Beaver Island’s veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Powers has been out and about diving wrecks this summer. Below is a video he shot of the Niko, a 189 foot wood steamer that sank on November 2, 1924 just off Garden Island, one of the islands in the Beaver archipelago.
Below is a short excerpt from the Oswego Daily Times from December 16, 1902 where the Niko narrowly avoided an earlier disaster.
Captain Beggs, when seen today, said: “We left Toronto harbor Thursday evening and should have been here before noon of Friday. I did get outside of here Friday and blew my whistle, but could get no response. The weather was very thick. Friday night we were at the foot of the lake and how it did blow and snow. Saturday morning we anchored off Calf island, and there lost our big anchor and forty fathoms of chain. We were tossed about like a cockle shell and the big chain that held us snapped like a piece of twine. Once we were tossed upon the reef but we didn’t stay there, the next sea knocking us off into deeper water. I don’t believe that I have ever seen the wind blow as hard as it did Saturday.
“It was almost impossible to manage the boat. Had she been loaded we wouldn’t have minded it so much, but light we got an awful tossing. Our greatest anxiety was our fuel supply and yesterday morning when we found that the wind had moderated we started for Oswego, but it was so thick we couldn’t tell how accurately we were steering. For about two hours in the afternoon it cleared up and we could see around for a distance of five or six miles and then we laid our course and reached here as you know. We will have some good weather yet, I hope. It is our intention to load coal for Toronto at the Downey trestle.”
Here is a link to the Maritime History of the Great Lakes page for the Niko if you would like to read the entire story or a couple other news clippings regarding the Niko.