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From Paddleboarding to Wreck Hunter

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This winter, Mia Toose, the owner of Truli Wetsuits, is paddleboarding and recently became a wreck hunter. Originally from Toronto, Mia left the non-profit world with a rewarding job to pursue her dream of becoming a Caribbean scuba diving instructor. She learned how to kiteboard in her spare time and spent every minute paddling and swimming in the water.

Paddle boarding
Image credit: Billy Shearer

Although there were so many women actively involved in recreational and professional diving and kiteboarding down south, she couldn’t understand why these industries were still based primarily on producing equipment for men. In 2013, with women’s figures in mind, she went to work designing wetsuits and launched Truli Wetsuits. She’s come back to Canada since then and calls Tobermory home.

As well as diving in the Tobermory area, she continues to paddleboard and recently found a shipwreck on one of her paddleboard adventures near Little Pike Bay. Initially, she thought it to be The Goudreau, which was stranded, broke in two, and sunk in 1917. Through confirmation from a friend, it was revealed to be the Etta.

Photo Credit: Mia Toose

On November 21, 1883, the steamer Eclipse was towing the barge Etta from Tobermory to Southampton. A rough storm with gale force winds is detailed in the crew logs. The two ships were separated at night during the storm. On Little Pike Bay, the Etta was set adrift and ran ashore. The single crewmember, John Drew, walked off the Etta and made his way to Wiarton, 16 miles away to file a report with the Port Authorities. The Eclipse capsized in Lake Huron near Pine Tree Harbour and all 7 crew members were lost.

Meaford Monitor 
Friday, December 7, 1883, John Drew’s Statement 

Wiarton, Ont. Nov. 27. The statement of John Drew, the only known survivor of the steamer ECLIPSE, is that the steamer left Algoma Mills on Nov. 15 for Sarnia, with the barge ETTA in tow; ran into Rattlesnake Harbor, Manitoulin Island, and left there Wednesday, Nov. 21, intending to make Southampton. Captain Bush of the barge, left me alone on the barge and went aboard the ECLIPSE. About 4 a.m. I dressed and went on deck, and could see nothing of the ECLIPSE, and realized that I was cast adrift and alone on Lake Huron, and a fearful gale raging. After a while I heard the steamers whistle several times, then I saw and heard no more of them. At daylight, I saw land about a mile distance, and about 4 p.m. the barge went ashore on the beach at Little Pike Bay, and I jumped ashore and started for Wiarton, sixteen miles distant. 
I do not know the names of the crew. There were seven men on the ECLIPSE. Some fishermen were out in a boat at Pine Tree Harbour and saw three bodies floating near the shore with life preservers on, marked ‘the ECLIPSE’ and what appeared to be the upper works of a steamer. One of the bodies had a watch and $22 and another $8.95. By papers found I identified one as Capt. Bush, of the barge ETTA, and another as J. Moore, engineer of the ECLIPSE. 

It is unknown at this time if the Eclipse was ever found.

Who says a paddleboarder can’t be a wreck hunter?

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About Author

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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