Sunken ship discovered in Northumberland Strait
'Sometimes divers can dive their whole career and never get to do that'
A sunken ship has been discovered about 13 kilometres off the coast of Prince Edward Island in the Northumberland Strait — thanks to a fisherman's hunch.
Divers brought back footage of the ship after exploring the site on Sept. 14 and though they can't yet be sure, they believe it to be the wreck of the Ferguson, a dredging barge that sank in 1926.
"It's a moment in a lifetime for a diver," said scuba diver Laura Brake with the P.E.I. Scuba Divers Group.
"Sometimes divers can dive their whole career and never get to do that."
The ship is in about 21 metres of water, and has collected a lot of sea life over 91 years.
A fisherman's hunch
Fisherman Donald MacDonald of Nine Mile Creek first spotted something on his fishing boat's image finder years ago, and was certain there was something large down below.
"I knew it was something. Set traps on it, caught a few lobsters on it," MacDonald said.
When he took divers out to collect scallops last month, he figured he'd take them to the site.
"It's exciting. Really the exciting part is to see the shipwreck. To know what it is, and about it," MacDonald said of the discovery.
Excitement in the diving community
The wreck is creating a lot of excitement among Island scuba divers.
A lot of divers from off the Island will want to check it out, Brake believes, so they're already urging people to treat the underwater site with respect to preserve it.
"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but bubbles. And that's what we'd like for the Ferguson — if this is what she is. That this shipwreck will be there for Islanders and visitors to enjoy for years to come, preserved as we found it," Brake said.
Hoping for more information
According to research conducted by the P.E.I. scuba group, six lives were lost when the Ferguson went down.
The diving community is hoping for more information about the site, in hopes of confirming that the ship is indeed the Ferguson, explained Brake.
MacDonald may take more divers to the wreck this fall, if the weather holds, he said.
With files from Brian Higgins