The southwest edge of South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan was unlucky spot for two ships that sank 57 years apart.

The Walter Frost and the Francisco Morazon were both victims of Michigan's fabled shipwreck month of November, when winds and weird weather conditions play havoc with late season shipping.

This photo, taken by a helicopter flying out of the Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City and posted on their Facebook page show how the shallow water off of South Manitou claimed both ships as they tried to get around the island.

The Frost went down in 1903, while taking a load of corn from Chicago to Odgensburg, NY. According to these articles on the Great Lakes Maritime page, the Frost was struggling with visibilty from heavy fog when it ran around in the shallow shoal. All crew members survived, and attempts to salvage the ship failed.

57 years later, the Francisco Morazon ran aground right on top of the Frost in heavy gales while taking a load of cargo to Holland, MI.

According to the National Park Service, the Morazon was carrying a more precious cargo, the wife of Captain Eduardo Trivizas was on board and very pregnant, making the drama a little more tense:

By the next day, a 40-MPH wind blew out of the northwest, and the Morazan's decks were awash. After the ship passed the Point Betsie Light, blinded by fog and heavy snow, she ran aground about 300 feet off the southwest shore of South Manitou Island. The ship maintained contact with two Coast Guardsmen at the North Manitou Island Lighthouse and with a state forester stationed on South Manitou Island who flashed light signals to the stranded ship. Rescue vessels arrived the next morning along with two helicopters and an amphibian airplane from the Traverse City Coast Guard Station.


The lake was wild all day, but the ship did not seem to be in immediate danger, but the Captain was worried that some of the big waves might lift the ship off the shoal and carry it into deeper water. He arranged to have his wife lifted from the ship by helicopter on Friday, December 2. By Sunday, Dec 4, the crew abandoned ship and was taken by the ice-breaker Mackinaw to Traverse City.


The owners of the Francisco Morazan could never be found.

Coast Guard Air Station traverse City/Facebook

The Francisco Morazan lies partially exposed just off the southwest shore of South Manitou Island alongside the silhouette of the Walter L Frost.