Lake Superior’s Alger Underwater Preserve

Several factors combine to make the Alger Underwater Preserve one of the finest sport diving locations in the Midwest.

There are several wrecks concentrated in one area, and the cold, pristine water keeps them from deteriorating. Many wrecks are in very shallow water—as little as 20 feet, where visibility is excellent. Also, Grand Island moderates the cold water temperatures slightly, making diving a bit more comfortable. “It’s one of the best wreck diving sites for beginners that I can imagine,” notes Pete Lindquist, who operates a dive charter in Munising.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The clear waters of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are home to a cluster of shipwrecks. Photo of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore © Jason Ross/123rf.

Just offshore from Munising High School, an underwater museum among dock ruins includes submarine signs that interpret large maritime artifacts. The Alger Underwater Preserve also attracts divers for its sea caves in about 20 feet of water, where sandstone cliffs have been eroded by wave action.

To arrange a dive charter, contact Pete Lindquist’s Shipwreck Dive Tours (1204 Commercial St., 906/387-4477).

For nondivers, Lindquist has an excellent alternative: viewing wells installed in the hulls of a couple of tour boats allows anyone to marvel at the area’s shallow-water shipwrecks. If you do just one thing in the Munising area, make it this fascinating two-hour tour.

The view through the 8- to 10-foot-long windows is truly remarkable. The boat glides directly over shipwrecks, some in as little as 28 feet of water. They fill the viewing windows like historic paintings, perfectly visible in the clear water and looking close enough to touch. On the Bermuda, you can easily make out deck lines, hatches, and even piles of iron ore lying on the deck. Weather permitting, the tour visits three shipwrecks dating from 1860 to 1926. Along the way, Lindquist’s knowledgeable crew also shares history and points out features, including the wooden East Channel Light along the shore of Grand Island. Reservations are recommended. Contact Grand Island Shipwreck Tours (1204 Commercial St., 906/387-4477, $32 adults, $29 seniors, $12 ages 12-17) for schedules and to make reservations.

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