Many visitors to our beautiful Delta County, as well as local individuals, are not aware of the excellent diving available in our area. The Chamber, along with local business owner and Chamber member Rick Malone of Blue Water Divers, realized the importance of making our local dives known to those interested in exploring the waters of Delta County. There are over 30 more wrecks (in addition to those listed here) in the waters of Little & Big Bays de Doc yet to be discovered! Enjoy!
Great Shore Diving
Snail Harbor makes an excellent dive. There is quite a bit to see from a small ship wreck to the old docks and piers. There are artifacts from the Old Foundry and The Trade from that era. Visibility is about 20-30’.
This beach has artifacts out in the deeper water. This site was the town dump. The nicer artifacts are scattered in the deeper water. Make sure to go along the shallow as well. The wave action has strung artifacts all along the beach.
Escanaba, Little Bay de Noc
The Nahant burned November 30, 1897 at the Escanaba Pier and sank north of the Sandpoint Lighthouse. The stern is partially intact. The boiler lies off to the east. There are several artifacts on display at the Delta County Historical Society’s Museum, including the rudder. This is a shore dive east of Escanaba Municipal Pier and in front of the Michigan historical lighthouse. There is a green can in the water that marks the spot.
The Webber sprung a leak and sank just after being loaded with iron ore. The ship was ran aground when the leak was discovered. The bow was in 12’ of water and the stern was in 40’. During the salvage a storm blew up and the Webber slid a little more down the drop off. The deeper part of the wreck is in fair condition. Bring a good light — visibility is 10-15’ in dark water. This is a shore dive. Just cast off the Escanaba Municipal Pier.
Erastus Corning is a 204’ Schooner that was stranded the 27th of May, 1889. This large schooner was outward bound from Escanaba loaded with iron ore when she ran aground on the west side of Poverty Island. The point at which she ran ashore is so steep that when the stern settled to the bottom, the bow was out of the water with the vessel almost standing on end. This wreck is buoyed on the southwest corner of Poverty Island in 40-60’ of water. It’s broken up but not scattered. There are lots of planking and ship parts to explore. This wreck also has great visibility; about 30-40’.
This schooner was stranded on September 19, 1933. The history on the Captain Lawrence is rich — it was taken up to Poverty Island to seek what had been described, at the time, as “King Strang’s Gold.” She was anchored off the island when she was overwhelmed by a southwest storm. When her anchor cable broke, she drifted ashore and broke up on the rocks of Poverty Island. The vessel had been acquired by Wilfred Behrens, who, with a team of three divers, was searching for the treasure. The four men reached the safety of the island with the help of the lighthouse keeper and his two assistants.
Near Poverty Island
Roen Salvage Barge No. 93
This Barge sank on October 20, 1969. The Barge was taking water over the prow and sank in 110’ near Little Gull Island. The wreck lies upside down on the crane. Penetration is available for those trained. It is intact with visibility 25-35’.
John M. Nichol
The John M. Nichol Steamer was stranded in 1906 on December 13. The Nichol had just left St. Ignace, Michigan bound for Gladstone, Michigan. As she left, the steamer was taking on water. Several hours after she left port she encountered a gale with 50 mph winds. Water poured into her hold until her captain, J.M. Saunders, could barely control her and ordered her beached on Summer Island. After the Nichol was beached, her stern was ripped away by the waves. This wreck is in shallow water on the east side of Summer Island, almost in the middle of the Island. A small part of the hull is intact with a debris field. The depth is 15-30 ‘ and visibility is 20-25’.
Mattie C. Bell
The Bell went ashore on Summer Island with her escort, the steamer James Sherriffs, in a snow storm. Both crews escaped to the island where they were rescued by the tug Anabel. The schooner rested on a bed of boulders which had penetrated her bottom. She was heading southeast in the bay, on the east side of the island and north of the east point with her starboard side towards the island in about seven feet of water. There was nine feet of water on her port side. Efforts by wrecking tug Wright to free her proved fruitless. The steamer Joseph L. Hurd in attempting to assist only succeeded in losing her anchor and 20 fathoms of cable. The anchors and remaining deck machinery of the Bell were stripped, as well as 150 tons of coal. This is one of three wrecks that touch each other. These wrecks lie off the south point of the voce on the northeast side of Big Summer Island. There is lots of debris scattered around in about 5-25’ of water.
C. C. Hand
The C.C. Hand was bound from Cleveland for Chicago with 24,000 tons of soft coal on October 6, 1913. About 7PM that evening she was trying to find her way through dense fog when she ran aground twice on Big Summer Island. She was able to pull herself off and drop anchor, the crew went below for their evening meal but the mess room filled with smoke. The burning steamer finally sank in 30’ of water, after the crew was able to evacuate. The C.C. Hand sits in the well protected cove on the northeast side of Big Summer Island. The main feature is a 12 foot brass prop, and it’s a great photo opportunity. The C.C. Hand is broken up with the parts of the steam engine on top. It is in 15-30’ of water and visibility is 25-30’.
St. Martin Island
E. R. Williams
This schooner was lost in a storm in 1895 on the 22nd of September. It happened on the mouth of the Green Bay near St. Martin’s Island. The schooner was bound from Escanaba for Toledo in tow of steamer Santa Maria. Her lights just disappeared to her tow steamer. Her crew abandoned in the yawl and spent a harrowing night on the open lake. Later they were picked off Summer Island by the steamer Osceola. The next day the wreck of the Williams was located off the island by her masts sticking up above the surface. The wreck is intact upright with several artifacts. It is usually buoyed in the summer. The E.R. Williams lies in 105’ of water about two miles northwest of Summer Island. It makes a great dive with lots to see and explore. Visibility is usually 20’. This is said to be one of the nicest dives in Delta County.
BEFORE YOU DIVE
Diving is an adventurous sport and should be engaged in only by those who have adequate training and are in good physical condition. This brochure is designed only to tell you where to find interesting dive sites, not to make you a diver.
For All Your Diving Needs Contact:
Blue Water Divers
1406 Ludington Street
Escanaba, MI 49829