Located 300 km east-southeast of Halifax are the
crescent-shaped, shifting sand dunes of Sable Island.
Home of the wild
Sable Island ponies with the long, flowing manes and
tails, it has also been a temporary home for shipwrecked sailors, en
route convicts, and pirates brought there inadvertently by the
legendary gales that blow around the island. Sunken ships, the
victims of these storms, litter the surrounding ocean floor, giving
the island its reputation as "the Graveyard of the North Atlantic."
Sable Island's history is filled with mystery,
intrigue, pirates, wreckers, and lost treasures of gold and silver.
Since its discovery almost 500 years ago, it is believed this
treacherous sand dune has trapped and destroyed more than 500
vessels and killed more than ten thousand men. There have been over
200 known wrecks on Sable Island since 1800.
It is not the biggest sand dune in the world, but it
certainly is the most dangerous. It
is here that the Labrador current meets the warm gulf stream
creating the fogs that give all sailors nightmares. Although the
island is charted on most maps it is not clearly defined because it
is elusive and constantly shifting, it has been called the world's
fastest moving island. The island is 20 miles long; one mile wide;
and in some places 85 feet high. In addition to the visible portion,
sandbars extend out about 17 miles on either end. Where sand dunes
are visible one day, you find clear ocean the next. Fierce ocean
currents sweep around the island causing this peculiar shifting of
sand that constantly changes the contours. Inland the soft sand
makes travelling laboriously slow, except when using motor vehicles
with very large balloon tires. Occasionally old wrecks emerge from
the deep during a severe storm, only to sink to obscurity again. Its
maximum width is 1.5 kilometers and the highest dunes approach
thirty meters. The north beach is steep and narrow, whereas the
south beach is wide and flat. Beach grass dominates and stabilized
the dunes. Between the dunes are
depressions usually filled with freshwater and supporting a variety
of aquatic plants. These small ponds are most numerous near the west
end. A ten-kilometre-long salt water lake is located on the
south beach about midway along the island.
There are approximately three hundred Sable Island
horses living wild on the island. They were introduced by Rev.
Andrew LeMercier, a French Huguenot priest from Boston attempting to
colonize the island in 1738.
The will be more information in the next little
while about shipwrecks and TREASURE!!!
Click the image at left to view the "known" wrecks at
Sable Island since 1583.