N 43° 41.801′, W 086° 30.954′,  Off Juniper Beach near Pentwater, 12-15′ deep

The 253 foot steel freighter Novadoc was built in 1928 at Wallsend-on-Tyne, Great Britain by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd. At the time of her loss, she was owned by Paterson Steamships, Ltd. of Fort William, Ontario, Canada.

She was lost in the same Armistice Day storm of November 11, 1940 that claimed the Anna C. Minch and the William B. Davock.

The Novadoc was bound from Chicago for Port Alfred, Quebec. Captain Steip stayed close to the the eastern shore of Lake Michigan since the wind was southeast, hoping to to enjoy the “lee” of the land . But the wind shifted to the southwest and began to increase dramatically.

As he attempted to turn she huge freighter into the wind, it became trapped in the trough of the sea and began to roll. Waves began washing over her decks as the crew peered out toward shore, barely able to make out the Little Sable Point lighthouse high atop a desolate beach in Oceana County.

As the great vessel wallowed in the waves her pilothouse windows were smashed out and she began taking on water. The Novadoc ran aground at about 7 pm that Monday evening, immediately breaking in half, severing all electric lines, and submerging both halves of the ship in the sand. Waves continued to batter the ship and soak the crew.

Most of the crew spent the night huddled in the forward Captain’s cabin and office while another group was trapped near the stern. At daybreak it was noticed that the lifeboats had been washed away.

About this time the vessel was spotted by those on shore and a crowd of hundreds gathered over the next few hours. The vessel was between 500 and 700 feet off shore, but could not be reached by boat or line.

On board the vessel the crew began burning furniture to stay warm while day turned into night. The next morning, the Captain ventured to the after end of the boat to see who remained. It was discovered that two men — the vessel’s cooks — had been washed overboard.

During this entire ordeal, the U. S. Coast Guard had refused to come to the aid of the stricken vessel due to the ferocity of the storm. Finally, after 36 hours of waiting, a little fishing boat called the Three Brothers, manned by Captain Clyde Cross, Gustav Fisher and Joe Fountain decided to take matters into their own hands.

Cross steered the little fishing tug alongside the stranded ship and rescued the entire crew of 17 men.

A recent video survey of the wreck shows great details of the vessel as it sits on the bottom of the lake off Pentwater, MI: 

On a beautiful summer day in 2009, Jack and Valerie van Heest dove the Novadoc and recorded these stunning images.