March 15, 2021
Story by Timothy FitzGerald
Bruce was raised in Sarnia learning the geography of the world from national flags flying on merchant ships navigating the St. Clair River.
During his career as a photographer and writer, he has covered and illustrated many fascinating topics marine, America's Cup sailing races, the Underground Railroad, shipwrecks on the Great Lakes and more.
In his book published "Weather Bomb 1913: Life and death on the Great Lakes", Bruce depicts the worst storm as a "weather bomb" that occurred on Lake Huron November 7th to 10th, 1913. A "weather bomb" occurs when two or three low pressure cells collide and the air pressure drops more than 24 mb in 24 hours. In 1913 the pressure drop was 31 mb producing winds speeds up to 70 knots (hurricane force).
The book describes rogue waves as "three sisters". This occurs where three already significant wind driven waves arrive at the same spot from different directions. They pile on top of each other to create destructive monsters that can reach 10 meters (35 feet) height. These monsters may sweep superstructures off the decks and flood the ship, capsize the ship or crack the hull into two pieces and sink it.
Navigation, weather forecasting and radio communications were not at today's standards. As the 1913 storm subsided, the lighthouse keeper at Point Gratiot, Port Huron, MI spotted a floundered vessel. A rescue ship went out. In fact, it was a capsized steel hull (in sailor speak "turned turtle"). It was the Charles S. Price, however, the entire wooden superstructure had been ripped off  - the power of a rogue rogue wave. Meanwhile, the sturdy Lightship 82 - sank off Buffalo, NY.
Bruce's newest book is "The Whales of the Lake Erie" a funny book aboard a great Lakes freighter sailing from Duluth, MN to Labrador and back to Hamilton, ON - available March 24th, 2021 on Amazon or through Blurb Bookstore.
Bruce lives in Merrickville, ON beside the Rideau Canal, but will visit Port Dover again soon.
Links below.