For ships in trouble on the long southern coast of Lake Superior, harbors of refuge are few. Munising is one of them. The waters off Munising are sheltered by Grand Island and have been the final destination of many ships seeking safe harbor from the fury of the big lake.
The area stretching from just west of Munising to Au Sable Point and including the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the home of the Alger Underwater Preserve. Several major shipwrecks lying within recreational diving limits are found inside its boundaries.
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As one of the shipwrecks of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Elma lies in 8 feet of water, about 2 miles from Miners Castle. The entire bottom of this schooner barge is often visible among shifting sand. She wrecked on September 26, 1895. Towed as a consort by the Birckhead, the 160 foo-long