Visiting the Metropolis (Shipwreck)

I don’t know about you, but we had a busy weekend – in the best way. We filled it with things we love, like long walks on the beach around the neighborhood, hiking, time with friends, and kayaking. Since I am most eager to share about the kayaking, I’m going out of order and telling you about our Sunday afternoon adventure first 😉

The weather was sort of cruddy when we awoke on Sunday. It was lovely for dewy, foggy pictures (which I did take and will share later), but otherwise it simply made for great reading. By early afternoon, though, the sun had popped out and driven the fog away. Considering the morning’s stillness, we decided to paddle Little Glen Lake – a trip we hadn’t yet taken. After we loaded the boats, we drove in toward Traverse, heading west to the Leelanau Peninsula.

But then, as we rounded the southern edge of East Bay, the call of closer turquoise waters beckoned too strongly. Instead of finishing the trip to our to Glen Lakes, we headed up the Old Mission Peninsula to undertake the 2-1/4 mile trip out to the Metropolis shipwreck – the remains of a 125′ schooner that crashed south of Old Mission Point in a snow storm in November 1886.

Click any photo for a larger/more detailed view

Haserot Beach/Old Mission Harbor
Haserot beach

We struggled a bit paddling to the first point at the edge of the harbor; the current/wind kept pushing us where we didn’t want to go.

Ironically, as we slipped beyond the harbor’s protection, the water flattened and calmed. Instead of fighting to steer my little boat, I glided effortlessly along, feeling like a water spider. Perhaps not a favorable comparison, but they are elegant on the water’s surface 😉

The rest of the trip floated by, and before we were even looking for it, the shipwreck was under us.

The water is still painfully cold (I know this because I took a nanosecond dip after we returned), so we didn’t bring our snorkel gear this time. But since the Metropolis – this part of it, anyway – only sits in eight-to-ten feet of water, I was able to grab some decent images from my kayak seat:

After nearly fifteen minutes of quiet contemplation and multiple passes above the shallow remains, we angled our kayaks back south. With the winds still blocked, we enjoyed silky waters on our return, which gave us enough advantage to race a couple incoming sailboats.

Even though they didn’t know we were racing, they anchored first. We still won, since we arrived at the beach long before they boarded their rafts for boat-to-shore transit 😉

Back on shore; sailboats with sails stowed on the right…in the water
back at the beach

We finished the afternoon with a bit of time warming our skin on the beach (after 5:00 in northern Michigan, I don’t worry so much about UV), dinner, and a peaceful marina sunset – a soothing ending to a fantastic, if frenetic, weekend.

Clinch Marina sunset

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19 thoughts on “Visiting the Metropolis (Shipwreck)

  1. It can be so intriguing to look at those shipwrecks under water. Enjoyed looking at all the shades of blue and contemplating your delightful weekend.

    • They can be eerie, but I love being so in touch with a piece of history. I would love to do the shipwreck tour at Pictured Rocks.
      From what I’ve read, the schooner’s cargo was salvaged, and much of the wreckage is in shallow water (though some rests at 120′ below) so I hope the crew made it safely to land.
      The shades of blue are amazing, aren’t they? We live in a beautiful state Ms. Kathy 🙂

        • Thankfully – “Different strokes for different folks!” 🙂
          Michigan feels like home to me – and we’ve lived in and explored four other states.

  2. The water is so blue and clear, it could be the Caribbean. I love learning about new parts of Michigan from your blog. We booked our trip Up North for the 4th, sadly our little lake won’t offer amazing water, but I am expecting beautiful sunsets!

    • But I bet your little lake might just be warm enough to swim in 🙂
      After we got back from paddling, I decided that it was officially time for a swim. I waded out to my hips (I was okay up to my calves, but the temperature was painful at hip-depth) and then dunked **briefly** up to my chin – it was literally breath-taking!
      I hope you have a terrific 4th – and maybe some bluewater visits!

  3. Absolutely breathtaking! It reminds me of our local rivers, on one of which our neighborhood group went canoeing one summer, floating downriver. That trip involved a quick involuntary dunk in the icy waters and the near-death of the camera I had then. I would love to do it again.

    • I’ve taken a few involuntary dunks in cold rivers, but they’ve always been while whitewater rafting. We’ve got plans to float a nearby river tomorrow after work – I can’t get enough of it in the warm season. I hope you create a chance to get back out there…perhaps with Kat and/or Gep?

  4. The surfaces of water in Michigan can be so varied and strange. We set up camp at Muskellunge Lake in the UP in gale force winds. There were whitecaps on the inland lake and we were afraid our popup was going to blow over. We decided to walk the short distance to Lake Superior to see what the wind was whipping up there. The water on the “big” lake was smooth as silk – not a ripple. Go figure. Fun post – it makes me want to head over to Lake Michigan for a stay.

    • You just never know – it’s all about wind speed and direction, which can both change quickly. We’ve been at the south end of Torch Lake in gale northern winds and gotten splashed by errant waves, only to find calm shores at the northern end.
      It doesn’t take much to convince me to visit the “Big Lake.” Looking forward to a camping trip out on the South Manitou Island this summer 🙂

  5. Wow. That is just so cool! I have gone out on Lake Michigan on a friend’s kayak, on a calm day. Both times I loved it. The clear water and the reflections on the rocks below…but never got to see a shipwreck! That is amazing!

    • I do absolutely love the clarity and color of the Lake Michigan water. We seek out the shipwrecks, because how many places in the world can you see that? So cool!

  6. Pingback: New Spaces in Old Places | Adventures in Michigan's Up North

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