New Cape Cod Shipwreck Exposed

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Rich and I just returned from a marvelous 2-week trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. To say we had perfect weather would be an understatement. 83 degrees and sunny or mostly sunny for 14 days straight, with light winds, little humidity, and acres of blue sky and azure sea. It was heaven. It seems, however, that was not what our friends and colleagues were experiencing here on Cape Cod in our absence. We’ve learned, from just about everybody we talked to since our return, that the Cape experienced a nor’easter of sorts that hung around for nearly four days. High winds, rain, and even some early snow squalls accompanied this early winter storm.

Our first indication that Cape Cod had experienced some foul weather while we were away was the pile of wood stacked on the farmer‘s porch. The wood came from the arbor that spans our walkway and supports a tulip vine, which has intertwined itself in latticework of the trellis. The winds were fierce enough to tear some of the lattice away from the arbor and the twisted branches of the tulip vine. Our gardener thoughtfully collected the scattered pieces from the front yard and neatly stacked them on the deck.

Once inside, we noticed a screen that our housekeeper left in the kitchen. It seems that it tore free from one of the second floor gable windows during the storm and she rescued it from the front garden. These two discoveries prodded us to do a more through examination to assess further damage from the storm, as the hilltop location and north facing windows of our Inn insures that the backside  takes a severe beating in a nor’easter. Alas, we thankfully found nothing more awry.

We did however, discover that other parts of the Cape had taken a pretty good dusting from the storm, as evidenced in an article in the Cape Cod Times on Thursday, November 18th revealing that the storm had uncovered yet another shipwreck on Nauset Beach. Approximately 50 feet of timbers were exposed, projecting less than a foot above the sand. Spotted by a local about a half-mile south of the patrolled beach, the wreck is located in an area that routinely gets washed over during big storms.

More than 3,500 ships foundered and went down off the coast of Cape Cod between 1850 and 1980. Most of those wrecks occurred in the late 19th century. According to the paper “the wreck appears to be resting on its side” and it is “unclear whether more of the ship is buried in the sand or if what’s visible is all that remains.”

“The wreck,” explains the Cape Cod Times reporter, “is similar in construction to a shipwreck that was found on Newcomb Hollow Beach almost two years ago, which was thought to be a late 1800s- to early 1900s-era schooner of the type that often plied the coastal waters delivering coal, lumber or other coal goods, this recent wreck.”

At any rate, its clear to us that the storm we missed while we were in Hawaii was a doosey. We can’t wait to get down to Nauset to see it for ourselves and we suggest any of you other shipwreck hunters interested in taking a peek get down here soon. Who knows when the next storm will come and erase all evidence of it again?