A Spooky Fact! October 30 – 1985: Whydah Wreck Found Off The Coast Of Wellfleet

Think “pirate” and your mind fills with wild thugs from fiction and fancy. But now North America’s only known pirate shipwreck is giving us glimpses of the truth—more complex, more interesting.

The Whydah sank off New England in April 1717. Her captain, “Black Sam” Bellamy, and 143 others died with her. Armed with Whydah clues and informed imaginations, historians have begun speculating about Bellamy’s crew. Pounded by 40-foot waves, the Whydah ran aground, and was battered to bits. This kind of “exploded” wreck is very difficult to recover. In addition, the sea floor off of Cape Cod has a shifting sandy bottom, so the ship and its contents were not only scattered but also buried under 10 to 30 feet of sand. The area is treacherous and over 3,000 ships have gone down there in a 400-year period. The site was also used as a firing range during World War II, adding even more debris to the seabed.

To learn more visit whydah.com/whydah-museum!

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Maura Smith

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