As Long Island struggles to patch up, we have learned that Sandy exposed a ship wrecked on Fire Island nearly a century ago.
News that Sandy exposed the ship is the type of thing that would be normally notable in this area, but, as locals struggle to cope with losses, the discovery has been buried like the ship itself amid the extensive damage done to the area. In my own hometown of Babylon, the wide-ranging and devastating losses still visible near our shoreline causes the significant discovery to pale contrasted with the destruction, but local historians did receive a boon in the otherwise horrible weather event.
The ship Sandy exposed on Fire Island was run aground near Smith’s Point near Patchogue in either 1919 or 1922. Her crew survived with one injury attributed to a capsized lifeboat, but the vessel’s cargo and as well as the ship itself were unsalvageable.
Until Sandy, the now-exposed ship lay mostly undisturbed save for some unearthing during previous storms.
And while Long Island is still in tatters, Fire Island media contact Paula Valentine admits that the discovery is one that delights preservationists:
“There’s so little of it left we may not be not be able to determine which ship it actually is, but we may be able to learn more about its age … It’s just a rare treat to see something exposed.”
And still, the ship Sandy exposed comes at a cost to our dunes — until the vessel was uncovered, it remained beneath the sand, which ultimately eroded 72 feet and revealed the wreck.