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The War of 1812
Ghost Ships of Lake Ontario, Part 1



Ghost Ships of Lake Ontario, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    figurehead, grad, grainy, grapeshot, mainsail, perks, safeguard, ports, high-tech, equipment, leading, heavily, region, harmless, july, armed
     content words:    Lake Ontario, Tethered Remotely Operated Vehicle, Jack Roe, Captain Osgood, Great Lakes


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Ghost Ships of Lake Ontario, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     July 1975
 
2     The tiny cabin was crowded. David squeezed in with the rest of the ship's crew. Though it was full of people, the room was silent. All eyes were fixed on a flickering screen on the table. David could feel his heart thudding. Had they found what they had been searching for? Or would years of work be down the drain?
 
3     All he could see at first was a bluish swirl. It looked like a screen full of oatmeal. David knew the cloud was really muck from the bottom of Lake Ontario. The scene before them was taking place almost three hundred feet below the ship.
 
4     Usually, the frigid waters were clear. Today, though, a strange creature roamed the lake's floor. The crew was using TROV, a Tethered Remotely Operated Vehicle. Jack Roe was TROV's pilot. He sat at a control panel in the ship's cabin. As he pushed buttons, TROV whirred along. The mud churned, and a camera sent video back to the ship.
 
5     David was thrilled to be a part of the crew. It wasn't that his job was super cool. The term "grunt" fit pretty well. He lifted and carried. Whatever needed doing, he did. It was hard work. Sixteen hour days were the rule. He had the aching muscles to prove it.
 
6     TROV was the star of a special project. Many grad students would have given their future degrees to clean toilets on this mission. David still had to pinch himself. He, a lowly high school kid, was in on it all! Being the son of the program's leading scientist had its perks.
 
7     The ship's crew was actually a high-tech hunting party. Their "prey" was nearly two hundred years old. Years of hard work had gone into the hunt. Millions of dollars of equipment was involved. Everything hinged on this moment. It had all come down to the grainy images on the small video screen.
 
8     David's thoughts were interrupted. A gasp swept the little room. The screen had cleared. A ghostly shape emerged. David stared for a moment, puzzled. On the screen was the bowing figure of a man. Then the room rang with shouting. David's heart raced. The object on the screen was more than 160 years old. They were viewing the figurehead of an early 19th century ship.
 
9     August 1813

Paragraphs 10 to 19:
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