In preparation for an upcoming trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I picked up this moldy tome to familiarize myself with the region’s charms. Unfortunately, Stick’s book is an unabashedly boring catalog of shipwrecks, one right after the other, with so many similar details that it resembles Groundhog Day, where I felt I was reading about the same shipwreck over and over and over.
Example: “Ship name” has a tearful farewell at port, but sails out on an auspiciously beautiful day. Soon, the ship finds herself caught in a storm, and landed upon a sandbar near Cape Fear. Water pours into the hold. The ship tears apart. The single lifeboat doesn’t hold all 200 people on board. Men are swept overdeck/hang in the rigging. Women and children perish. The “bankers” divvy up the treasures that land on shore in an auction.
I suppose the one and only thing I learned was that this region got a lot of shipping traffic despite its dangerous waters because it is the confluence of the Gulf Stream and the southerly stream from the Arctic. In other words, a watery superhighway that sailors used to take weeks or months off their journey.
The ink drawings are also quite nice, drawn by the author’s father who took “time out from his busy schedule to do the fine pen and ink drawings that enliven the accounts.”
sub=Shipwrecks of the North Carolina Coast