Pro Underwater photographer/diver Jill Heinerth shares the back story of how she took this video of the “Sweepstakes Shipwreck” in Tobermory, Ontario. Jill learned to dive in Tobermory, so this video is “going home” to the beginning for her.
The “Sweepstakes Shipwreck” (also known as Sweeps) was an 1867 Canadian schooner constructed in Burlington, Ontario. Damaged off Cove Island in August 1885, tugboat Jessie towed the Sweepstakes to the head of Big Tub Harbour, at Fathom Five National Marine Park, at Tobermory Ontario. The schooner was so badly damaged and sank before it could be repaired in September 1885. Sweepstakes was transporting coal, and after the boat sunk, the coal was recovered.
Today, it is said that Sweepstakes is a perfect picture, where the hull remains intact. Sweepstakes is situated approximately 50 yards from Big Tub Harbor’s edge, and remains in 20 feet deep in the water. The boat’s bow area includes the windshield, and parts of the starboard railings remain unharmed. George Stewart, who lived in Mooretown, Ontario, had last owned Sweepstakes.
Officials at Fathom Five National Marine Park have put up fencing to prevent entry into the schooner. This reduces any further damage to the schooner that could be caused by the divers’ exhaled bubbles
This is a popular dive for divers, and snorkelers will also enjoy viewing Sweepstakes as it is only in 20 feet of water and not far from the shore.
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