Home Pub Note Humans, the Ocean, and Shipwrecks: Our Inseparable Relationship with Our Past

Humans, the Ocean, and Shipwrecks: Our Inseparable Relationship with Our Past

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Shipwrecks connect us with our past

Studying shipwrecks can help us understand the past, connect us to our cultural heritage, and teach us lessons on how the environment and human error can damage each other. NOAA

We spend a majority of our lives pouring over historical books, text rich with the history of mankind, the lessons learned, the failures, the pains, and the joys of our existence. Our attempts to understand and decipher this history is important because it allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows us to better understand our present. Who and what we are today has been determined by the actions of our ancestors. Studying history can provide us with insight into our cultures of origin as well as cultures with which we might be less familiar, and understand our values, strengths, and weaknesses.

This month we pay homage to a number of vessels left alone in their silent underwater graves; some forgotten, some still waiting to be found, and some slowly breaking apart as their wooden planks settle in the silty substrate leaving behind metal broilers and cranes peeking out from underneath the barnacles, mussels, and silt reclaiming their space.

Humans, the ocean, and shipwrecks have always had an inseparable bond; ancient travelers discovered fast and easy ways to find food and discover new worlds, goods and people were carted across shipping lanes and all too often on voyages across the unforgiving expanse of the ocean. Despite all positive intentions, good workmanship, and man’s innate drive to conquer nature, many ships failed their voyages; their lives cut short. Every ship has a tale, a record of their being, their purpose, and their fate. These shipwrecks are a window into part of humankind’s relationship with the ocean.

History matters. Each tale is part of a larger story woven together to paint our collective history. History is essential.

Selene Muldowney