Visit Graveyard of the Atlantic on Your OBX Vacations

A Must-Do for History Buffs and Divers

obx wrecksIf you enjoy going on unique vacations Outer Banks history offers an historical opportunity that offers two separate ways to enjoy one of the OBX's most famous locations. The Graveyard of the Atlantic is a stretch of water off the coast of North Carolina along the Outer Banks.  It is known for being the entombment of thousands of ships and seamen lost at sea.  This stretch of water is dangerous as it is where the two main currents along the eastern seaboard converge and create treacherous waves and turbulence making it difficult to navigate. 

Probably the most difficult area is just off the coast of Cape Hatteras.  Known as Diamond Shoals, this is a large area of sand shoals that stick up like diamonds and extend out about 14 miles off shore.  Because of the changing tides and currents, the sand constantly shifts creating shoals that move positions.  Lighthouses along the Outer Banks light the way to assist in the navigation of the ships along this dangerous stretch of water. 

Getting wrapped up in the history of the Graveyard of the Atlantic is easy and fun. It is, without a doubt, a must-do for history buffs and divers alike. There is so much to see whether diving down to the sites of shipwrecks or spending an afternoon at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Cape Hatteras.

The History of the Graveyard of the Atlantic

obx maritime museumWhile there have been thousands of shipwrecks over the past 400+ years, there have been several that have made it into the history books.  The first one is actually the first recorded shipwreck that dates back to the mid-1500s. It sank at the mouth of the Cape Fear River.  The USS Monitor is probably the most well-known shipwreck which occurred during the Civil War.  Almost a year ago, the HMS Bounty, the replica sailing ship built for the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, was sailing from the coast of Maine and down the eastern coast.  It ended up sinking off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy even though it tried to sail around it. 

A visit to the Hatteras location of the North Carolina Maritime Museums is a fascinating and extensive exhibit that relays the stories of the famous shipwrecks like the USS Monitor, the German U-Boats, the history of the US Lifesaving Service and lighthouses as well as the history of the Graveyard of the Atlantic.   In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers programs, events and so much more throughout the year like kids events, crafting activities, movies and other historical programs. History buffs, especially maritime aficionados, easily spend a day or two at the Maritime Museum taking in everything.

Diving the Graveyard

graveyard of atlanticAnother way to soak in (literally soak in) the history of the waters off the OBX is to dive some of the shipwrecks.  Some of the more popular dives include the Papoose which was a tanker that was torpedoed by the German U124 sub in 1942.  

Stretching out 412 feet about 120 feet down along the ocean's floor, the Papoose is filled with so much sea life as it has become a reef providing tons of food for everything living below the surface. 

Another popular spot to dive is the U352, a German U Boat that also sank in 1942.  It is typically the first spot to which divers head simply because it is a classic dive filled with so much life. 

Because there are so many potential dive sites, OBX diving shops are the best ways to wreck dive. Companies like Outer Banks Dive Center in Nags Head or Outer Banks Diving in Hatteras have charters that head out daily to the various sites depending on which ones are the most visible.  

A More Entertaining Trip

No matter the purpose of your OBX vacations, including a trip to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Hatteras or wreck diving to see the Graveyard of the Atlantic firsthand with local dive shops makes for a more entertaining and thrilling trip. 

Elan Vacations is available to help in the preparation of all of your vacation needs.  Just call toll free 866-760-ELAN (3526) or email us to make reservations or get more information on planning a trip to the Outer Banks.

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