102-Year-Old Missing Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Huron

For the last 30-plus years, 74-year-old shipwreck hunter David Trotter has been in pursuit of his white whale, a missing vessel called Hydrus.

In early July, Trotter and his crew were out scanning the clear summer waters of Lake Huron when a large outline appeared on his LCD screen. The sonar trailing behind his boat was imaging something detailed enough to register individual cargo hatches, and they knew almost immediately that the hunt for Hydrus was over.

Earlier this month, after several dives down to the wreck to confirm its identity, the crew announced that Hydrus had at last been found. The Detroit Free Press was on the scene and has footage (below) of both the initial sonar discovery and the subsequent dive.

Hydrus likely went down on November 9, 1913, during the worst storm ever recorded on the Great Lakes. The Great Storm of 1913 claimed 250 lives and 19 ships, and is referred to as the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury," or the "White Hurricane." The blizzard-like conditions led to 90 mph winds and waves up to 35 feet.

The 436-foot steamship was carrying iron ore when it sunk, and had successfully made its way through Lake Superior—the largest of the lakes—before it started its journey south on Lake Huron. With a barometer as their only instrument, the crew had no idea what they were in for. The ship soon started to take on water as waves crashed over the stern, and eventually lost power, succumbing to the violent November waters.

All 22 members on board Hydrus died. Some quite incredibly managed to make it onto lifeboats, but the small vessels were ill-equipped to handle the conditions. One of those boats eventually made it to shore on the Canadian side of the lake with five crew members sitting upright, frozen to death. Among them were a pair of brothers, Kernol and Leslie Christy.

Today, 102 years after the tragedy, Hydrus is in remarkable condition. A sign covered in zebra mussels helped confirm what Trotter and his crew already knew: that this was the ship they’d been looking for. It’s sitting upright on the floor of the lake, and while there is damage, the cold water conditions have preserved much of it. Divers can even swim through the ship.

It’s an incredible conclusion to a decades-long hunt. Trotter told the Detroit Free Press that he’s logged about 2500 square miles in all, scrolling back and forth on a massive grid. For now, he and the other shipwreck hunters are keeping the location of the Hydrus to themselves as they continue to explore the site. After 30 years, finders keepers seems only fair.

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]


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