26 February 2021: Another month is almost done, Spring is right around the corner (we hope) and people are getting covid 19 shots. So things are beginning to look up. And now England is out of the chase for the America's Cup, leaving Italy (for the first time ever) to challenge the current holder of it, New Zealand. From the way the Italian boat has been sailing, I think they will give the Kiwis a good run for their money - maybe even take the Cup back to Italy with them! Should they actually do that, we here at Maritime Maunder hope that some level of sanity will return and the next challenge will be in conventional yachts!
Today's post comes from the North Carolina Herald and marks the anniversary of a weird happening off Cape Hatteras, the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
‘Ghost ship’ with a cat — but no crew— wrecked on Outer Banks 100 years ago this week
The 100th anniversary of a bizarre chapter in Outer Banks history — the arrival of a ghost ship — was quietly marked over the weekend with a tribute posted on Facebook.
“The Carroll A. Deering, a five-masted schooner, fell victim to the Graveyard of the Atlantic when she ran aground on the Diamond Shoals,” Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials wrote.
Carroll A. Deering
“Rescue efforts were unsuccessful as no crew could be found. Even now, 100 years later, the mystery of what happened to the crew remains unsolved, earning the nickname for this wreck, the Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks.”
The wreck of the Deering on Jan. 31, 1921 is “one of the most discussed and written-about maritime mysteries of the 20th century,” according to a National Park Service report.
An FBI investigation cited multiple possibilities of what might have happened in the ship’s final days, including a mutiny, a takeover by rum runners and even an attack by “Bolshevik-sympathizing pirates,” the NPS says.
“Some people have even suggested that the notorious Bermuda Triangle was to blame,” the park service says.
Ten men and “a six-toed cat” were aboard when the ship set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, historians say. Only the cat survived.
What they found
The ocean directly off North Carolina’s Outer Banks is home to more than 1,000 shipwrecks, due in part to shoals created by the colliding Gulf Stream and Labrador currents, experts say. Some historians put the number of shipwrecks at closer to 2,000, according to The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at Hatteras.
The Diamond Shoals is among the deadliest, described as “a cluster of shifting, underwater sandbars that ... extend for miles in varying directions,” Outerbanks.com reports.
A Coast Guard Station was the first to report seeing the Deering stuck on the shoals, with “sails still set and its lifeboats missing,” the NPS says. Due to rough conditions, rescue boats weren’t able to reach the ship until Feb. 4, historians say.
Not only was the crew gone, but also missing were their “personal belongings, key navigational equipment, some papers, and the ship’s anchors,” NPS historians report.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum posted its own Facebook remembrance Saturday, which noted investigators found the wreck “had been driven high up on the shoals, which would have taken a massive force to accomplish.”
A red light distress signal was located atop a mast and “prepared food was supposedly found in the galley,” the museum posted.
“Researchers continue to try to discover what happened to a captain and crew that seemingly vanished into thick, foggy air,” the post said. “To this day, no trace of the crew or the ship’s logs has been recovered.”
Where is the wreck?
The Deering’s hull was “was dynamited and scuttled” a month after being found, out of fear it would free itself from the shoal and endanger other ships, historians say. “Whatever answers may have once existed are likely long gone,” the NPS said of the decision to scuttle the ship.
Pieces of the Deering have managed to survive in unexpected ways, however. Some of its timbers are incorporated in the facade of a gift shop at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, which has a standing exhibit about the ship. The display includes the captain’s desk, an oak water basin, a silver flask, an oil lantern and ship’s bell.
Other bits of the Deering are scattered in the homes of some long-time Outer Banks residents, including the ship’s clock, according to Josh Nonnenmocher, administrator of Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
The clock hadn’t chimed in the past century — until last year, he told McClatchy News.
clock started chiming on Aug. 22 and that is the anniversary of when
the Deering set out on its final voyage to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It
has been dormant for years,” he said. [creepy! ed.]
Outer Banks guide Ray Stallings of OBX Beach Shuttle Services says the creepy story of the Deering is a regular part of his island tours. It’s usually told during a stop at Cape Point, which faces the deadly Diamond Shoals, he told McClatchy News.
“There are many theories of what happened, but they all leave questions,” Stallings said. “The most plausible theories of mutiny, rum runners and pirates doesn’t fit in with the ship being abandoned.”
Hmm. The whole story is one that will likely never be known, but it surely is thought provoking! Especially the bit about the clock chiming after 100 years!
Until next time,