Weather Bomb 1913

Book Cover


July 26, 2018

Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous early winter storm, perhaps the largest ever, that hit the Great Lakes in 1913. Countless commercial vessels did not survive the rampage while the communities on the shores also experienced horror.

Kemp grew up in Sarnia, literally fishing on the pier, and has spent his life not far from water as a photographer and journalist bringing boats and sailors’ stories to life. The book reflects that dedication, and equally Kemp’s commitment to detailed research about a topic that grabs his interest.


Bruce Kemp Steering Lake Freighter Kemp steering the Algoma Spirit

The most engaging part of the book, from my perspective, is the final trip of the SS Regina, through the rivers that link Erie to Lake Huron as the boat picked up freight along the river, passing by Kemp’s hometown pier, although decades before Bruce watched those freighters ply the St Clair River.

The book is dense, but fascinating and I came away more knowledgeable about freighter on the Lakes, both in the 1900s and since, than I ever expected to. Naturally, the exploration of weather patterns and cyclonic behavior is also highly detailed – if you are interested in that detail you’ll find this a compelling page turner. The human stories of the lost, the survivors and their families is worth the read in itself.

Bruce Kemp Foul Weather Gear Photo Credit: Bill Jackson

In addition to watching Lake traffic, sailing, fishing, photographing and generally hanging out on boats, Kemp has made several freighter passages and his affection for them, the people who run them and their families pours out of the book.

Weather Bomb is available from Waypoint Marine Publishing in Merrickville, ON and at selected marine and book outlets.


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