One of Michigan's most visible shipwrecks is the Francisco Morazan, resting about 300 yards off the southern coast of South Manitou Island, about an hour northwest of Traverse City.

This German cargo ship was 234 feet long and built in 1922 as the 'Arcadia'. The ship's name went under more changes: 'Elbing' (1934), 'Empire Congress' (1945), 'Brunes' (1946), 'Skuld' (1947), 'Ringas' (1948), 'Los Mayas' (1958) and finally the 'Francisco Morazan' in 1958.

In October 1960, the ship's last voyage began in Miami, up through Toronto and through the great Lakes to Chicago. It left Chicago on November 28 and ran into fog that evening. Later that night, a snowstorm kicked in, snowblinding the crew, causing the ship to run aground just off South Manitou Island, where it remains to this day as state property (SEE PHOTOS BELOW).

If you want to visit, you can take a 2.5 mile hike from the Village on the island and view it from shore. Many people kayak, boat & canoe out to the wreck but I don't recommend it. Ask an island official about any legalities concerning personally visiting the wreck.



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