On 8 July 1908, JAMES G. BLAINE (formerly PENSAUKEE, wooden schooner-barge, 177 foot 555 gross tons, built-in 1867, at Little Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) was being towed in Lake Ontario by the tug WILLIAM L. PROCTOR. Her towline broke in a storm and she was driven ashore near Oswego, New York where the waves broke her up. No lives were lost. At the time of her loss, even though she was over 40 years old, she was still fully rigged as a 3-mast schooner.

1872 – Fire broke out aboard the passenger steamer KINGSTON about 18 miles upstream after the ship had left Brockville for Toronto. The ship was beached and the superstructure was destroyed but there were only two casualties. The hull was rebuilt at Montreal and later sailed as BAVARIAN, ALGERIAN and CORNWALL before being scuttled in Lake Ontario about 1929.

1911: The passenger steamer NORTH WEST was gutted by a fire while fitting out at Buffalo. The hull remained idle until it was cut in two in 1918 for a tow to saltwater, but the bow section sank in Lake Ontario. The stern was rebuilt on the St. Lawrence as MAPLECOURT and returned to the lakes, again in two sections, in 1922.

1926: NISBET GRAMMER sank after a collision with DALWARNIC in fog off Thirty Mile Point, Lake Ontario, while downbound with a cargo of grain. All onboard were rescued from the 3-year old member of the Eastern Steamship Co. fleet. It went down in about 500 feet of water.

It was about 15 years ago my dive buddy and I went up after work one evening in the fall to dive the wreck we had heard about in Little Marble Lake (which is between the Mazinaw and Marble lake).

In some ways, it doesn’t even look large enough to be a lake by itself but there are connecting tributaries on each end.

When we were there it was later in the season. John was the owner at the time. He was thrilled to see someone interested in it. We talked while suiting up and again once we got out of the water. I hadn’t yet bought a big boy light yet and was diving with our little scout and UK lights. I remember Mike’s fin almost hitting me in the face before I saw it coming (it was so dark). We called it braille diving as we hand over handed our way along the wreck.

At the time we didn’t know about non-contact diving but in some ways with the vis the way it was it was best so we didn’t hurt ourselves or the wreck.

Two falls ago I was driving through the area and stopped in to see if access could be granted for the dive community (and I was a little greedy – I wanted to get some video to see what we had dove before). The place is co-owned by a couple named Andy and Mary and their business partner is Terri. On this trip I talked to Terri and we discussed what I was hoping to do and that I would be back in the spring when I could see the wreck and get some video of her.

Fast forward to this spring. I had a couple who is halfway to Little Marble and wanted to do a dive so I suggested the Little Marble Wreck.

We met in Tweed and headed out arriving in Cloyne about 9:45. It was going to be a sunny day and I was hoping for some good visibility.

I checked in with Andy and he was very accomodating. The campground is closed to occupants so I wanted to make sure everyone was ok with us diving – we had a plan B to do the signs dive just 10 minutes north if we couldn’t secure permission. I checked as to where they wanted us to park. Had it been drier I am pretty sure Andy would have let us drive right down to the water. I was happy with parking in the campground to lessen the walk with all the gear down to the water. Parking could be different when they are in full swing without the Covid restrictions as there will be occupants of the campground so do check-in and ask, please.

John had mentioned that there had been a Save Ontario Shipwrecks survey done back in probably the ’90s. He had a sticker on the door to the common area in the back of his house.

The story he told was that it was a paddle wheeler that was used on the Mazinaw. When its use was in decline it was then used as a barge to move logs from logging operations around the lake. It was caught in the ice and came through the stream to stop in Little Marble where it eventually sank. Tom and I are trying to do some research on her to confirm the identity. She is a large vessel considering the size of the lakes in the area. I would estimate what you see in the video is over 75′ long.

If you have any information that you can pass on (like the original survey from SOS) it would be appreciated.

Hope you enjoy this little piece of Northern history captured underwater.

On 26 May 1888, BLANCHE (2-mast wooden schooner, 95 foot, 92 gross tons, built-in 1874, at Mill Point, Ontario) was carrying coal with a crew of five on Lake Ontario. She was lost in a squall somewhere between Oswego, New York, and Brighton, Ontario.