A Mysterious Boat Wreck Visible Through The Crystal-Clear Water Of Lake Michigan.
On Lake Michigan you may see wrecks due to the very clear spring waters and every winter ice forms. This ice is thick so that people who live on their coasts can go ice fishing but also snowmobiles on their surfaces.
Each spring the ice melts, leaving the waters of some lakes clear for a while. According to an article in Smithsonian magazine, the waters of Lake Michigan are currently so clear that planes flying over its surface are able to see shipwrecks below the water’s surface. Traverse City, Michigan, a US Coast Guard air station, and helicopter crew took photos of 5 of the area’s most beautiful wrecks during a routine patrol.
The photos were taken over the Manitou Passage Underwater Reserve near Sleeping Bear Point in the northern part of the peninsula. The area became part of a shipping route to facilitate the lumber industry, as the Manitou Islands provided a place for ships to find shelter during storms.
Only 2 of the 5 wrecks were identified by the team.vOne is known to be what remains of the “James McBride”, a 121 foot brig that ran aground in 1857 during a storm after picking up a cargo of timber. Now the wreck is under 5 to 15 feet of water.
And the other is that of the “Rising Sun”, a 133 foot long steamboat that ran aground in 1917, after a snowstorm they were full of farmers bringing their crops south to sell. . But luckily, the crew were able to make it to land, seeking help from residents in the area. The Coast Guard and a base crew took a sled boat to the crippled ship in the morning. It was empty, but there was an elderly passenger, who during the accident was sleeping. Today, the remains of the Rising Sun are under 6-12 feet of water.
Clear blue water can be beautiful and inspire a desire to enter, but the waters of Lake Michigan remain extremely cold in April.
The freezing water temperatures and the fact that the lakes are fresh water are the reasons the wrecks remain so well preserved, despite being there for over a century. There are a total of 6,000 Great Lakes wrecks. Lake Michigan has 1,500 in the waters. Even in the Manitou Passage Preserve, there are a number of other wrecks that could not be photographed.
The reserve’s website has a list of wrecks. Like “The Congress”, which is the deepest, located under 165 feet of water. Built in 1867 and died out in 1904, after a fire broke out on board, burning most of the stern.