(U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City)

The ice has melted on Lake Michigan, which is ace for a lot of reasons. It is one more sign that winter is finally over, for one thing. And I feel like that’s something we can all get behind.

But it’s also a cool moment for fans of history, like me. Because when the ice melted this year on Lake Michigan, the waters were stunningly clear — so clear, in fact, that you could spot the wreckage of old ships from high above.

Just look at the picture above. That’s the wreckage of the Rising Sun, a wooden steamer that was stranded in 1917. Pieces of the ship remain submerged in the lake, in depths of about six to 12 feet, according to the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City, Mich.

Pretty rad, right? The Coast Guard crew posted that picture, as well as shots of other wrecks, which were snapped near Sleeping Bear Point. The shipwreck sites were spotted during a routine shoreline patrol this month.

Here’s another one, which has been identified as the James McBride, a 121-foot brig. It ran aground during an October 1857 storm, according to the Coast Guard.


(U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City/Facebook)

(U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City/Facebook)

The shallow wrecks “dot the waters off Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,” according to the Grand Rapids Press, which notes:

The area is part of the Manitou Passage, an underwater preserve between the dunes and the Manitou islands with numerous 19th-century wrecks and submerged docks from former dune towns.

The newspaper adds:

Due to factors like beach erosion, wind and waves and variable lake levels, various wreck fragments make somewhat regular appearances along the dunes shoreline. The wrecks are considered property of the state and cannot legally be disturbed.

You can see the full set of pics on the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City Facebook page. Some of the details on the wrecks remain unclear, so if you have any hot shipwreck tips, there are some guys in the Coast Guard and at least one Washington Post writer who would probably be all ears.

Read more on historical stuff I like:

‘Tantalizing’ discovery of ancient tool in Oregon prompts ‘extreme skepticism’

Let’s all freak out over this 19th-century British shipwreck discovered by Canadians

U.S. government ordered to return ultra-rare gold coins seized from jeweler’s family