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The Witch of November by zulumike The Witch of November by zulumike
The Witch of November is a late-fall storm only known to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are freshwater seas that are so large that they can produce their own weather systems. The water temperature of the Great Lakes is still warm in late fall. When cold arctic air from Canada collides with warmer air over the lakes and those brought from the south, severe storms develop bringing winds from 50 to 100 miles per hour. Wave heights can reach 20 to 35 feet.

The most infamous Witch of November came 35 years ago this month when 60 mph winds, 100 mph gusts and waves of 35 feet sunk the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. At 729 feet and 13,632 gross tons she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes, for thirteen years, until 1971. The ship carried 29 crew members.

The Fitzgerald's normal course during her productive life took her between Silver Bay, Minnesota, where she loaded taconite, to steel mills on the lower lakes in the Detroit and Toledo area. She was usually empty on her return trip to Silver Bay. On November 9, 1975 Fitzgerald was to transport a load of taconite (26,116 tons) from Superior, Wisconsin, to Zug Island, Detroit, Michigan.

The last communication from the doomed ship came at approximately 7:10 p.m., when the S.S. Anderson notified the Fitzgerald of an upbound ship and asked how she was doing. Captain McSorley of the "Fitz"reported, "We are holding our own." She sank minutes later. No distress signal was received, and ten minutes later the Anderson could neither raise the Fitzgerald by radio, nor detect her on radar.

The artwork is dedicated to the crew and families of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Credits:
stormy weather

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:iconkellyn87:
Kellyn87 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016
So lovely yet very tragic! There have been theories on what happened to her. One is a giant wave slammed into her and broke her back. If i recall right one other theory is  She hit some rocks and it gashed her hull. Her Captain was one brave man. "We are holding our own!" RIP Edmund Fitzgerald!
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:iconelr79655:
elr79655 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015
40 years after her final voyage, the sinking of the Fitzgerald continues to fascinate us.  We may never know for certain what sank her, but perhaps it's better that way.  There are some things which man just is not meant to understand.
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:icontonygcampagna:
TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
Finally, someone gave this tale some tribute! I can hear Gordon Lightfoot now......this is absolutely perfect!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is actually my favorite work. Going to Mackinaw Island this Summer for visit of the Great Lakes. Thank You.
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:icontonygcampagna:
TonyGCampagna Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Professional General Artist
Sadly I've never been, I'm envious. You portray a convincing scene in this. :) Most welcome.
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:icondinobatfan:
dinobatfan Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional General Artist
Incredible work tribute to a very sad loss.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ThankYou, appreciate the feedback.
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:iconpanzerbob:
PanzerBob Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014
Bravo Zulu...something of this ship and her story (if they know of her) stays in heart of all sailors...Excellent Work
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you much. 
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:iconuncledon:
uncledon Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Great painting. Back in the early 90's I had a summer internship with the USGS working on Lake Michigan doing side scan sonar surveys. The ship we used was owned and operated by a man who was part of the team that found the Fitz'. I've always loved the Gordon Lightfoot song.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This one of my favorite works. When I worked at Electric Boat, I got to visiting the training facilities at the US Coast Guard at New London.

Nautical art is one of my favorite subject. I grew up around water and ships.
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:iconwaterflame6:
Waterflame6 Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2014
AHMAHGAWD ITS THE FIZGERALD!!
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:icondragonstarv99:
DragonstarV99 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
Nice job
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist

Thank You, I love both aviation and nautical art, But this has always been my favorite.


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:icondragonstarv99:
DragonstarV99 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014
No problem the story behind the ship was sad but you did and excellent job with the whole thing.
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:iconmensjedezeemeermin:
MensjeDeZeemeermin Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2013
Beautiful subject and thought.  When the salvage divers finally reached her, one of them left a can of beer in the wheelhouse for the pilot, who was fond of that.  Every time the human race thinks that it's mastered the forces of nature...
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, my favorite.
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:iconnipntuck3:
Nipntuck3 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
what a wonderful  picture, I remember that day, I lived in Silver Bay for 15 year from 1973 to 1988 and move back to Duluth, wear I was born in the early 50"s, what a sad day, something I will never  forget ,I have the honer of watching Lake Superior at it worst , it can be a very beautiful calm day and with in minutes and turn Deadly there are pi in my gallery of the GREAT LAKES....Barb
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for you feedback.

This is my favorite work because I can relate somewhat to these great ships and the men who work these  " lakers" everyday. 

I grew up around water and boats most of my life. I grew up sailing the Gulf of Mexico as a boy with my dad.
Joined the Navy as a submariners and worked in the shipyards building subs.
 I have friends that live on Lake Michigan and we visit them every Summer. I have been to most of the Great Lake Maritime museums. Gordon Lightfoot' s Edmund Fitzgerald ballad is my favorite song. Cheers, Mike.
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:iconnipntuck3:
Nipntuck3 Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2013
I too like the ship  we have here, I see them every day , even when the tall ship were here this summer , you have some great picture of the Ship 
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:iconjsh50:
JSH50 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013
Beautiful artwork
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I appreciate it. I am happy with the results , my personal favorite.
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:iconjsh50:
JSH50 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2013
My pleasure!
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:iconbelote-art:
Belote-Art Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Nice painting and nice tribute. Thanks for the history behind it and the Great Lakes. I can hear Gordon Lightfoot in the back of my brain now.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is my favorite work and Gordon Lightfoot song is a great song and tribute to the men and families of the Edmund Fitzgerald. thanks for the feedback.
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:icondeath-tribble:
death-tribble Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013
Having found the picture I wondered if someone would post the song and they did.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's one of my favorite songs and a great ballad and tribute to the crew. Thanks for sharing.
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:iconrd-dd1843:
RD-DD1843 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012
I am glad, for the sake of the family, they found the wreck eventually. They still don't know the exact cause of the sinking.
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:iconchoctawbadge:
Choctawbadge Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012
This does great honor to the 29.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, I appreciate it.

I have been wanting do the "Fitz" for a long time. I went through a lot of scerios, because I wanted to represent the dangerous work that these brave men faced hauling their cargo across dangerous waters.
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:iconchoctawbadge:
Choctawbadge Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
You have certainly accomplished what you set out to do.
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:iconn0t3r:
N0T3R Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
I've been to White Fish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum near where she went down. It was summer and the water was still cold and turbulent, I can only imagine it during a true storm. Great image.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Despite all that modern technology can offer, surviving a Great Lakes storm is still a challenge. Storms can explode across hundreds of miles of open water with little or no warning. Storms on the Great Lakes often can be more difficult to navigate than ocean storms. Waves on the Great Lakes jump and strike quickly compared to the lethargic rolling and swelling of ocean waves.

I am amazed that these "warm waters" are in the mid-50's F degrees in the late summer/fall and then mix with the cold artic air from Canada to create such fast and violent storms. The captains give Lake Michigan with the most respect because there is no coastal protection for safe harbor and it is so unpredictable. Thanks Noter, glad you like it. Cheers.
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:iconjncarter:
jncarter Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Stunning !
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks John, I appreciate.

I have been on these lakes during late summer vacations. They can be rough at times and gusty. Even pilots have to beware of the weather conditions when flying over this area. Cheers.
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:iconwytherwing:
wytherwing Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
outstanding work! :thumbsup:
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You, I appreciate it. Cheers.
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:iconwytherwing:
wytherwing Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
you're absolutely welcome... cheers! :ahoy:
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:iconthetobs:
theTobs Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW! cool workout on details.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank You. I appreciate your feedback. Glad you noticed some of detail. The "white-capping" of the water gave the scene a more stormy effect I think.
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:iconthetobs:
theTobs Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
this was something i was thinking about in connection with details! i didnīt knew the word for this... .^^

yes, itīs a cool artwork!
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:iconswiftflyer:
SwiftFlyer Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It was quite the mystery for a few years. I have been to the maritime museum at Whitefish Point and have seen the bell from the "Fitz". Living in Cleveland, Lake Erie definitely has her moods and quite an effect on our weather.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the feedback. I plan on a visit to the mueseum soon.

There are many theories why she sunk, but it was a "perfect storm". The combination of speed of the wind, duration of the wind and wide fetch create huges waves of a magnitude never seen before. Also the "Fitz" had a low load line during storm.

Other contributing factors:
The ore was loaded through hatchways located top side. On October 31 routine damage was noted during an inspection and were scheduled for repair after the 1975 shipping season. The hatch covers were not sealed properly and were therefore not water tight, thus allowing water to enter the cargo areas. Once water entered it could migrate throughout the hold. There was no way to determine if flooding was occurring in the cargo bay until the ore was saturated, much like a sponge. Throughout the storm the ship was probably taking on water in the cargo hold though the hatches. Increased water loading, and the lower load line, made the ship sit lower in the water, allowing more water to board the ship. Eventually the "bow pitched down and dove into a wall of water and the vessel was unable to recover. Within a matter of seconds, the cargo rushed forward, the bow plowed into the bottom of the lake, and the midship's structure disintegrated, allowing the submerged stern section, now emptied of cargo, to roll over and override the other structure, finally coming to rest upside-down atop the disintegrated middle portion of the ship" (Marine Accident Report SS Edmund Fitzgerald Sinking in Lake Superior). This sequence of events would lead to a rapid sinking, with no time to make a distress call or attempt life-saving operations. The conditions of the recovered lifeboats support this in that they appear to have been torn from their storage racks.
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:iconswiftflyer:
SwiftFlyer Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It almost seems like the John Denver accident. The cause was a fuel selector that was positioned by the builder of the experimental aircraft that was difficult to access and hard to move. Mr. Denver had made arrangements to have it returned to the designers position, but crashed before that could have been done.
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:iconmeema:
Meema Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Watch out when the Witch of November comes stealing.
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
These "lakes" are like oceans, so powerful and deadly in the winter. Lake Superior is beautiful in the Summer but ominous and scary at this time.

With improved radar on the ships of today its a lot safer to avoid storms, but as one captain has said each "voyage" is different and unpredictable.
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:iconmeema:
Meema Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I spent 23 summers of my life on Lake Huron. I love the Great Lakes, even when they get rather rough.
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:iconnightowl3090:
Nightowl3090 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
YES! It's about time we got some new Edmund Fitzgerald art!
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:iconzulumike:
zulumike Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have always been a fan of maritime history and art. I have read several books about the Edmund Fitzgerald. I have had this on the drawing board for several months, consumed with aviation art. Finally the colors came together and more powerful sea with some new brushes. Thanks.
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:iconwaynebenedet:
WayneBenedet Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012
Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
Music and lyrics Đ1976 by Gordon Lightfoot


The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early.

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck sayin'.

"Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,

(*2010 lyric change: At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said,)

"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"
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November 27, 2012
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