On the evening of Sept. 1, 1905, the Sevona left the Allouez docks of West Superior, Wisconsin, bound for Erie, Pennsylvania. The steamer was carrying 6,000 tons of iron ore and a crew of 24, including four women. Although heavy waves were building on the lake, there was no wind or other indication in the weather or forecast of the impending storm. However, within a few hours, the swells grew into a storm, which gathered more force by the hour. By midnight it was an all-out gale , a Lake Superior nor'easter . At 2 a.m., the Sevona was about 70 miles from Superior, Wisconsin, and heavy seas were breaking over its bow and running over its deck. The captain, Donald Sutherland McDonald, estimated his position was an hour northeast of Sand Island and decided to turn toward the southwest and seek shelter in the Apostle Islands. Capt. McDonald, a Scots-Canadian mariner from Ontario, had extensive saltwater experience. He had cheated death years earlier when he and another man were the sole survivors of a wreck off the Irish coast. Capt. McDonald steered the ship through blinding rain, fog, mist, and rough seas and slowed the engines to half speed around 5:45 a.m., when he realized his vessel was nearing the Apostle Islands. About 15 minutes later, still running blind, the Sevona ran hard aground on Sand Island Shoals . The damage included a gaping hole in the bow and a split in the center of the hull.