Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

M. Stalker

Depth: 85′ to 100′
Dimensions: 135′ x 25′ x 11′
Cargo: Iron ore from Escanaba, for Cleveland
Cause of Sinking: Collision while at anchor for weather
Built: 1863, Milan, Ohio by Henry Kelley
Date Lost: November 5, 1886
Construction: Wood, 1 deck, square stern, plain stem
Propulsion: Sail, 2 masts, schooner rig
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Location: N45° 47.620′   W084° 41.062′


The M. Stalker was a 135′ schooner built in 1863 in Milan OH and was named for her first captain, Malcolm (not Martin) Stalker.  She sailed the Great Lakes for more than 20 years before succumbing to collision November 5, 1886, and sinking with her load of iron ore.

During a severe November gale in 1886, the M. Stalker anchored off Mackinaw City to ride out the weather.  About 2 A.M. she was struck in the bow by the barge Muskoka, which was being towed by the propeller Isaac May.   The crew of the M. Stalker pulled anchor and tried to run to shore.  Realizing their efforts were futile, they took to their yawl boat and made for Mackinaw City.   No lives were lost.

The Stalker was rediscovered in 1967, and her name-board was recovered at that time, confirming her identity.  The discovery crew of Fred Leete, Dick Campbell, Dick Race, and John Steele are all famous wreck hunters of the era.

Present Condition

The Stalker is sitting upright and mostly intact forward, but the transom and stern cabin are missing.  The forward decking is largely intact, the windlass is in place, and there are penetration opportunities.  There is some rigging off her starboard side, and a lot of equipment on deck.  This site is subject to strong currents which have scoured out the bottom at the bow, but ridges of sand extend from the hull on each side.

The Stalker is in the Mackinaw City-to-Mackinac Island ferry lane, therefore it is imperative to raise a dive flag and keep a lookout on-board. This site should be avoided on foggy days.

Mooring Buoy Status

Buoy reinstalled in May 2023.  Buoy destroyed by a boat strike Sept 2023, will not be redeployed until 2024.

This mooring anchor is located in the sand off the port side of the wreck, with a small line leading directly to the rail.   A mooring is normally in place from late-May to mid-September.  The moorings make for easier wreck locating, safer diving and also protect shipwrecks from damage from anchors and hooks.

Photos of the M. Stalker

For an interactive 3D image by Ken Merryman, click HERE

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