April 2, 2018

Shipwrecks Resurface All Along the
Island after a Month of Nor’easters


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 Conservation Corps.

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.

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