipwreck

Trotter noted that the Montezuma was also in excellent shape, all things considered. “Many times, the bottom of the lake is hard, or while sinking, ships hit at a particular angle and they literally explode and dismantle themselves. That didn’t happen with the Montezuma, which allowed our dive team to capture some stunning imagery.”

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