Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse: the picturesque cliffside beacon that no longer calls to sailors but shines once a year in honor of a famous shipwreck.

The cliffside lighthouse is built on a 41-meters wall of rock overlooking Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910 by the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $75,000, including the buildings and the land. It was built after the disastrous Mataafa Storm wrecked 29 ships in the area five years previous, and one of these shipwrecks, the Madeira, is located just north of the lighthouse. At the time of its construction, there were no roads to the area:…

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Fanad Head: sandy beaches, epic views, whales and sunken treasure…

Standing between idyllic Lough Swilly, one of Ireland’s very few glacial fjords, and sandy Mulroy Bay, lies Fanad Head Lighthouse. With its location in the Donegal Gaeltacht, an Irish speaking area, on the eastern shore of windswept Fanad Peninsula, it’s little wonder that it is considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world. In addition, this area is regularly visited by creatures including whales, porpoises and dolphins. Fanad Lighthouse was proposed in response to a maritime tragedy, the wrecking of HMS Saldanha just in Lough Swilly. On the…

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Wreck of the MV Creteblock – North Yorkshire, England

Probably the name “Creteblock” seems rather strange for a vessel, but it’s extremely accurate for one that was essentially just a concrete block. Although concrete might at first seem to be a wholly impractical and rather cumbersome material to use in shipbuilding, in fact it makes a lot more sense than you might think. For boats over 7 meters long its often the cheapest and easiest material to employ. It doesn’t need a weatherproof coating and it won’t rust. Also a 10 meters, 8 ton displacement vessel made of wood…

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The beautiful old shipwrecks visible from sky above to crystal clear water of Lake Michigan

In these days of quarantine, in which nature seems to be reborn thanks to the forced interruption of human activities, many photographs circulating on the web of clear waters, or animals that reclaim spaces previously occupied by man. The images of wrecks that stand out distinctly on the bottom of Lake Michigan, in the United States, could seem to be taken these days, due to the extraordinary transparency of the water. Instead, each spring on this lake, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see shipwrecks due to the incredibly…

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Execution Rocks Lighthouse – New York

The solitary Execution Rocks Lighthouse in the Long Island Sound guards the way to mansions which inspired The Great Gatsby, but also hides a macabre history of murder. In the middle of Long Island Sound, equidistant from New Rochelle and Port Washington, stands the lighthouse built in the 1850s, when America was a British colony with a growing revolutionary spirit. Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The tiny rocky island on which it was constructed was known as the Execution…

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The New York City’s cemetery where ships go to die

As with the legendary elephants’ graveyard, ships go to die at Rossville on Staten Island, although this wasn’t always the original intent of the space. Squeezed between Staten Island and New Jersey is Arthur Kill waterway (“Kill” is merely a dutch word for “creek”, in this case not as creepy as it sounds) and the Witte Marine Equipment Company. Since the 1930s, the company would dredge, salvage, and resell materials from the wrecked and disused vessels of the New York and New Jersey waterways – the space originally being called…

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Macuti Lighthouse and Shipwreck – Mozambique

We are in Beira, Mozambique. Macuti Beach is along the main coast road between Beira city and the airport. If you find yourself there, a visit to the beach it’s well worth, to witness this unusual scene: the remains of an old shipwreck lying on the sand directly in front of a mysterious but quaint abandoned lighthouse. At high tide, only a few rusted bulkheads are visible above the breakers, but at low tide, you can walk or wade right through the wreckage. The red-and-white-striped Macuti Lighthouse (the beach is…

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Cemitério de Navios – The Angolan Ship Cemetery

We are in Angola. Sitting on the Western Coast of Africa, the port of Luanda is the capital and largest city in a nation that has been one of Africa’s most war-torn, with rival factions battling between 1962-2002. Founded by the Portuguese in 1575, the city has finally achieving peace in 2002 after a long civil war, and the country is just now beginning to recover. About a 30-minute drive north of Luanda there is an incredible sight: a barren beach with as many as 50 rusting ships on or…

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The charm of the SS Ayrfield, the ship-wreck transformed into a floating mangrove forest

Once cargo freighter and now a floating forest, the SS Ayrfield is a beautifully broken-down wreck, locked in Australia’s Homebush Bay probably for eternity. Once a center of industry, Homebush Bay was unfortunately contaminated with toxic waste and is now a commercial and residential suburb of Sydney. Before the 2000 Olympic Games, this place was a ship breaking zone, and the dozens of shipwrecks that still remain here, slowly rusting in its waters, are a constant reminder of its history. Once used to transport coal, oil, and war supplies, the…

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Mallow Bay: the largest fleet of sunken ships in the United States

If there were ever a place that could be described as a ship graveyard, it is the murky waters of Mallows Bay. The history of these maritime vessels in the U.S. is preserved in an unlikely place: at the bottom of a river! Here, nearly 200 military shipwrecks, dating as far back as the Revolutionary War and including ships from the Civil War and both World War I and World War II, were deliberately sunk over centuries, in an area of the Potomac River called Mallows Bay, in Maryland. At…

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