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Get Into Your Sanctuary!

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This summer, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) invites you to Get Into Your Sanctuary! Come celebrate with us and learn what makes this network of underwater parks, encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, so special.

The sanctuary system includes 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papah?naumoku?kea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments that span from Washington state to the Florida Keys and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. Each sanctuary offers a variety of recreational activities, as well as opportunities to learn about our ocean and the life that lives within.

From May to August, events will be held at each sanctuary and you are invited to attend! On May 19-20, sanctuaries along the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and in Lake Huron will host events and activities at their sites, and on August 4-5, the West Coast and Pacific Islands will do the same. Be sure to visit ONMS's website to find the sanctuary closest to you and for a list of events and activities.

With the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary located 16 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 240 feet of water, it is not easy to get into, but don't worry, we will bring the sanctuary to you. On May 19, stop by our tent located on the Noland Trail at The Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. Meet the staff and learn about the iconic ironclad, USS Monitor, and what we do to protect and conserve its legacy. Be sure to also ask about the work we do to document and survey World War II shipwrecks located off the North Carolina coast. And don't go home without your Monitor model, brochure, and 3-D glasses!

We hope that throughout the summer, you will visit as many sanctuaries as you can!  For more information, contact David Alberg

North Carolina - Where the War Came Home

Just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, German submarines began patrolling U.S. waters off the East Coast, thus bringing the Battle of the Atlantic home to our shores. On January 18, 1942, a steam tanker, Allan Jackson, was torpedoed by a German U-boat, U-66, and sank 60 miles east-northeast of Diamond Shoals, North Carolina. It was the first ship sunk by a German U-boat off North Carolina's coast, but it would not be the last. Over the next six months, dozens of Allied and merchant vessels, along with four U-boats, sank off coastal North Carolina, making the area truly, where the war came home to the United States.

More than any other place in the United States, coastal North Carolina serves as a uniquely accessible underwater museum and memorial to our nation's rich maritime history. Since 2008, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and partners have documented and surveyed this unique collection of World War II Allied and Axis vessels. Over the next six months, we will highlight these shipwrecks on the 75th anniversary of their sinking. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and/or visit our shipwreck webpages to learn more about this magnificent collection of shipwrecks.

CBS Sunday Morning Airs Documentary on Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

first dive on J-576
First dive on the U-576. Photo: McCord, UNC Coastal Studies Institute/NOAA

On July 15, 1942, America had been in World War II for less than a year, but the fight had already come to the nation's shores with U-boat attacks along the East Coast. On that particular day, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the German U-boat U-576 sank the Nicaraguan-flagged freighter SS Bluefields in what is known as the Battle of KS-520.

For over seven decades, the location of these two ships remained unknown, until 2014 when NOAA confirmed their location. U-576 and SS Bluefields rest about 35 miles off Cape Hatteras, just 240 yards apart in about 700 feet of water. In August 2016, NOAA and partners used 2-person submersibles, provided by Project Baseline, to take the first look at these two vessels in over 74 years.

CBS Sunday Morning joined the expedition and produced a six-minute documentary on the expedition. To watch the video or read the transcript, visit CBS Sunday Morning.

To learn more about the expedition, read the expedition blogs or view the images, video and laser scans, visit OER's website.

New Monitor Trail Signs In Newport News, Virginia

On March 8th, three new Monitor Trail signs were dedicated in commemoration of the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads. The new signs are located at the Monitor - Merrimac Overlook Park in Newport News, Virginia. For more information, contact Tane Casserley.

Battle of Hampton Roads wayside signs
Three new wayside signs dedicated commemorating the Battle of Hampton Roads. Photo: NOAA


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