Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ghost Fleet at Mallows Bay

About 30 miles downriver from Washington DC, there is a little bay that holds an intriguing bit of history. During World War I merchant cargo ships were being built at a frantic pace to help with the war effort. Unfortunately, these hastily built ships were made of wood and obsolete the minute they were built.

The war ended before many of them were even delivered and no one knew what to do with them. Eventually they were sold for scrap. The scrap company hauled them here, stripped them of valuable items, and burned many of them. This salvage company went bankrupt during the Depression and most of the ships sat abandoned until they sank.

Today the north end of Mallows Bay is littered with sunken hulks. Wednesday we anchored nearby, and this morning we rode the dinghy over to check them out.

The most recent wreck is the S.S. Accomac, a Chesapeake Bay ferry in service until 1964. We spotted a big osprey nest there on the port stern.
Some of the oldest boats have collected enough dirt over the years to support vegetation. Shrubs and even trees are growing on them.

Looking at this Google image, you can see several of the "flower pot" ships against the shore, and several ships underwater too.

If you'd like to read more about these ships you can use this link to a CNN article.

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