Northern Michigan in Focus: Alpena Shipwreck Tours

It’s not a secret that Lake Huron holds many shipwrecks beneath its depths.

That makes the area very attractive to divers willing to brave the cold temperatures to get a closer look.

Now there’s a new option for the whole family: a tour and history lesson, and everyone stays dry!

Corey Adkins and Michelle Dunaway take us out for this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

"This river was actually quite bustling. It’s a far cry to the 3-4 ships out there right now," said Captain Spencer William Cootware.

This group is taking a trip back in time on the waters of Thunder Bay.

"You get a history lesson of this whole area, the lifestyle of this area, what brought the ships here, which was the paper industry, it was the fishing industry at one time. Coming and getting coal or gravel, we had a lot of big ships coming through here in the 1800s. A big ship was 200-feet," explained Captain Cootware.

A lot of the careers of those big ships ended here.

Spencer William Cootware captains the Lady Michigan, a tour that gives many a view they haven’t had before.

The glass bottom boat is able to bring shipwrecks to life.

"We are going out to see the Monohansett. It’s one of the primary and most photographed wrecks in Thunder Bay. It’s a beautiful wreck. I know, it’s an oxymoron, how can a wreck be beautiful? But it is well preserved," said Captain Cootware.

The trip out takes guests past the Alpena Light.

"They call it little red. It’s our little lighthouse and the first one was built of wood and was run with oil lanterns, and that burnt down, and then they refurbished it into a steel lighthouse, which subsequently got hit by lightning," explained Captain Cootware.

Then the focus turns to the depths of Lake Huron, where new technology captures the tragedies of old.

Guests can typically see about a half dozen wrecks during their tours.

"Thunder Bay was very treacherous. You can imagine with no GPS and no sonar to find your bottom, a lot of the wrecks that did happen were seeking refuge from big storms and they got into trouble along the shorelines and subsequently sank,” said Captain Cootware.

The cold, fresh water, helps preserve the past.

"You hear a lot of ‘cool’ and ‘ah.’ It’s hard to imagine that would say cool about a tragic incident, but most of our wrecks here there was no loss of life. So, the kids really enjoy them and the older folks enjoy them," explained Captain Cootware.

An enjoyable ride with a lot of history, allowing all ages to see so much and still stay dry.

The cruises run daily through the beginning of October.

For more information, click here

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