SOUTH MANITOU ISLAND SLEEPING BEAR SAND DUNES SHIPWRECKS

May 30, 2014



South Manitou Island

It has been a lot of traveling the past week going from all over Costa Rica to Chicago and now I'm on my way up to Michigan's  sleeping bear sand dunes where two islands are located about 10 miles east of the mainland.  
South Manitou Island looking at the mainland at Sleeping bear dunes

The ferry boat took it's time at a rate of about 4-5 knots stopping at the north I and first than dropping off the remaining group on the south. The islands were created by glacial deposits of sand and glacial run off from the last ice age. Hiking around the Island was rather nice especially on the shoreline but the water was pretty cold!!! I estimated the water temperature to be between 39 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit which was a cold burning sensation when you got in the water. Even with a full 7mm wetsuit it was still pretty cold to swim in. 

South Manitou Island

Around the bend were a number of dead trees where loons gathered which was interesting to hear the sounds that they made. 

South Manitou Island
On this shoreline the shipwreck of the Francisco morazan lies at rest  from 1960 when it foundered on the shore line swimming out there wasn't too difficult but as the water temperature dropped the clarity I the water increased and it was literally like being in crystal clear ocean water.

francisco morazan Shipwreck

Maybe even clearer than an ocean, but the visibility was pretty amazing!! I swam through the inner lower haul of the shipwrecks engine room and other  parts of the ship. I continued to find the shipwreck of the Walter frost which the Francisco hit as she was finding her final resting place.

francisco morazan Shipwreck

Continuing down the shoreline billions of zebra muscle shells littered the shoreline in a mass grave as they rolled up and down the shoreline with the waves increasing in size as the winds started to pick up.


Dead Zebra Mussels
In the distance I could see the dunes and as we got closer, the peaks of these dunes became more defined. They were a lot bigger than I thought they would be on this island which was a nice surprise.

South Manitou Island
 
 Climbing the dunes was not much work and at the top of the dunes the overlook into Lake Michigan looked like an ocean and the clear waters revealed color blue contours of the lake bottom below. It was beautiful and I was very impressed with this island. Continuing down the dunes spread out in a desert of sorts with dry warm air blowing over the lip of the sand dunes.
South Manitou Island
We are now in the afternoon and I wanted to attempt to find the shipwreck of the three brothers before the sun got to low for visibility. Making a B line through the woods was not too difficult so I made a bearing and set a course for the lighthouse on the other side of the island.  Eventually we came up on a trail that made it easier to get to the other side.

Once on the other side I attempted to ind the shipwreck three times without success as there were no directions or mooring buoys to mark the location of the wreck. Regardless it is out there is is suppose to be a pretty nice shore dive. 

francisco morazan


HERE IS A VIDEO OF THE SHIPWRECKS I ATTEMPTED TO FIND :

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