Lake Michigan features remarkably clear water, but recent weather conditions and the melting ice from winter have left this beautiful freshwater lake even more transparent than usual. This permitted the U.S. Coast Guard to do a little aerial surveying of the lakebed, and these photos from the Manitou Passage show why shipwreck aficionados flock to this area annually.
The water is so clear, retreating ice looks like clouds floating in the air.
This unidentified ship is likely over 100 years old, but the cool waters have left it in pretty good shape.
The Rising Sun was a ship belonging to a religious group called the House of David. A 133-foot steamer, it went down in a sudden squall in 1917.
The James McBride first launched on April Fool’s Day, 1848, of all dates. The ship, thought to be the first to transport cargo from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to ports on Lake Michigan, unfortunately, ran aground close to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Depending on conditions, the ship resides in anywhere from 5-15 feet of water.
You don’t need an airplane to see shipwrecks on Lake Michigan, though. Some wrecks are visible from the shore, and visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore often happen across sections of wrecks that wash ashore every year, only to be reclaimed by the lake once again.