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Historic Shipwreck Snorkeling
Kelly's Island, Ohio


Exploring the Mysteries: Shallow Water Snorkeling of Shipwrecks off of Kelly's Island, Lake Erie

Nestled in the western basin of Lake Erie lies Kelly's Island, a picturesque destination known for its natural beauty and rich history. While the island offers a wide range of recreational activities, one adventure that stands out is shallow water snorkeling to explore the shipwrecks that lie beneath the lake's surface. This unique experience allows divers to immerse themselves in history while marveling at the underwater wonders that have captivated explorers for generations.

Lake Erie, with its turbulent waters and treacherous storms, has been the final resting place for numerous ships throughout history. These shipwrecks now serve as time capsules, preserving stories of the past and offering a glimpse into the maritime heritage of the region. Kelly's Island is home to several shallow water wrecks that are accessible to snorkelers, making it an ideal destination for both history enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

One of the most famous shipwrecks in the area is the Cedarville, a 600-foot-long ore carrier that sank in 1965. Located just a short distance from the island, the wreck rests in water depths ranging from 10 to 35 feet, making it easily accessible to snorkelers of all skill levels. As you glide through the clear, shallow waters, you can observe the ship's massive hull and imagine the stories of its ill-fated voyage. The wreckage is teeming with marine life, with schools of fish darting in and out of the crevices, creating a vibrant and colorful underwater ecosystem.

Another popular wreck near Kelly's Island is the Argo, a wooden steamer that sank in 1937. With its shallow depth of 8 to 15 feet, the Argo provides a perfect opportunity for beginners to explore a shipwreck up close. Snorkelers can admire the intricate details of the ship's structure, from the remnants of its engine to the decaying wooden hull. This encounter with history is both humbling and awe-inspiring, as you witness the passage of time through the vessel's transformation into an artificial reef.

For those seeking a more challenging adventure, the Lake Erie Shipwreck Trail offers an opportunity to explore multiple wrecks in the area. This underwater trail system encompasses several sites near Kelly's Island, including the remains of the Lanetown and the General George D. Goethals. Each wreck has its own unique character and historical significance, providing divers with a comprehensive glimpse into Lake Erie's maritime past.

Before embarking on a shallow water snorkeling adventure, it is essential to ensure your safety and the preservation of these historic sites. Respect the wrecks and their surroundings, refraining from touching or removing any artifacts to preserve the integrity of the sites for future generations. The muscles can cut skin very easily, gloves and an underwater shirt or wetsuit are recommended for safety. 

Kelly's Island, with its shipwreck snorkeling opportunities, offers an extraordinary blend of adventure, history, and natural beauty. It allows you to become part of a story that began long ago, as you explore the remnants of vessels that once sailed the Great Lakes. Whether you are a seasoned diver or a novice snorkeler, this experience promises to be an unforgettable journey into the depths of Lake Erie's captivating past. So, grab your mask, snorkel, and sense of wonder, and prepare to embark on an extraordinary underwater expedition with memories you'll cherish forever.

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