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See a shipwreck by kayak on Minnesota's North Shore with the 'That's So Minnesota Road Trip'

Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most iconic sites on the North Shore. The relic visible in the water below is a reminder of why the lighthouse was built.

TWO HARBORS, Minn. — Proof of how unpredictable Lake Superior can be sits just off Gold Rock Point in Two Harbors.

"We're paddling over the Madeira," said Jake Boyce, owner of Day Tripper of Duluth, which offers guided kayak tours on Superior. 

Day Tripper's North Shore kayak tour brings paddlers out to the more than century-old shipwreck. In relatively shallow water, it is visible from the kayak above. 

"The ship is really just wrapped around the whole point here," Boyce said while motioning to the 60-foot cliff nearby. 

Credit: KARE
The Madeira shipwreck sits in Lake Superior, just off the Two Harbors cliff it crashed into in 1905.

The worst storm in Great Lakes history sent the Madeira to her resting place on November 28, 1905, according to a description of the event by the Minnesota Historical Society. It was called the Mataafa storm.

With waves crashing, crew member Fred Benson climbed the cliff to the top. He then threw down a rope to the nine other crew members, saving all but one. 

"That storm is the reason why Split Rock is here," said Hayes Scriven, site manager at Split Rock Lighthouse. "There [were] over 30 ships that were lost. The ship carriers got together, petitioned Congress, and got $75,000 allocated to build a lighthouse."

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society
The Madeira sunk in Lake Superior on November 28, 1905.

Artifacts from the Madeira, including the anchor, are on display at Split Rock. 

"The Madeira is our closest kind of relic to show people why the station is here," Scriven said. 

Boyce says the wreck is unique in that it's close to a launch point, allowing people to paddle out to see it.

"There are not that many [shipwrecks] that you can see, especially from a kayak, that [have] an easy, accessible location," he said.

A note if you want to head out, Lake Superior can be dangerous, especially if you don't know what you're doing. That's why Day Tripper of Duluth only offers guided tours, not rentals. 

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