Skip to comments.The Edmund Fitzgerald: With the Gales of November Remembered
Posted on 11/11/2017 6:17:12 AM PST by NOBO2012
Forty two years ago yesterday, the Edmund Fitzgerald left Superior Wisconsin loaded with 26 tons of iron ore enough to build 75 thousand cars on its way to Zug Island in Detroit. As infamously memorialized in song, it never arrived.
Sailing directly into one of the Great Lakes most ferocious storms, she was no match for the lakes fury which created sustained winds of hurricane force and 25 foot waves with troughs twice that. A mere 15 miles away from safe harbor it split in two and went down with its entire 29 member crew. Such are the fates. Such are the gales of November. Such is the force of nature. Map of the fateful voyage
Until then the worst storm documented on the Great Lakes was a 3 day blow from November 7-10, 1913, over a hundred years ago now, that claimed 19 ships and took 250 lives. I rerun this story every year not because it is such a heart-stopping saga but because it is a reminder that in the scheme of things we are really quite powerless. Man did not create climate change; Somebody else did that for us.
So raise a glass to the memory of the good men who served on the Edmund Fitzgerald that fateful day; to the men who sail into the storm not knowing what their fate might be, knowing full well they may not reach safe harbor.
A proper drink would be a Dark n Stormy made with Goslings black rum and ginger beer although in the Great Lakes we use Vernors. But if, like our president you dont imbibe, just enjoy a glass of Vernors - because thats what we drink around here.
And what would a memorial to the Edmund Fitzgerald be without the sea chanty?
Posted from: MOTUS A.D.
I’m curious, is that song known in areas outside the Great Lakes areas?
Only 15 miles from safe harbor.
Gordon Lightfoots song was always quite haunting.
As big ships go, she was bigger than most.
I think there is a typo on the load. 26 tons is 52,000 #, pretty sure it was much more than that.
Yes! That song was a major hit.
I played it a lot in California.
Of course that song is known outside the Great Lakes! And anyone who bought K-Tel’s definitive collection, “Gordon Lightfoot Sings Every Song Ever Written,” knows it well.
Lightfoot’s lyrics in this tune are amazing poetry.
I also remember that my best friend’s father died that day too........
Let’s see, what rhymes with “gloomy”. shrooomy, roomy, doomy, bill mumy, oh wait, I got it!
Thanks. Whenever I drive up to Lake Superior during November I listen to the song and wonder how well-known it is elsewhere.
Yes, it may have made #1 on AM stations when it was first released. I know I heard it so relentlessly to my brother’s many shouts of “Turn that off!” I still like the song, especially the beautiful, poetic lyrics.
Very bad use of 'infamous' here, as that implies bad connotations like 'infamous criminal'. Gordon Lightfoot's FAMOUS ballad, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, has assured that this disaster will live long after he and we have passed.
I was 18 and going to college in Kalamazoo at the time. Huge news in that part of the country.
Had several frat mates that lived on or around Superior.
The song says 26,000 - 26 THOUSAND tons - or 52 MILLION pounds. My old TI calculator is maxed-out on digits.
Yeah, it should be 26 THOUSAND tons. If you know anything at all about ships that error jumps out at you, 26 tons is peanuts to a ship. Tennessee Ernie Ford sang about 16 tons being loaded by one man in one shift in the coal mine. I’m an old man and I moved several tons in one little light weight workout in the gym already today. I weigh almost one eighth of a ton.
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