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Patrick Durkin

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Gales of November: The Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

Freshwater

Gales of November: The Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes

Whether you’re counting the Great Lakes’ lost souls or sunken ships, you’ll find no month more cruel or destructive than November. Of the 11 deadliest storms to strike the Great Lakes during the past two centuries, seven swept the region in November, and two others struck during the second half of...
Sonar Expert Pulls Drowning Victim from Record Depths

Freshwater

Sonar Expert Pulls Drowning Victim from Record Depths

Until side-scan sonar equipment became more portable and affordable this century, drowning victims who sank deeper than 70 feet usually spent eternity pressed to the bottom by water’s indifferent weight. But high-tech gear won’t find lost souls and return their bodies to grieving families unless a...
Muskie Legend Bob Ellis Lived, Died on the Water

Fishing

Muskie Legend Bob Ellis Lived, Died on the Water

Bob Ellis probably didn’t see death looming on Nov. 3, 1989, as a muskie boat motored toward his little skiff on Wisconsin’s Papoose Lake. Ellis, 71, likely assumed the approaching boat carried fishermen wanting to visit. They’d probably ask how he was faring and imply some band-of-brothers...
Long-Drowned: The Men Who Find Corpses Others Couldn’t

Freshwater

Long-Drowned: The Men Who Find Corpses Others Couldn’t

People seeking Keith Cormican’s expertise know they’ll never again see their loved one alive. They’ve realized their child, spouse, sibling, or parent has drowned, and that local search-and-rescue teams must abandon the search and return to more pressing duties. But families need answers, and they...
Confidence Kills: How to Avoid Boat Accidents this Season

Boating

Confidence Kills: How to Avoid Boat Accidents this Season

Experience alone won’t guarantee hunters and anglers safe passage on troubled waters, no matter how big your boat. In fact, confidence can kill you. Consider Ernest McSorley, who was 63 and commanded 10 ships during 40-plus years at sea and on the Great Lakes. And Edward John Smith, who was 62 and...
Human Catch and Release: Tales and Tips for Unhooking Anglers

Freshwater

Human Catch and Release: Tales and Tips for Unhooking Anglers

Fishing guides and emergency room doctors can’t help but recall gory wounds and pasty faces when hearing the phrase, “get hooked on fishing.” After all, those professionals must often remove fish hooks from the ears, hands, fingers, and other body parts of panicky victims. Guides are often the...