The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Treacherous Manitou Passage

In Benjamin J. Shelak's Shipwrecks of Lake Michigan, he says that "...treacherous weather, numerous islands,and reefs waiting to smash unwary vessels, and frequent boat traffic, the northern region of Lake Michigan was the scene of some very early wrecks."

On my way home from my time at Torch Lake, I wound my way down the shoreline and stopped to do some hiking in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This is one of my favorite stretches of the lake; the Manitou Islands sit just offshore here.

I hiked several miles south from the Maritime Museum at Glen Haven.

I walked for miles without seeing any other people or even footprints on the shore. There are large dunes here and there are few access points to the lakeshore.

Here's what I came across on this little traveled stretch:

It was rather camouflaged under the sand and pulsing waves, but as I investigated, this was revealed:

This 25 foot section of wooden boat was held together by metal rods and braces. I hiked back to the Maritime Museum and spoke to the rangers. They didn't know about this find, so when I got home I e-mailed my photos to them.

Here's a photo with my (size 11) foot in the shot to add some scale to the size of these boards:

I've asked the rangers to let me know if they find out more about this piece of ship, so I'll post more when I hear from them.

YES, I discovered a SHIPWRECK!
(Well, at least a piece of it...)

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