The Judge Hart is one of a number of pristine shipwrecks in Northern Lake Superior. Built as a "canaller", the Judge Hart fell victim to the "Gales of November" in 1942. Traveling from Port Arthur with a load of grain, the Judge Hart sought refuge in Jackfish Bay, near Marathon as the weather worsened. The ice build-up on the ship made accurate depth sounding very difficult and soon the ship found herself grounded on Fitzsimmons Rocks. Steamers JOHN ERICSSON and JAMES B. EADS pulled vessel free, but her pumps failed to control water. After a long struggle, the order was given and the ship abandoned. The ice build-up allowed the wheelhouse to remain intact during the sinking. The ship lies upright and intact nestled at the bottom of Ashburton Bay.
A small group of GUE divers pursued an opportunity to document this incredible vessel while preserving the image of this underwater treasure. With Canada's scuba tourism industry growing it is up to clubs and individual divers to step up and take a part in preserving these wrecks from theft and damage. Diving a shipwreck like this is like traveling back in time and sites this well preserved are a precious resource we should all strive to protect.
GUE would like to thank Captain Paul of Discovery as well as Terry Irvine for their capable and focused support.
Photos by David Rhea, Video by Jarrod Jablonski, Edited by Rich Denmark