Summer Guide Cape Cod

Summer Guide Cape Cod 2021

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Page 94 of 131 93 The Whydah Galley One of the most fascinating, significant ship- wrecks off Cape Cod belongs to the Whydah Galley. Led by the pirate Samuel Bellamy "Black Sam", the Whydah was wrecked off of Well- fleet in 1717. Meredith Katz, Manager of the Whydah Pirate Museum, explains the local folklore behind Bel- lamy's fate in Wellfleet: "Samuel Bellamy met a woman in Wellfleet before he took over the ship. Her name was Maria Hallett; but her par- ents wouldn't let him marry her because he was poor. So, he left for Florida to investigate a ship- wreck, explored it and then became a pirate. He became very successful, teaming up with other pirates in the area. Within a year, he was on his way back to get Maria to then go up to Maine." Then, on April 26, 1717, there was a terrible nor'easter, according to Katz. Bellamy's ship hit a sandbar, capsized and fell apart at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. Only two crew members survived; and the ship's treasures including silver and gold were lost to the ocean -- all in a quest to help Bellamy get back his true love. Visitors can enjoy an immersive experience and learn more about the Whydah shipwreck that was discovered in 1984 by Barry Clifford at the Whydah Pirate Museum, located at 674 MA-28 in West Yarmouth. "The first thing you see when you come into the museum is the ship's bell," said Katz. "The ship's bell served as confirmation of the Whydah shipwreck, so it's pretty significant." Katz men- tioned that the Whydah Pirate Museum houses thousands of artifacts, including the ship's an- chor and a replica ship where visitors can hop aboard and experience what life was like aboard a pirate ship. One of the most popular museum attractions, according to Katz, is the active lab where an archaeologist is working while visitors watch. Museum attendees have the opportu- nity to ask the archaeologists questions and talk to them about their experiences. Online reservations are encouraged for those looking to visit the Whydah Pirate Museum, which is great for both children and adults alike looking to learn more about pirates, shipwrecks and the history of Cape Cod overall. USS Merrimack The USS Merrimack was the first ship belong- ing to the U.S. Navy to be named for the Mer- rimack River. Launched in 1798, the USS Mer- rimack battled in the Quasi-War, an undeclared war between the U.S. and the French Republic from 1798 to 1800. After the ship served in the Navy, it was then sold to become a merchant vessel and renamed Monticello. It was during this time as the Monticello that the ship was wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. USS Bancroft Named after American historian and diplo- mat George Bancroft, the USS Bancroft was launched in 1919, staying in reserve until the start of World War II. The ship was then trans- ferred to the Canadian Navy and renamed HMCS St. Francis. During wartime, the ship served as an escort for convoys in the Battle of the Atlantic. When the war was over, the ship was on its way to Baltimore to be scrapped when a collision unexpectedly sunk the ship off the coast of Cape Cod. U.S. Navy Destroyer USS Bancroft (DD-256) circa 1940 Paul Palmer Built in 1902 in Maine, the Paul Palmer was used for coal trade throughout New England. On June 15, 1913, the schooner left Rockport, Maine, intending to land in Newport News, Vir- ginia. However, the Paul Palmer unexpectedly caught fire and sank during the voyage. The 11 passengers and crew aboard were saved Whydah Pirate Museum features a replica ship. Photo courtesy of Whydah Pirate Museum Official U.S. Navy photo NH 70865

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