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History.Local: The Graveyard of the Atlantic

3 Jan 2014
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Hatteras History

With her burly temper and shallow shoals, the waters off the coast of North Carolina's Outer Banks have claimed an estimated 2,000 shipwrecks over the years, hence the title "The Graveyard of the Atlantic".

The latest of these instances was back in the fall when two northern sailboats ran aground just south of Oregon Inlet (Photo Credits: Daniel Pullen Photography). A sad sight to see, each wreck has a story and is a moment in Outer Banks history.

On a clear day in December, we noted there were three wrecks exposed on the beaches of Hatteras Village. That changes with the tides and shifting sands, so it's always exciting to come across one that you haven't seen before. We aren't fully certain of their names, but they do stand to remind us that Mother Nature is to be respected.

There are several other wrecks that are visible year-round that make for fun surfing days, great fishing spots and beautiful diving adventures. Known to Hatteras Island ol'-timers as the "Old Richmond", there is a large wreck posted in the water at the end of Sand Street in Salvo that is known professionally as the "Pocahontas" (Photo Credit: Zenovah.Faire). In addition, there is another off the beach in Rodanthe near North Holiday Boulevard known as the LST-471, and yet another across from the Pea Island rest area known locally as the "Boilers", but professionally as the "Oriental". These are just a couple of the thousands that lay off of our coast, but are definitely fun to visit and easily accessed while here on Hatteras Island.

For more history on the shipwrecks that lie off our coast, there is an incredible museum in Hatteras Village, The Graveyard of The Atlantic Museum. Admission is free, but they do take donations! Be sure to check it out as they frequently have guest speakers and tons of fun facts about the mysteries of the Atlantic.