Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Diamond Shoals

The warm waters of the Gulf Stream meet the cold waters of the Labrador Current at Cape Hatteras. Diamond Shoals extends for about 25 miles southeast from the Cape. When the two currents collide the white water often resembles diamonds (http://iwitness.abc11.com/Media/View/655312).

From the earliest days of European settlement in North America this area was recognized as very dangerous to shipping. The waters near Cape Hatteras have come to be known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" because of the numerous shipwrecks there. Tradition has it that Alexander Hamilton was the first to use this term, in 1773. Hamilton also advocated for constructing a lighthouse at the Cape to warn captains of the dangers of approaching too near the shoals [editorial note: please see my comment for a clarification].

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the unique "Ocracoke Greeting." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022113.htm

1 comment:

  1. I recently received an email from Kevin Duffus, author of The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate. He referred me to a footnote he wrote for his book, The Lost Light—A Civil War Mystery:

    "An urban legend has been perpetuated for more than 50 years that the first lighthouse on Cape Hatteras had been the idea of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, ever since he had been a teenager. The story goes that Hamilton conceived the lighthouse following a near-death experience when his ship, Thunderbolt, caught fire and nearly foundered off Hatteras. Hamilton scholars today, including Yale historian, Joanne Freeman, author of Hamilton Writings, have found no evidence of the Hatteras accident. The myth was fabricated by a popular writer who began his book by admitting that he was not a historian and his book was not a history, yet successive writers accepted his fantasy as fact. Hamilton did not initiate the idea for a lighthouse at the Cape, but without question, as Secretary of the Treasury he paid for it."

    Kevin, thanks for the clarification.


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