Today started out a little gloomy. The clouds rolled in after a perfect sunny week, as we headed to Coquina Beach for a cleanup. Even on this remote beach during one of the most dead times of the year for the OBX (before tourist season), we found evidence of humans. In total we probably removed about 70 lbs from Coquina.
After spending the morning cleaning, we headed to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, named after the fact that this offshore area is home to many sunken ships and nicknamed the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Knowing that this area offshore (with it's 3 converging currents) is where many of our offshore storms start, doesn't surprise us that it won this unfortunate nickname.
This Museum is AWESOME and free! It contains artifacts from Blackbeard, to the U.S.S Monitor, even the original SOS from the Titanic! So much maritime history can be found off the coast of Hatteras and being able to learn about it in one place was quite the experience.
We waited until today to visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum because the 3rd Annual Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum Underwater Heritage Symposium was going on today! We were able to hear from a variety of speakers from recreational divers to NOAA National Marine Sactuary Officials; all brought together to discuss the unique abundance of shipwrecks found offshore.
We were brought here to learn more about the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and the extension plans for the US's smallest NMS. We learned that there is a lot of opposition to the extension plans, mostly from the fishing communities as they are believed to be restrictive on fishing (which don't worry, they aren't!).
While at the symposium we actually gained a contact at NOAA (and UNCW alumni/PERSONAL FRIEND OF SYLVIA EARLE), who can help us reach out to the Monitor NMS in hopes of getting them on board and helping them with our Hope Spot: Hatteras idea!