1903 shipwreck discovered, identified after ‘quarantine investigation’ done by MSRA, beachcomber – WZZM13.com

Posted: April 25, 2020 at 5:47 am

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HOLLAND, Mich. When it comes to lost vessels on the Great Lakes, there's one certaintythey'll be found when they want to be found.

Thanks to the curiosity of a beachcomber and coaching via FaceTime by members of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (who were hundreds of miles away), a 1903 wreck has been discovered and identified.

Not even a coronavirus quarantine could stop it.

A strong storm on April 19, 2020 swept through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, churning up the sand along Lake Michigan's shoreline on the eastern side of Garden Peninsula.

A beachcomber, walking along the shoreline south of Manistique, discovered and helped identify a shipwreck that had emerged from the sand.


A beachcomber, walking along the shoreline south of Manistique, discovered and helped identify a shipwreck that had emerged from the sand.


A beachcomber, walking along the shoreline south of Manistique discovered and helped identify a shipwreck that had emerged from the sand.


The next day, a beachcomber, who wishes to remain anonymous, was walking along the shoreline near his home, located south of Manistique, and saw what appeared to be the bones of a shipwreck emerging from the sand.

The beachcomber's curiosity led him to contact the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, who then put him in contact with the MSRA.

The beachcomber, who discovered then collaborated with the MSRA to help identify the R. Kanters shipwreck, wishes to remain anonymous.


"He's a longtime homeowner who had walked that beach many times and says he'd never seen any evidence of the ship before," said Craig Rich, author and co-director of the MSRA.

In normal times, members of the MSRA would quickly get into their vehicles and head to the wrecksite to conduct a comprehensive investigation, but the stay at home order for the COVID-19 pandemic would not allow that to happen.

Additionally, MSRA members also knew, based on their experience with wrecks similar to this one, it would soon be reclaimed by the shifting sands.

Something had to be done or this wreck could be lost for another century.

Valerie van Heest, who is also one MSRA's co-directors, decided she would try to coach the beachcomber through all of the processes of a shipwreck investigation, via FaceTime from her home in Holland.

"I was the go-between," said van Heest, who is also an author, explorer and museum designer. "I directed the man to do everything we would have done had we been able to travel up there to do a survey."

The beachcomber took several pictures, videos and measurements of the site. He pounded metal rods into the ground to see how far the ship extended under the sand

"For an amateur, he did a thorough job of measuring and getting us the information we needed to positively identify the ship," said Rich.

Rich and van Heest say they spent scoured over all of the imagery and data the man was able to provide. They both researched, cross-referencing the information with known ships that were reported to have gone missing in that area around the 1903 time frame.

The MSRA went public with the identification of the shipwreck on Thursday.

"The location of the ship was exactly right; the length of the ship was right; the date of the structure of the ship was right for it to be the R. Kanters,"said Rich.

The R. Kanters schooner traveled the Great Lakes hauling various cargoes. It called both Holland. and Grand Haven home.


The R. Kanters was a schooner that traveled the Great Lakes in the late 1800s, hauling various cargoes. It ran out of both Holland and Grand Haven.

On September 7, 1903, the R. Kantersleft Manistique heading south on Lake Michigan and ran into a storm, and ended up grounding, where it hadn't been seen for 117 years.

"We haven't heard of any loss of life," said Rich. "But we know there was a five-person crew on board."

It was named after its owner, Rokus Kanters, who also happened to be the mayor of Holland from 1885-1886.

The R. Kanters schooner was named after its owner, Rokus Kanters, who happened to serve as the mayor of Hollanf, Mi. from 1885-1886.


"His portrait is currently hanging up in the hallway of Holland's City Hall," added Rich.

After being exposed for only three days, the R. Kanters wrecksite is already being reclaimed by the shifting sands of Lake Michigan, but thanks to an observant beachcomber, a piece of Michigan's maritime history no longer is a mystery.

"I was really glad that we were able to identify the ship and tell this story," said Rich.

To learn more about the rich history of the R. Kanters,click HERE.

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Originally posted here:
1903 shipwreck discovered, identified after 'quarantine investigation' done by MSRA, beachcomber - WZZM13.com

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April 25th, 2020 at 5:47 am

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