Grave Yard of the Atlantic

No one knows how long ago the first sea going vessel met her demise off the treacherous North Carolina coast.

Of an a-surety, still, from the first of the known recorded ship logs, in 1526, the climatic pool of intersecting seas has been known of, and feared for hundreds of years.

During those 500 years of recorded ship wreck history alone, the sea has claimed an unknown amount of lives, and a thousand ships, in just one area known as Diamond Shoals.

Here just off shore of Cape Point, on Hatteras Island, the north bound warm water Gulf Stream of the Caribbean, collides head on into the southward searching Labrador Current, from the Arctic.

The raging collision of underwater rivers, one rushing 140 tons of water per second in a straight line from the tropics, along the eastern seaboard; then suddenly making a sharp easterly turn, is not the only monstrous force of nature taking place at this infamous cemetery of the sea.

High above the ocean surface, swirling, and colliding occasionally due to temperature changes in separate channels known as the stratosphere, and the troposphere, are treacherous, weather makers known as jet streams.

Jet streams, in turbulent areas of opposing temperatures, such as the area of the Grave Yard of the Atlantic, can be just as contributing in catastrophic sea disaster, as its underwater counterpart, known as the Gulf Stream.

Combine these two natural phenomena, with any of the weather, and underwater conditions that they are both capable of creating independent of the other, and you have a two-headed sea monster, with an insatiable hunger for change.

Sandbar, shoreline, seashell, or ship; the great Gyre of the mid-Atlantic sea blindly chews into whatever befalls it’s merciless ardor.

Barriers get bored through, sucked up, and spit out in completely different places, in the roaring expanse.

Unseen obstructions, by now completely imponderable by unsuspecting craft meandering their way through the aftermath, which can appear on the surface, as calm, glassy, smooth sailing seas.

It’s not that this section of ocean is always impassible. However, in days gone by there was just no way to foresee the dangers that may lie beneath the surface, until one was already entrapped within the clutches of its whirl- pooling,  in-navigable snare.

Other days, though usually stormy ones, apprehensive mariners, already fighting for their ships and life, can see the two oceans collide before them,  sending spume, foam, sand, and sea life 100 feet into the air.

The first sighting had to have been a heart stopping show for 16th century sailors, thousands of miles from home.

Like a mystical mid-ocean geyser, or a giant mythical mist spewing whale.

Likely, many a mate rubbed his eyes in disbelief, as fanciful, far-fetched tales, told by salty dogs, over a chug of Rum, in some dank Wharf tavern, on yon shore, came to their fearful minds and memory.

Making a decision at that time, to hoist all sails, throw caution, ship, and crew to the wind, or, veering to avoid such a terrifying visage, could either mean life or death for all aboard the great sea fairing vessel.

Decidedly, many a ship’s Captain opted  to weather the awe-inspiring passage, with wind filled sails, and lived to tell of the adventure.

Others, unfortunate, as fate and time would have it, were caught on top of the two bottomless walls of water, just as the two recoiled from their powerful collision, and  swallowed whole into the massive fissure, being crushed by the next on coming clash, of hundreds of tons of swell.

Of those who veered to miss the terrorizing show, of many, some must surely have survived. While many others, less fortunate, ran aground, by angry waves, and rushing wind.

Sadly, many wooden vessels, of yesteryear, have also crumbled into their own crushed hull, after violently plummeting down atop a barrier reef, or one of the constantly changing Diamond Shoals.

As not all ship logs, by any means, were  salvaged, from the all too many wrecks of the boisterous belching brute; out of a thousand recorded, and charted ships, it is impossible to know the exact circumstances of how they met their untimely demise.

There are page, after page, after page, of chartered oceanic disasters listed in detail, about this stretch of Barrier Islands. Starting in 1526, and going through 1945.CerasiCederwin Photobucket

Upon further research and study of  each case, we hope to  bring you more detailed renderings, of some of those wrecks, in hopes, that if but for a short read, and small pondering of the heart;
we can raise at least one of those great ships back to life, from forgotten history, and rest…From the Grave Yard of the Atlantic.

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copyright 2010-paul willis



  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Grave Yard of the Atlantic « sons of thunder patron --

  2. Thank You,
    well, I guess if you got to have a niche, it should be something that floats your boat…

    So to speak.
    Thanks again I don’t know how I missed that one post of your,s unless, I thought the two cakes were corn bread…actually, I if I thought they were corn bread,I probably would have read it first.


    • Aye Matey, ur Lassy. Whoot air yuh-a trayen t sey?
      oy wusn’t eeem a tryen to do the swashbuckling jorgun.
      Aye, boot es-mute give hit a whoorl next toim. Now lewer de eweld gloooiry, and hoist a jewly rugier …Hoist the toap sil ,and par down the meyne..stiddy es she blues.Rule oat the big goons,oonbatten the game blukes, en blue that schooner ute the say…

      BaaaCh…polly want a Parrot?


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