Diver Plunges 400 Feet Below Lake Michigan To See 1899 Shipwreck

By Taylor Linzinmeir

August 8, 2022

Large stern section of an underwater shipwreck
Photo: Getty Images

Explorer Dusty Klifman recently dove 400 feet below Lake Michigan to witness one of the lake's most well-preserved shipwrecks, according to FOX 8 News.

There are nearly 1,500 known shipwrecks in Lake Michigan, but the John V. Moran is perhaps the most intact. While most of the sunken vessels in Lake Michigan are in depths of 100 feet or less, the Moran rests nearly 400-feet deep. Due to the wreck's extreme depth, only a handful of expert divers have physically seen the Moran.

“I wanted to lay a hand on the railing and experience basically a sunken time capsule from 1899 in person,” Klifman said.

According to the Michigan Shipwreck Association, the Moran met her fate during the winter storm of 1899. Lake Michigan was beginning to freeze over, and the crew tried to pound their way through the ice. Eventually, the Moran's hull gave way and disappeared after four days of slowly sinking. Experts believe the ship's slow demise is one of the reason's the Moran is still so intact.

“I had a historic photo of the ship and the camera came down and I thought that I was looking at the historic photo,” Valerie Van Heest, director of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association, said. “It was identical to the way it looked the day that it sank.”

“We’re talking glass in the windows, the railings are intact,” Klifman added. “You can walk into the rooms and turn a chair upright and sit in it.”

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