The Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve offers divers a variety of Lake Michigan attractions, from historic dock ruins to fascinating shipwrecks of two centuries. The Manitou Passage Underwater Preserve's most popular dive site is the wreck of the FRANCISCO MORAZAN, a package freighter that ran aground during a December 1960 snowstorm. The wreck is a few hundred yards offshore from the south end of South Manitou Island. The FRANCISCO MORAZAN is easily accessible and lies in only 15 feet of water. Those factors make it a great dive for those just learning about Great Lakes shipwreck diving. Divers enjoy exploring the hull of the 246 foot ship. Some machinery remains in the engine room. Although much of the FRANCISCO MORAZAN is not submerged, divers should not attempt to explore the superstructure. This is a nesting area for cormorants and gulls. A few hundred yards south of the FRANCISCO MORAZAN is the wreck of the WALTER L. FROST, a wooden steamer that ran aground in 1905. The WALTER L. FROST is broken up because the FRANCISCO MORAZAN literally landed on top of the wreck during the disaster of 1960. Divers enjoy the WALTER L. FROST because so much of the vessel remains. Large sections of the hull, machinery, boilers and related artifacts offer exploration opportunities for divers of all skill levels. The WALTER L. FROST lies in about 12 feet of water. In addition to these shipwrecks, divers enjoy dock ruins that can be found throughout the region. Massive pilings were driven into the sandy bottom to create docks and wharves for loading lumber, fruit, grain and other products onto schooners and steamers that transported such goods on Lake Michigan. These dock ruins attract schools of fish and many artifacts, including anchors and pieces of shipwrecks, can be found among the pilings. Visibility in the 282 square mile preserve ranges from 12 to 25 feet.Shipwrecks that I have dove in the area.
|Launch the boat out of Leyland, Mi.|