Remains of a long-ago victim of the Graveyard of the Atlantic have been discovered on the beach off Corolla after this week’s rough surf. The wreck is near the Albacore Street off-road vehicle ramp and has stayed mainly buried under the duneline, but longtime residents say it’s the most they have seen of the wreck exposed in years.
It gives onlookers one of the best sights of the buried wreck since it was first found in 1997, but the ocean has routinely exposed the wreckage to varying degrees since. Locals also believe it to be part of the 19th century ship called the Metropolis. “It is definitely more exposed than it has been in the past,” said Dr. Nathan Richard, head of UNC’s Coastal Studies Institute’s Maritime Heritage program. “It’s a big ship and is easily identifiable because there is so much of it still intact. It’s sitting on its keel, and there is a good view of the portside.”
The wreck has been identified as the “O’Keefe” wreck by the state’s Underwater Archaeology branch, named after Charles O’Keefe, who first reported it back in the late 1990s. While the exposed portion has long been believed to be part of the Metropolis shipwreck, Richards said the remains have never been compared against historical records, so it cannot be said for certain what wreck it belongs to.