Throwback Thursday: The Sinking of the Blueberry Boat

A blueberry-filled freighter has been buried on the bottom of the ocean for 77 years—until this week.

In February 1939, a British freighter called the Lutzen set sail from Saint John, New Brunswick, to New York, hauling a whopping 320 tons of frozen blueberries. The blueberries, however, never made it to New York, because the ship hit the Orleans shoreline in a fog.

According to the Cape Cod Times, historian William Quinn dubbed the ship the “blueberry boat.” Quinn chronicled the blueberry boat’s sinking in his 1973 book, Shipwrecks Around Cape Cod.

“The 155-foot freighter sat on the beach for a few days while some attempts were made to pull her off, but a northeast storm tossed her high and dry on the sands, so some local laborers were hired at 75 cents an hour to unload the cargo of blueberries from the ship,” wrote Quinn, who passed away in 2014.

A bout of warm weather thawed the blueberries aboard the Lutzen, causing many, many bakers on the Outer Cape to get a jumpstart on blueberry pies. But the ship? It’s been buried at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of the Cape for 77 years—until this week.

The Cape Cod Times reports marine surveyors discovered that the blueberry boat has reemerged from the ocean floor. The boat, which is an estimated 400 feet from the shore, is poking out from the sand. Surveyor John Perry Fish told the Times that the wreck is in about 20 feet of water with both the bow and stern visible.

“It is slowly emerging,” said Fish.

While the blueberry boat has been covered and uncovered by sand multiple times over the years, the ship has only recently become largely visible.

Victor Mastone, director of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, told the Times that the shipwreck is one of 3,500 recorded along the coast of Massachusetts.