May 31, 2011
Grays Reef Passage serves as the primary route between the Straits and the ports on the southern shores of Lake Michigan. Bounded on the east by Vienna Shoal and East Shoal, Grays Reef itself forms the western boundary of the passage, and consists of an extensive area of shallow water over a rocky bottom stretching over eight miles in length. With some portions of its rocky bottom almost protruding above the water’s surface, the reef has long represented a significant threat to any vessel master unfamiliar with the intricacies of the passage.
He goes on to explain tells how lightships kept the reef safe from 1891 until a crib light was finally approved in the 1930s. Click through for some photos of the lightships and a detailed account of what goes into building a crib light in 26 feet of water. The Archives of Michigan has a cool pencil drawing of Gray’s Reef as well!
Adam says that White Shoal Light is also visible (barely) in the distance (left). Check this out on black and in his Northern Michigan slideshow (which includes some other northern Michigan lighthouses!).
Check out more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.