Diving the Gunilda

Exploring the Gunilda

At a depth of 80.8 meters (265 feet) along with Canada's stringent regulation of its underwater resources ensures that the Gunilda gets few visitors.  Diving the Gunilda is considered to be a very technical dive and should only be done by very experienced and qualified drivers.  The yacht, now protected as a Heritage Shipwreck, resisted attempts to raise her, and has since been explored by two submersibles, a hard-hat diver and few scuba divers, at least officially.  The yacht sank on August 11, 1911 after running up hard on McGarvey Shoal, known locally as "Old Man's Hump".

Only photos or video can be taken. Penetration inside the vessel is not permitted, and even silt is to be left undisturbed as a way of preserving the wreck.  It is illegal and unethical to disturb this historic wreck or any of the artifacts that are part of or associated with the wreck.  Local boaters keep an eye on the wreck location and will not hesitate to challenge individuals that are diving the wreck and will report suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.

Look but don't touch or take!

The Gunilda vessel has been described by Jacques Cousteau as, “the best-preserved, most prestigious shipwreck in the world”

Dives on the Gunilda

Click on the links below to learn about the Gunilda:


Diving the Gunilda - 2000 and 2001

Diving the Gunilda - 2010

Diving the Gunilda - 2016


Diving the Gunilda - 2017

"Drowning In Dreams" Documentary

In 1996, the National Film Board, commissioned a film to be directed by award winning film director, Tim Southam.  "Drowning in Dreams" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival ( TIFF) in September 1997 and later that year in Thunder Bay.  Tim wrote, " Drowning in Dreams offered me an irresistible opportunity ....to explore the nature of obsession.....Fred Broennle was fixated with the Gunilda". 

To watch the film, click here.

Obsession With The Gunilda

The Gunilda shipwreck is an important historical aspect of local lore in the Rossport area.  This beautiful luxury steam-powered 195 ft yacht, ran aground and sank in August 1911.  The Gunilda was rediscovered in 1967.

In 1970 diving technology had progressed to the point that Thunder Bay salvager Manfred "Fred" Broennle and his friend, a NAUI certified dive master, Charles King Hague, set out to dive on the Gunilda with plans to raise the Gunilda.  Her general location was known as McGarvey Shoal as it is a well marked marine hazard, but exactly where she lay was not common knowledge.

The photo below was taken when the Gunilda had run up on the McGarvey Shoal.

The Gunilda Has Cost Lives

On August 8, 1970 while exploring with Fred Broennle, Charles King Hague did not surface and Fred Broennle who had gone in search for him during the dive was rescued by King's wife Maria.  Fred became committed to retrieving King's body.  Broennle located Hague's body on July 13, 1976 which resulted in him becoming further acquainted with the Gunilda.  King's body was recovered in September 1976.  Years later a second diver would also lose his life.