Cape Shipwrecks & Wrecking
The Cape has been the scene of many shipwrecks. Oftimes, a ship would run aground on the constantly shifting sand bars found off the Cape. Sometimes the ships were lured into coming near shore by the false lights set by wreckers.
The wreckers were called mooncussers, because the moon made their work more risky, therefore they cursed or cussed the moonlit nights.
Both jetsam, or goods thrown overboard from a ship in distress, and flotsam, or the wreckage of a ship and its cargo would be washed ashore. The wreckers would hurry to salvage articles, and then pile them up, laying two crossed sticks on top to show claim. They were supposed to report all salvaged property of any value, but rarely did.
Because so many wrecks went unrecovered, the pastime of anchor-dragging was developed. Grappling hooks and lines would be dragged over known wrecks in hopes of recovering anchors and other such marine hardware, for resale.
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