Sandy Exposes Ship Once Buried on Fire Island

After hurricane Sandy tore through the mid-Atlantic region, a shipwreck has been unearthed on a barrier island of New York, exciting archeologists.

The wrecked ship is reportedly a Canadian schooner that has long been buried in the sands of Fire Island, a barrier island in Long Island, N.Y., and is now totally exposed as a result of severe beach erosion brought on by Sandy's record breaking storm surge.

The wreck is located about four miles east of Davis Park on the Fire Island National Seashore between Skunk Hollow and Whalehouse Point, as reported by Newsday.

The current speculation is that the remains belong to the Bessie White that ran aground more than 90 years old, according to Paula Valentine, public affairs specialist for Fire Island.

There are conflicting historic accounts concerning the actual year the ship ran aground, but the events of surrounding the wreck seem to be in agreement.

Historical reports indicate that the ship, a 4-mast Canadian schooner, ran aground due to heavy fog just west of Smith's Point, Long Island. Conflicting reports indicate the ship wrecked in 1919 or 1922.

The crew, including the ship's cat, made it safely ashore, but the ship was unable to be moved. The ship was carrying many tons of coal and when it was determined the ship could not be saved, the contents of the ship were salvaged.

The remains of the boat, which are about the size of a city bus, have broken through the sand after strong storms eroded the beach, but never has it been exposed so much.

The dune and surrounding beach that had once been used to bury the wreck eroded back an average of 72 feet, Cheryl Hapke, U.S. Geological Survey coastal geologist, said in a statement.

Archaeologists and park officials are going to be researching the wreck before the sea covers it once more with sand.

"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," Valentine said. "It's just a rare treat to see something exposed."