Keeper’s Log, November 28

Sand Island Light Station, November 28, 1905

ENE A terrible gale and soft snow. The wind blowed 80 miles per hour. We could not face it. The sea washed on top of the bank in front of the lighthouse. It carried wood up and carried the bank away. Our walk is carried away and the rocks where we built the walk on the east side of the light and my boat was taken away and the rocks where we built the walk on the east side of the light and my boat was taken away – everything carried away.

The sea came three feet high on boathouse dock it is the heaviest sea and storm I have ever seen in the 16 years I have been on the lighthouses. The storm has carried away what was above the water of the wreck steamer Savona. The snow is 18 inches deep between here and the boathouse and the path is filled with brush and trees which was broken off by the wet snow and heavy wind. The brush is most laid to the ground of the heavy weight of snow.

It is a sight to see- everything looks like a wreck around the beach and the storm is not over with, it is in full blast and is turning very cold. We can hardly keep the house warm. The only place that we can keep half fit to stay in is the kitchen.

This is the famous “Mataafa storm,” in the course of which some 29 ships and 36 lives were lost on the upper Lakes. The disaster takes its name from the most famous of these wrecks, the steamer Mataafa which sunk as it attempted to enter the Duluth harbor. Nine crewmen lost their lives as horrified spectators watched helplessly from shore.

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