Lake Michigan’s basin is conjoining with that of Lake Huron’s to the east and having the same surface elevation, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are technically a single lake. The Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve lies at the northern tip of Lakes Michigan and Huron and tries to preserve Michigan’s shipwrecks for later generations. One of the shipwrecks that has been found is that of Sandusky.
The Sandusky was a small 110 ft/33.52 m brig, built in 1848 and was bound from Chicago to Buffalo with a load of grain when she was lost in a storm on September 20, 1856. Many of her artifacts were removed by divers over the years, before it became illegal to bring back artifacts. Nonetheless, she is still a magnificent site to visit and one of the most popular shipwrecks in The Straits of Mackinac.
The Sandusky sits upright and fairly intact in 85 ft/ 26 m depth of water, 5 mi/8.04 km west of the bridge, in Lake Michigan. The deck can be reached at 70 ft/21.33 m depth. There are a number of interesting artifacts on and around the wreck, including her ram’s head figurehead. Her bowsprit still points upward and the figurehead crowns the bow.
Many attempted thefts have forced the Preserve to replace the original figurehead with a replica some years ago. Her rudder, tiller, capstan, working bilge pump, masts and rigging are still untouched. The Sandusky is very popular with less experienced divers.