Scuba Diving / Michigan
Divers have their own sanctuary just off the Alpena shore. Here, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve (www.thunderbay.noaa.gov) thrills divers with its clear waters, interesting underwater limestone formations, and shipwrecks.
Rocky islands and hazardous shoals proved treacherous for mariners; the preserve protects some 80 shipwrecks, 14 of which can be explored with the help of a wreck-diving charter. Among the most popular are the Nordmeer, a German steel steamer that sank in 1966, and the Montana, a 235-foot steamer that burned and sank in 1914.Destination:Activities:
When loggers were felling the vast stands of pine across the central Upper Peninsula in the 1800s, Munising grew into a busy port, with schooners carrying loads of timber to the growing cities of the southern Great Lakes and iron ore to an ever-growing number of factories.Destination:Activities:
For experienced divers, the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve offers a fantastic array of wrecks—18 steamers and schooners littered all around the point. (The Edmund Fitzgerald is not among them.) Good visibility is a hallmark of this 376-acre preserve.
Most wrecks lie in deep water, though—ranging 40–270 feet—and in an area with few protected harbors. Needless to say, only very experienced divers and boaters should consider this spot.
For information on area dive services, contact the Paradise Area Tourism Council (906/492-3927, www.paradisemi.org).Destination:Activities:
The cold, clear freshwater of Lake Superior offers outstanding visibility for divers. Though there isn’t much to look at in the way of plant and animal life—the cold waters make for a pretty sterile-looking environment—the waters provide plenty of entertainment in the form of interesting underwater geologic formations and shipwrecks.Destination:Activities:
Lake Superior, the vast freshwater lake that spreads north of the Upper Peninsula’s northern border, has for centuries served as a major transportation route for Native Americans, explorers, tourists, and various industries. Several historic lighthouses dot the coastline, some of which still provide navigational assistance to passing vessels. Despite the presence of such aids, however, shallow reefs and violent storms have led to hundreds of shipwrecks in Lake Superior over the years. Today, numerous maritime museums and underwater preserves reveal this fascinating shipping heritage. Visitors can hit the highlights in a five-day tour of the U.P.’s northern shore.Destination:Activities: