Outer Banks storms unearth another old victim of ‘The Graveyard of the Atlantic’

A recent storm on the Outer Banks unearthed an old shipwreck buried on the beach in Hatteras Island. A local bar shared photos of the old wooden ship in its final resting place in the area known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

“A Wreck across the street from The Wreck! A lot of sand has washed out with this Nor’Easter & look what’s been exposed!” The Wreck Tiki Bar in Hatteras, North Carolina, said on Facebook.

The wreck appeared not far from the North Carolina Maritime Center’s Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Mary Ellen Riddle, with the museum, said she did not get a chance to see the wreck before it was covered again in sand.

“You never know what’s going to wash up,” she said in a phone interview with McClatchy news group. “It’s amazing what does wash up.” She said the most interesting thing to appear on Outer Banks beaches recently was a civil war cannon ball.

North Carolina’s Outer Banks have long been treacherous for sailors, and countless shipwrecks dating back to the 16th century earned the state’s coast the name “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” according to the National Parks Service.

“To follow coastal trade routes, thousands of these vessels had to round not only North Carolina’s barrier islands, which lie 30 miles off the mainland, but also the infamous Diamond Shoals, a treacherous, always-shifting series of shallow, underwater sandbars extending eight miles out from Cape Hatteras,” the Parks Service said.

Ships drew close to the Outer Banks to catch currents running along the eastern seaboard. “Flowing like massive rivers in the sea, the cold-water Labrador Current from the north and the warm Gulf Stream from the south converge just offshore from the cape,” according to NPS.

Storms and shifting sands reveal the Outer Banks’ dangerous history from time to time. Earlier this year, the remains of the four-masted G.A Kohler were visible on the beach near Salvo, North Carolina, according to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and The Charlotte Observer.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.