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The Graveyard of the Atlantic

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 03, 2009

This large map of Sable Island shows its many shipwrecks.

Only sealers, shipwrecked sailors and salvagers made their homes on Sable Island, impermanent ones at best. The salvagers must have had some pretty good times — over the last few centuries, more than 350 vessels were shipwrecked on what became known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Located in shallow, often stormy and foggy waters, the elongated Sable Island (44 km long but never more than 2 km wide) might have been predestined as a catchment area for ships treading these Atlantic latitudes — a self-fulfilling curse for captains igorant or oblivious of this huge, constantly shifting sandbar.

Update: Dueling Graveyards of the Atlantic.

The waters off North Carolina’s Outer Banks entomb thousands of vessels and countless mariners who lost a desperate struggle against the forces of war, piracy and nature. The Graveyard of the Atlantic, with one of the highest densities of shipwrecks in the world, holds some of America’s most important maritime history.

(thx, dan)

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