The Weekend Dive Package includes 4 exciting dives on wrecks that were all lost in the 1800's in and around the Straits of Mackinaw Shipwreck Preserve. We will travel in style aboard the dive boat The Intrepid operated by St. Ignace Scuba. Seats on board are limited. Package fee: $379 per diver for all 4 dives listed below.
Two days of some of the best wreck diving that Michigan has to offer. $100 non-refundable deposits are being accepted for a weekend in The Straits of Mackinaw Shipwreck Preserve in 2025.
Two days of diving with St Ignace Scuba. Each day will consist of a two-tank dive with a surface interval between each. Air fills will be available in port to prepare for the second day of diving. Our second day will take us to two more wrecks before heading home to tell the tales of the deep.
The Dolphin was one of a number of vessels with that name sailing during this era, leading to great confusion over which vessel was being referenced. Newspapers began referring to them as “Dolphin #1” and “Dolphin #2”, for example. This vessel was registered with the Official Number 6205, and was otherwise known as the “Dolphin of Racine” for her home port of Racine Wisconsin. The Dolphin was lost on July 6, 1869 in a collision with the bark Badger State northeast of Waugoshance Light, and went down in about 20 minutes. The crew was rescued and dropped off at Mackinaw, where they later caught a ride back to Milwaukee. The collision was reported to be “just forward of the cat-head”, which matches the apparent damage on this newly discovered wreck when she was explored and photographed by Ken Merryman in 2021. We thank Ken for providing the location for this new site, and for the 3D models of this and other area shipwrecks. A study of our track lines show we only missed spotting this wreck on sonar last season by about 50 ft, as we were installing other moorings.
The wreck is sitting upright on the bottom, with the cabin and wheel intact, and masts and cross-trees laying across the decks and over the side and bow. The starboard anchor is still in place, the jib-boom is broken off, likely in the collision or when she struck bottom. The hatch covers are in place but are deteriorated enough to allow you to peek through, and the yawl-boat is on the bottom off the stern.
This is a new site, although it appears that it may have been visited by other divers in years past. PLEASE do not damage the wreck – don’t try to force entry into tight openings, or move artifacts around. Just look and take photos, nothing more. PLEASE do NOT touch the hatch covers, they will break easily. The cabin skylight is open, but just look inside, do not try to enter the cabin and root around. There is a bottle on the bottom off the port side, below the mast – let’s leave it there undisturbed.
This small steamer was built in West Bay City, MI in 1881, and spent her career towing schooner-barges as a means of increasing her per-trip capacity. On her final trip she was westbound in the Straits with a load of iron ore, towing the schooner-barges J.B. Lozen and A. Stewart. In the darkness, there was confusion over passing signals with the oncoming propeller Progress, and the resulting collision sent the McBrier to the bottom quickly, but without loss of life. The McBrier foundered on October 3, 1890.
The McBrier sits upright, her stern is intact with engine and boiler in place, but the decks have shifted to port towards the bow. Mast sections lay alongside, and many small artifacts are scattered about.
The Cedarville was launched in 1927 at River Rouge MI as the A.F. Harvey, a straight-deck bulk carrier for the Pittsburg Steamship Company (US Steel). She was 604 ft. long (588 ft keel) with a triple expansion steam engine. The vessel was transferred to the Michigan Limestone Division (Bradley Transportation Line) and converted to a self-unloader at Defoe Shipyard in Bay City MI over the winter of 1957.
In the early morning of May 7, 1965, the Cedarville departed Port Calcite, near Rogers City, headed to Gary, IN with 14,411 tons of limestone with a crew of 35. As they neared the Straits of Mackinac, the fog thickened. Due to a lack of communication, the Norwegian vessel Topdalsfjord collided with the Cedarville on her port side cutting a deep gash in her side between the seventh and eight hatch.
After briefly dropping anchor to consider the situation, the Cedarville’s Captain attempted to beach the vessel near Mackinaw City. While still several miles offshore, at 10:25 am the Cedarville suddenly rolled over to starboard and sank in 105 feet of water about 3.5 Miles SE of the Mackinac Bridge south tower. Twenty-five crewmen were recovered alive from the cold lake, along with two others that succumbed due to exposure, and eight others went down with the ship. All but one of the missing crewmen have been recovered, with one still listed as missing.
The Cedarville is a favorite site in the Straits of Mackinac. She is intact and lies on her starboard side, about 45 degrees from being upside down. Her massive size and inverted orientation makes for an interesting, but sometimes confusing dive. The cabins are visible along with lots of deck equipment and the fatal gash. Caution is warranted given her size, depth, upside down orientation and variable visibility. Many hazards are present and penetration should not attempted without proper training, experience, planning and equipment.
The Young was built as a schooner, and was later cut down to a schooner barge. She was one of 3 tow-barges behind the steamer Nashua, all carrying coal. One barge was lost in Lake Erie, and the Young was noticed to be settling deep into the water when the others reached the Straits of Mackinac. The crews worked to salvage the sails and rigging before the Young slipped out of sight on October 5, 1891. The crew was rescued, but the 3rd barge was reported as lost in lower Lake Michigan before the Nashua reached Racine.
The Young sank slowly and settled upright and remains largely intact. The starboard bow is broken open, but the decks are intact. The cabin is missing. The holds are still full of coal. There are many artifacts and rigging still on-board for divers inspection. A portion of wooden wreckage lies off the stern, and can be found by following a light line. One mast lies along the starboard side, another is in deep water off the bow.