Here’s a sight familiar to East Coast cruisers: the vertical lift bridge spanning the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne, Mass. It’s an unusual shot of the railroad bridge in its half-raised position. Unlike most opening bridges, which only open for boat traffic, this span stays in a raised position in deference to the 20,000 vessels that pass beneath it each year.
Shipwrecks were a common occurrence during the age of sail, what with thousands of vessels plying America’s inland and coastal waters. But there were shipwrecks and then there were shipwrecks. Some involved the tragic loss of life; others were merely an inconvenience to ship owners.
Four members of the Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station take a moment to pose in their white hats and jackets, their surfboats at the ready. Theirs was not an easy job, living in a lonely outpost on the stormy North Carolina coast.
Nantucket Island, off Cape Cod, Mass., was the whaling capital of the world during the first half of the 19th century. Whaling was how many a family made a living — or a fortune — sailing distant reaches of the seven seas in hardy, no-frills ships in pursuit of some of the largest creatures in the world.
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