A congratulation is in order here for making a successful crossing of the sometimes very treacherous, Death’s Door. If this is your first crossing, you must be very excited. Imagine then, the exhilaration of making the crossing in the dead of winter with the hull of the ship grinding against thick, sheet ice throughout whole passage.
Death’s Door Folklore
There are many legends and myths which exist concerning Death’s Door. The Winnebago Indians actually named the waterway “Door of Death” when a group of many braves, (sometimes estimated up to three hundred strong), tried to make the crossing in their frail, birch bark canoes. They were never seen or heard from again. More folklore along these lines suggests that another tribe of braves, a year or so later, also tried the same dangerous feat only to be never heard of again.
This latter group only numbered one hundred or so strong. It was assumed the storm laden waters of Death’s Door had been the architect of destruction, on both accounts.
Later on in time, this dangerous passage, now littered with shipwrecks, became known to early French explorers and voyagers. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, they gave it the French title, “Porte des Morts Passage”, which in English means the “Door to the Way to Death,” or simply, “Death’s Door.”
It is said, there are more shipwrecks in this area than any other part of the Great Lakes.
The Ferry "Robert Nobel" getting ready to dock.
Not to Worry
Today, in crossing Death’s Door, the Washington Island Ferry Line uses modern steel ferries, Coast Guard navigational aids, radar, GPS tracking and navigation. The Washington Island Ferry captains always keep safety in mind when crossing this historic passage.
Robert Noble attempting to dock.
In over fifty years of Death's Door crossings, I can personally attest to nothing more than a minor mishap or two. Although there have not been any shipwrecks here for many years, its charted name is still Death's Door. Many thanks to the Ferry Line for letting us place this cache on their property.
*** Congrats to RJ McKenzie for the FTF ***
|I am a proud