George N Orr Wreck – Savage Harbour, PEI

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The George N. Orr was a World War One shore patrol vessel that sank near Savage Harbour, Prince Edward Island. Savage Harbour is situated on the Island’s north shore. George N Orr is 100 feet from the shore, in very shallow water, about six to eight feet. This is great for snorkelers and beginner divers.

George Orr
George N. Orr

The “Island,” originally referred to by the indigenous Micmac people as Abegweit, is often referred to as “Cradled on the Waves,” which accurately describes the slender crescent of land nestled in the surrounding waters. Prince Edward Island is approximately 225 km (140 miles ) long, ranging in width from 3 to 65 km (2 to 40 miles). Its location, along with the island’s fertile red soil, has given two nicknames to Prince Edward Island: the “Garden of the Gulf” and the “Million-Acre Farm.” It is also sometimes referred to as “Spud Island” due to its significant production of potatoes.

Prince Edward Island is also home to many shipwrecks.

The George N. Orr was originally designed as a lake boat and was not intended for ocean travel, although it was sold to the US by the Canadians and used during the First World War for coastal service. Built at Chicago IL by Chicago Ship Building Co., and was powered by coal-powered engines.

Launched April 18, 1896, George N Orr was headed from Montreal to New York full of hay bales in December 1917. The steering gear of the ship was damaged near East Point, Prince Edward Island, and she drifted helplessly until she crashed ashore and broke in two in a storm near Savage Harbour on the island. No lives were lost and the islanders took the crew into their homes.

Large lobsters and jellyfish surround the wreckage and many of the remnants are covered with water weeds. Currents and sediment are also an issue which can reduce visibility. Cottagers are nearby, and some know about the wreck and others not.

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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