Category Archives: Boat Graveyards

R/V Arctic Discoverer; The Sad Remnants of a Golden Find

The listing and rusted vessel is what you’d expect to see at a scrapyard. What’s not readily apparent, though, is that beneath the cracked paint and broken windows lies an epic tale of disaster and riches, disappearance and discovery, greed and justice. And the story is far from over. The Research Vessel Arctic Discoverer was … Continue reading

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Steamboat Wharves; The Vanished Lifeblood of Rural Communities

There were once hundreds of them, just about any spot a country road dead ended at tidewater. They were the lifeblood of communities, a portal to the world beyond. Folks once planned their days, their seasons around them. But now the rotten pilings that descend into murky water do little service to the long-lost importance … Continue reading

Posted in Bay Islands, Boat Graveyards, Ghost towns, Industry | 3 Comments

The James River Reserve Fleet; The Last of an Armada that Served the World

Used to be you had no problem seeing the Ghost Fleet. After all, there were 850 idle ships lashed together in neat rows of two dozen or more stretching five miles. Today, though, that vast armada is a dying flame. There are fewer than twenty vessels, and the James River’s role as a vault for … Continue reading

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Kiptopeke’s Concrete Ships; A Long Journey to Obscurity

Concrete floats. Well, a concrete hull does, anyway. Form the material to make a vessel that displaces water and–voila–just like steel, concrete is buoyant. Go figure. I knew writing a book about the Chesapeake Bay’s abandoned history would lead me to Kiptopeke State Park‘s concrete ships, which I’ve held in curious esteem since I first … Continue reading

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Baltimore’s Curtis Creek, A Motley Assemblage of Ruined Vessels

Cities are as much a vault for abandoned history as the countryside, and there’s something logical and engaging about urban exploration.  The whirr of production, the odor of industry, the energy are all as much a part of the bay’s history and ecology as remote stretches far from any city center. Among the most intriguing … Continue reading

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Mallows Bay

Surely the oddest spectacle in all the Chesapeake Bay’s tributaries is Mallows Bay.  You can’t help some sense of bewilderment paddling about the 170-odd burned and weather-beaten hulks, their remnants barely breaking the surface of the murky water, their keels sunk fast into the Potomac River’s syrupy black mud. The remains here are what’s left of a … Continue reading

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