Is it still considered rubbernecking if the wreck happened a hundred years ago?
We, along with a heap of other curious Cape Codders, took a walk on Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet to see the wreckage of a schooner from the 1800's. They're not sure when it went down, or which ship it was (apparently they haven't found the black box yet).
The wreck had the good sense to wash up within the Cape Cod National Seashore, which means it will be protected. Sort of. I overheard some people talking about what would happen once the summer fire permits were doled out. Would someone mistake the wreck for firewood? I suspect they might. It's probably spectacularly seasoned and will make delicious toasted marshmallows.
More likely, there will be another big storm and it will get swept back into the ocean. The ocean's good like that. In fact, the ocean is likely to also scoop up the house on Ocean View Drive that had a "for sale" sign out front. We watched as some people with out-of-state license plates pulled over and picked up a brochure. Is there disclosure that the property is a ticking bomb? Every year, they lose a bit of the dune - in other words, the house becomes more and more ocean front every day. Until finally the ocean is no longer just in front of the house.
But back to the shipwreck. Suddenly it occurred to me, as I was cleaning my house today, that it is not every day one has the opportunity to see a 100 year old shipwreck. So I bundled up the kids and off we went.
Except it's never that easy. First I had to pitch it to the kids. Shipwreck! Oaken ribs! Shipping history!
No dice. So then it became a possible pirate ship. It went down in the huge waves near the Beachcomber, but lucky for the pirates, the Beachcomber was the Cahoon Hollow Lifesaving Station and the brave lifesavers saw the sinking ship and rowed their boats through gigantic waves to save the pirates! They were so brave! Everyone was safe! Even the one-legged parrot! And then the boat, which was a very beautiful schooner with lots of billowing pirate flags, went glub, glub glub.... never to be seen again. Until today.
The kids are in the car. I think they stopped listening at "Beachcomber," and they think we're going to eat chowder and bask in the sun instead of walking along the beach in every article of winter clothing we can find. But hey, if we wait until summer we might miss it completely. By then it will have been spirited away on moonless nights by locals - tiny piece by tiny piece and sold on eBay.
It's not much different from the way things were when the ship was still hauling cargo (except for the eBay part).