A Drone Exploring Civil War Shipwrecks in the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' Is Oddly Relaxing to Watch

The hulking remains of doomed battleships now serve as a home for wildlife.

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Image for article titled A Drone Exploring Civil War Shipwrecks in the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' Is Oddly Relaxing to Watch
Photo: NOAA

Relaxation, learning about history, and deep sea exploration don’t normally mix, but this livestream of a drone exploring shipwrecked vessels somehow manages the feat. There’s just something so soothing about watching fish go about their business while roaming the giant, rusting hulks of sunken warships.

The Global Foundation for Ocean Exploration, along with NOAA’s Office of National Marine and Aviation Operations and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, partnered up to send a batch of remotely-operated underwater vehicles to some of the most interesting wrecks in the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of North Carolina. From May 15 to the 25, scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster will be poking around the heaping wrecks, checking for signs of degradation and tallying up wildlife along the way.

A few of the expeditions have been delayed this week due to high winds and rough surf, but it’s worth watching the previously-recorded dives from the last few days:

The first wreck the team visited was that of the USS Monitor, a Civil War-era ship that sank 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina in 1862. NOAA designated the wreck as the nation’s first national marine sanctuary in 1975. Since then, the Sanctuary network has grown to encompass 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington State to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa.


But it’s not just the Monitor that will take center stage over the next week or so. The highest concentration of WWII shipwrecks anywhere in the U.S. is located in Monitor National Marine Sanctuary; ships from World War I will also be seen. Since the founding of the first English colony in Roanoke, North Carolina in 1585, ships have been sinking in the treacherous waters off that state’s coast. Over 2,000 shipwrecks litter the waters around the Outer Banks region. The constantly shifting sands of the the Diamond Shoals earned this spot the nickname of the Graveyard of the Atlantic — a graveyard we can now explore from the comfort of home.