Forgotten Shipwrecks & Beachside Graves

Today, some friends and I decided to hike out to Long Point beach – essentially, the very last tip of the Cape Cod hook. Starting at the end of Rt-6A, you climb over a very long breakwater (the dotted line), then continue on up the beach. It’s was about a 1.5 hour hike out. Sure, we could’ve taken the 10 minute ferry from Provincetown, but where’s the fun in that?

02 Breakwater map

About an hour in, we came across the very last remnants of the hull of a beached ship – a shipwreck! Sweet! Coming across something like this at random makes any trek more than worth it:

03 Skeleton 01

Another view, from the front. The ship was probably about 25 feet long or so. Note the large timber protruding at the very front of the ship:

04 Skeleton 02

The front of the boat. You can even see the center board of the ship still running the length of the middle:

05 Skeleton 03

The boards stuck out at an angle about two or three feet from the sand. I’m wondering if the boat was mostly bull-dozed, or if it really did succumb to the elements:

06 Skeleton 04

The rear center timber (no clue what the actual name is) poking out of the sand:

07 Skeleton 05

One last view of the ship, from the rear (facing Provincetown):

08 Skeleton 06

As we continued on, we came to another huge pile of wreckage along the shore and had to check it out:

10 Wreckage 01

Could this be the toppled mast of a ship, with a piece of the deck still attached and a ladder on the right?

11 Wreckage 02

What I think was once a tackle of some sort attached to the deck:

13 Wreckage 04

Piled to the left were a bunch of really interesting industrial looking pieces, whose purpose remain a total mystery to me:

14 Wreckage 05

This one had spouts on either end, along with a drill-like curved inner bit and some awesome valve handles.

15 Wreckage 06

The valve handles up close. Everything was completely covered in barnacles and netting.

16 Wreckage 07

There was also this bizarre iron drum:

17 Wreckage 08

The other side of it was cracked…

18 Wreckage 09

…with some pretty awesome colors if you got close (no treasure inside, sadly):

19 Wreckage 10

Finally, there’s this piece of…I have no clue what this is.

20 Wreckage 11

A little ways further, we came across this. A former boat? The broken oar was resting right next to it, incredibly.

21 Oar Boat 01

Finally, this one might be a stretch, but I was really intrigued by four very small wooden posts sticking up out of the water. You can see them here in a diamond shape – one close to the camera, two on either side in the distance, and a fourth one further away in the center.

22 Possibility 01

Each piece was only about an inch thick and a few inches above ground, but NONE of them could be budged. Obviously not the usual driftwood, and they didn’t seem to be remnants of markers. Could something much, much larger lie beneath the surface holding them in place? I wish I had brought a shovel…

23 Possibility 02

Finally, we made it to the very end of the Cape Cod “arm” – here’s a picture for proof!

24 Tip 01

At the very end is the Long Point Lighthouse, built in 1875.

25 Lighthouse 01

Another angle:

26 Lighthouse 02

To the right of it, a cross was perched on a hill. As it turns out, it’s a memorial for Charles Darby, a soldier killed in World War II.

27 Cross 01

Darby was a member of a local group of artists known as the Beachcombers, who erected this in his memory (at least I think it’s a memorial, and not a grave).

28 Cross 02

Definitely make the journey out to Long Point next time you’re in Cape Cod. It’s well worth the hike.


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  1. The centerline of the boat is called the keel if I’m not mistaken, and the name for the piece of timber you referred to.

  2. very cool find!

  3. art milmore maritime historian

    the big thing with the wheel is the remains of a generator the end protruding from the sand is the stem (front) and the other end sternpost. one of the lasrge metal objects is a winch-[ulley, and the other looks like the remains of the engine. from the size it looks like an old wooden eastern rig dragger that was rotting out too much and left to die. the sea is slowly reclaiming it- a marine junkyard. hope this helps best regards art