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Ask Me Monday Recap: Graveyard of the Atlantic


  Yesterday was Ask Me Monday on Facebook. If you want to see all of the questions and answers, Click Here. I did have one question that stumped me: Christopher asked: "Being the Graveyard of the Atlantic, what was the name of first ship sank and first ship found by pioneers in US ?" I searched and searched then I asked around but I couldn't find the answer anywhere! I did find out that the first shipwreck recorded was in 1526 and the most well known shipwreck was the USS Monitor  which sank in 1863 and the most recent ship added to the graveyard was the HMS Bounty which sank off the coast of Hatteras during Hurricane Sandy in October of this year. The USS Monitor was famous for it's part in the Battle of Hampton Roads during the Civil War in March of 1862. The ship traveled south to fight the Virginia  who had just sunk two ships from the US Navy and killed 240 crew members. The fight ended in a stalemate but it did help the Union keep control of the ports in the South. It was later that year, on New Years Eve, that the Monitor was caught in a winter storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras. The most recent shipwreck was the HMS Bounty which was a replica of a 1700's British Ship. It was rebuilt for the movie "The Muntiny on the Bounty" and it appeared in several other films including "Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest". The Bounty  was caught traveling during Hurricane Sandy and the crew was forced to abandon the ship. 2 of the 16 member crew didn't survive.


More than 1,000 ships have sunk off the coast of the Outer Banks, NC since the 1500s. Many different factors come together to make the coast of NC a very dangerous place for ships throughout the years.  First of all, we have the Diamond Shoals. These shoals are created by the collision of the Labrador Current which contains cold water and the Gulf Stream which contains warm water. Where these currents collide, there are very rough waters and shallow sandbars making it hard to navigate. Many ships have run aground along these sandbars or taken on water from the high surf.

Piracy and Warfare

Piracy has been another cause of shipwrecks. The most famous pirate is most likely Edward Teach, better known as Black Beard. Pirates loved the coast of NC because the barrier islands made for great hiding places from authorities. During WWII, German submarines began to focus on the area off the coast of the Outer Banks targeting merchant ships. These U-boats sank more than 300 ships and were most successful off the coast of Hatteras which became known as Torpedo Junction. After months of attacks on innocent ships, the US Navy finally took action with the help of the British. Several of the submarines were sank and in 1942 all of the u-boats were withdrawn.  

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

After many years of planning, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum was opened in October of 2002  in Hatteras. It's purpose is to education the community about this rich history of The Graveyard of the Atlantic. It is a non-profit and public place for education. They focus on the history between 1524 and 1945 and seen over 300,000 visitors since opening their doors.           For more information, check out these useful links: