Cask & Barrel

The Wreck of the Bavaria

Mar
22

South Marysburgh

The Bavaria was a three-masted timber drogher under tow by a steam barge, when it ran into mountainous seas near Point Petre. The Bavaria’s tow line parted and the ship, unable to gain any steerage way, quickly drifted off. She wasn’t found until two days later on Great Galloo Island, southwest of Main Ducks. The ship was intact, ropes in place and sails stowed. The Captain’s papers and freight money were in his desk; there was a batch of bread in the galley oven, and a pet canary was found chirping cheerfully in its cage. The disappearance of the crew of the Bavaria remains a mystery to this day.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.

The Schooner Picton

Mar
15

South Marysburgh

One of the strangest stories of shipwrecks in the vortex is the tale of the schooner “Picton” which, along with two others ships, the “Acadia” and the “Annie Minnes”, was carrying coal back to Canada.

The three ships were lying in harbour in Charlotte, across the lake in New York. There had been a storm the night before, but the day dawned fair.

Captain Jack Sidley of the Picton was known as a skilled and daring skipper and the Picton had the reputation of running “like a scalded cat”. Sidley had his young son, Vessey, on board with him and he was anxious to get home, so the Picton headed out of the harbour first with the Acadia about ten minutes behind her and the Annie Minnes a half an hour behind that. An hour out into the lake eye witnesses among the crew members of the Acadia and Annie Minnes reported being surprised when they saw the topsails of the Picton coming off. They thought that Sidley had decided to reef, but all of a sudden the Picton just went out of sight, “like she’d fallen into a bottomless pit.”

The two following ships dropped their sails down, looking for survivors, but all that floated by them were a few loose gratings and a sailor cap, with not a sign of the crew. The Annie Minnes and the Acadia searched for some time, but no bodies were ever found.

Months later, near Sackett’s Harbour, New York, a fisherman’s son saw a bottle bobbing in the water for three days running. Curious, he finally rowed out to pick it out of the water. Inside was a note, written in pencil that said:

“Have lashed Vessey to me with heaving line so we will be found together.” — Captain J. Sidley, The Picton

Nobody to this day has been able to explain how the Picton went down so fast, or what happened to the wreckage, or how Captain Sidley had time to write a note, or lash his son to him.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.

The Marysburgh Vortex

Mar
08

South Marysburgh

So many ships have gone down in the stretch of water around Main Duck Island and Point Traverse the area has become known as “The Graveyard of Lake Ontario”. In these waters compass readings are unreliable, shoals and sandbars lie treacherously waiting, and fierce storms blow up with no warning. The number of tragedies that have occurred rivals the infamous “Bermuda Triangle”. Local lore refers to the area as “The Marysburgh Vortex” and any strange events are automatically attributed to its effect.

Also, Prince Edward County sailors will never paint their boats blue. The colour is considered very unlucky. The only boats that are blue belong to yachters and that’s because “they don’t know any better” according to the sailors.

 


Source: Kellough, Janet. The Legendary Guide to Prince Edward County. Picton, Ont.: Kellough Productions, 1994.