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Ultimate Guide to Alger Underwater Preserve, Michigan (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

Ultimate Guide to Alger Underwater Preserve, Michigan (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)

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Alger Underwater Preserve is on the south shore of Lake Superior near the city of Munising. This shoreline area includes the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Island, and the sheltered waters of Munising Bay. The Preserve protects the sea caves and the shipwrecks. Some major shipwrecks are buoyed while others lie in sheltered water. 

Alger Underwater Preserve Cover Image
Photo Credit: Absolute Michigan

Several factors have combined to make this preserve one of the finest diving spots in this part of the world. There are several wrecks concentrated in one area, and the cold water stops them from deteriorating. Some of the wrecks are in shallow waters, and visibility is excellent. 

History of Alger Underwater Preserve 

Alger Underwater Preserve at Munising was the 1st Preserve that was established in Michigan. It is one of the most popular scuba diving areas in the Great Lakes region. The Underwater Preserve has several unusual diving attractions, including shipwrecks, interpretive trails, and sea caves. The Primary dive sites are 

1) BERMUDA – a wooden schooner that sank in 1870 in Murray Bay and is now a popular dive site for novice and expert divers. The wreck is only in 30 ft of water and is protected from ice by the Grand Island. 

2) SMITH MOORE is a masted steamer that sank in the Munising East Channel after a collision. The wreck lies intact on the sand bottom. 

3) MANHATTAN – a wood-hulled freighter in 20 ft depth off the east shore of Grand Island. 

4) HERMAN HETTLER – a wooden steamer slammed into a reef and sank. It is located in a 30 ft depth of outstanding visibility. 

5) SUPERIOR – a sidewheel passenger freight in 20 ft of water. 

6) KIOWA – a bulk freight steamer hit by a gale in November 1929. Significant portions of the hull are still visible from the surface. 

7)  STEVEN M. SELVICK – a steel tug that was intentionally sunk and now remains intact in 60 ft of water, making it ideal for beginners and expert divers. 

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Geological Cave Formations

The ‘sea’ caves are found along the coast of Lake Superior and are a part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. These sea caves are portions of underwater sandstone cliffs wherein the sandstone has got eroded by the waves. These caves are not known for any eye-catching formations, but they are excellent diving sites.  

Wildlife in Alger Underwater Preserve 

The preserve is full of colorful gamefish and schools of rock bass. If you are into scuba diving, you will view these marine fishes from a close distance.  

Is Alger Underwater Preserve Haunted?

Alger Underwater Preserve is popular among visitors for its unusual diving attractions but has no abnormal/supernatural incidents. 

How Big is Alger Underwater Preserve?

It is a preservation area in Lake Superior that aims to protect the sea caves and intact shipwrecks. The sea caves are usually shallow and have only 20 ft of depth, and offer an excellent opportunity for shallow water diving. 

Alger Underwater Preserve
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Alger Underwater Preserve Tours

The primary dive sites at Alger Underwater Preserve are the most popular among the budding and experienced divers. BERMUDA, a 150 ft long wooden schooner, is the most popular site among divers to explore unusual and beautiful aquatic life. They can have close encounters with schools of rock bass and colorful gamefish.

SMITH MOORE, a 260 ft wooden steamer, is a favorite spot for divers with intermediate skills. They have access to interior portions of the vessel through open hatches where divers would find machinery and encounter schools of gamefish. MANHATTAN is a wood huller freighter that sank on the 26th of October 1903. The huge rudder of the vessel is still visible, and you can easily view the depth markings also. 

There are also ‘glass bottom’ boat tours organized by private operators that take tourists on non-diving excursions to see the remains of the ships visible from the surface. 

Tour Prices and Discounts

There are no tours available here, but one needs to book dive charters like Shipwreck Tours to enjoy the diving season fully. 

Is Alger Underwater Preserve Cold?

The visibility ranges from 25 to more than 50 ft depending on the weather and time of the year. The surface temperature in the summer is at a low 60 degrees F, and drysuits are highly recommended here. The diving season is from May to October, and one needs to book commercial dive charters in advance.  

What to Wear?

The temperature around here can be a bit chilly, sometimes even during summer. If you are coming in winter, then expect very low temperatures. Several visitors come in summer and, if you are one of them, then do carry light clothing, a good pair of shoes, and appropriate diving attire to enjoy your time here. 

Alger Underwater Preserve Hours

Although the attraction is open throughout the day, we suggest that you come here in the early hours of the day to enjoy the sun and the diving experience. 


What to Do at Alger Underwater Preserve (Beside Tours)

Alger Underwater Preserve mainly aims to protect the aquatic natural resources; the shipwrecks also operate as an excellent diving site. When you are finished with diving, you can check out the other diving sites such as Cathedral Caves, and Pancake Rocks which are unusual and beautiful. The dive sites offer unique rock formations and caves which large fishes inhabit. You can also view the multicolored rocks, which boast a fantastic light reflection. 

Best Time to Visit

The Underwater Preserve is not a season-specific attraction. It is widely popular as a unique diving attraction, and it is advisable to avoid the rainy season while coming here. However, the site poses no apparent danger even during such a season. 

How to Get to Alger Underwater Preserve 

Alger Underwater Preserve is known for its unusual diving attractions. Most of the caves are shallow and only about 20 ft deep. The Preserve is on the south shore of Lake Superior, close to the diver-friendly city of Munising, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  

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Hotels near Alger Underwater Preserve 

The major hotels nearby are Houghton Lake Michigan and Buckhorn Resort. 

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Visiting Alger Underwater Preserve

Do you need more information before visiting? Call (800) 970-8717 for an information packet. 

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