A month of nor’easters can lead to great things
when the weather clears, and throughout Hatteras Island, consistent
northeast winds mean that shipwrecks which are often covered during the
summer months are once again exposed.
The G.A. Kohler,
which is one of the most visible wrecks in between Avon and Salvo, has
resurfaced to the point that beach-goers can barely make out the shape
of the vessel, while several other and less intact pieces of unknown
shipwrecks have become exposed along the nearby dunes. These scattered
and unidentified remnants, which are estimated to be roughly a century
old, are likely being exposed for the first time in years, and are
thought to have been purposely placed along the dunes in the 1930s as
part of the island-wide dune building project by the Civilian
But when it comes to wreckage, on Ramp 27, the expansive G.A. Kohler steals the scene. The Kohler was a huge four-masted schooner that was built in 1919, and which sailed from the city of Baltimore in 1933.
The vessel encountered a fierce hurricane and was
driven just off the beach on August 23, 1933, however U.S. Coast Guard
personnel from the Gull Shoal and Chicamacomico Stations were able to
rescue all aboard, which included eight crewmen and a dog.
Per the National Park Service, the Kohler subsequently
remained on the beach for a decade until it was burned during World War
II for the iron fittings. Nevertheless, the wooden remnants still
remain, complete with a little blackened char from the fire.
This time of year, the wreck is impossible to
miss, and is located almost directly at the end of Ramp 27, in between
Avon and Salvo
Visitors to Hatteras village may also run into
another locally famous shipwreck that surfaces and re-surfaces with the
weather, the unknown wreck off of Ramp 55. (Beach-goers can reach this
shipwreck by heading to the beach directly across from the Graveyard of
the Atlantic Museum.) It is believed that this vessel was a six-masted
schooner built out of oak and pine sometime between 1870 and the early
1900s, though it’s not clear which one of the many shipwrecks along the
coastline the remnants belong to.
When the southwest winds pick up, the shipwrecks
along the beach disappear until the next wave of storms put them on
display once again. But for now, visitors have prime viewing
opportunities for seeing these lingering reminders of the Graveyard of
the Atlantic’s long and tumultuous history.