Into the Blue

Family Secrets and the Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck

By Andrea Curtis

★ Winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction

The J.H. Jones, from a postcard

“Bringing to vivid life both the hustle and bustle of turn-of-the-century Wiarton, and the characters, flawed yet loved, who populate the author’s personal history…. Curtis weaves the threads of fact and speculation together with the skill of a novelist… Curtis has done her ancestors proud with Into the Blue, navigating the story with a deft, sure and sensitive touch, landing safely at a better understanding of herself and her family, in a beautifully realized narrative.”
–The Globe & Mail
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When Andrea wrote Into the Blue she never imagined the wreck of her great-grandfather’s boat would ever be found. She’d been told it was one of the most searched-for boats in the Great Lakes but the steamer had been lost more than a century earlier. Then, in the summer of 2018, she received an extraordinary phone call from relatives Robert and Dan Crawford. Robert, another great-grandchild of Captain James Victor Crawford, was onboard with shipwreck hunters Ken Merryman and Cris Kohl when they found the Jones at the bottom of Georgian Bay. Watch the video footage of their incredible discovery here.


Why did you write this book?

My mother is an amazingly vivid storyteller, the kind who elaborates as they go along, picking up details like pebbles on the beach, fingering them until they reach a high sheen. Her version of my grandmother’s life and the story of the shipwreck that shaped her life is what made me decide to write Into the Blue.
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From the book

intotheblue-jamescrawford“For as long as I can remember I have been haunted by shipwrecks. Two in particular colour my fears with rust and slime. One of these boats is a prosaic wooden tug called the Metamora that was built in Cleveland in 1864 for service on the Great Lakes. It sank in 1907 about two hundred feet from the slippery pink rock that half a century later would become my father’s family island on the east shore of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron.
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