Studying the Wrecks of Stellwagen Bank

The 105-foot long Joffre shipwreck rests within NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Built by an Essex, Mass., shipbuilder, the Joffre was launched as a schooner in 1918. Credit: NOAA/NURC-UConn About a million people a year head out on Massachusetts Bay for whale-watching cruises, according to Deborah Marx of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Joffre, NOAA/NURC-UConn.

The stretch of ocean from Cape Ann to the tip of Cape Cod is especially rich with marine life due in large part to Stellwagen Bank, an underwater plateau formed during the Ice Age, now designated a National Marine Sanctuary.

While on the water, whale-watch guides often introduce passengers to another intriguing feature of Stellwagen Bank: It is a burial ground for dozens of ships that have sunk there over the years.

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