Deadly Voyage

Thursday night I drove up to Big Rapids Community Library to hear two men speak. I had not heard of either of them until last week. While on our way home from Branson, I began reading Deadly Voyage. It is an account of the wreck of the Daniel J. Morrel in Lake Huron in 1966. Once I had read the first chapter, I told Tom, "You are going to want to hear this." And so for the rest of the day, I read the book aloud. There were times I had to stop because of tears and we had to take a break to talk about the events before I could go on and finish. But what a story. I emailed the author, Dr. Andrew Kantar, to tell him what an excellent book he had written. He answered me and told me that Thursday he would be speaking in Big Rapids along with the only survivor of the wreck, Dennis Hale.

Andrew Kantar answering questions from the audience.

Dennis Hale with the life jacket he was wearing when he was rescued by the US Coast Guard.

This is what I wrote on my Sault Boat Watcher blog. I'll share more with you in the coming days.

Dennis Hale is a survivor. In fact, he is the sole survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck that occured in 1966. There were 29 men on the Daniel J. Morrel when she encountered hurricane force conditions in November 1966. The storm caused the Morrel to break into 2 pieces. Hale and three shipmates made it to a life raft after being thrown off the boat but after 38 hours adrift, Hale was the only one still alive when they were found by the Coast Guard. I'll write more of this horrific story in the next few days.

The story has been described in a book by Dr. Andrew Kantar called Deadly Voyage. I heard Hale and Kantar speak last night at the Big Rapids Community Library. They will be speaking again on May 6 & May 8 at other Mecosta County Libraries. It was worth the hour drive for me to meet these men and hear a first hand report of the sinking of the Morrel.

I will write a more detailed review of Deadly Voyage in the next few days but I can say it is an excellent accounting of the wreck and its effect of the families of the seamen. I would recommend Deadly Voyage to anyone interested in reading of this Great Lakes tragedy but also as a story of the resiliency of the human spirit.

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