• Lillie Parsons

Lillie Parsons

Ability: Novice to Advanced
Depth: 35' - 100'
Built: 1868
Sunk: August 5, 1877

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The Lillie Parsons is a double masted (fore & aft) retractable centerboard schooner built in Tonawanda N.Y. in 1868. She was being used to transport 500 tons of coal when a squall shifted her cargo, pushing her into Sparrow Island. She started taking on water, capsizing, and sank off the west side of Sparrow Island. 

She lies upside down, against the side of the island (in a quick current) with her bow downstream in about 70' on a rock slope. The Stern and its impressive rudder lies upstream at about 20' depth. 

She is easily accessible by following the anchor chain (quick current) down to the railing between midship and the bow. You can then use the chain to pull yourself upstream between the wreck and island towards the stern where S.O.S. (Ottawa) has a tray of recovered *goodies* from the wreck. 

Divers can penetrate the stern, slipping past the ship stove and rudder post up into the ship's interior. She sits on top of part of her cargo hold, where coal has spilled out. Returning out the stern, you can follow the channel rail downstream to the bow, providing a good opportunity to see the masts that extend from her. On reaching the bow take note of her impressive bowsprit and the windlass chain still attached (island side). You can return up on the island side back to the stern to see the rudder holding fast up against the current (good photo opportunity). 

Once you finished looking around there are two ways to leave the site. You can follow the chain back to surface, or you can 'shoot the rudder' by drifting over the Lillie from the stern (getting a good look at her from above). Simply drift with the current, enjoying the 'Parson's Escape' as you follow the contour of Sparrow Island. This adds a great wall and drift dive to your experience as the quick current whisks you along the side of the island. 

It is highly recommended that you drift at a depth of 40' and stay close to the island walls. The shipping lane is only a few feet away and the actual river bottom is about 200' below you. As you near the end, you will see a rope leading back to the surface. Simply grab the rope and ascend to your safety stop, then up to the surface. You will find yourself near the bay where a gentle swim will bring you back to the dive boat. 

The Lillie Parsons provides an enjoyable wreck dive and drift dive all in one. A flag and chase boat are stressed. 

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