Since we were there so often, we quickly developed a list of favorite haunts. Frozen coke on the boardwalk. Uncle Bill’s Pancakes for breakfast. George’s for the best chicken salad and most gigantic cinnamon rolls known to mankind. A trip to Sunset Beach to find shark’s teeth and “Cape May diamonds.” And a visit to the concrete ship.
When the kids and I took a day trip to Cape May last Spring, I took them to a few of those places. Some, unfortunately, were not open yet for the season. But the concrete ship at Sunset Beach? A must.
The critical shortage of steel during World War I is what prompted the building of twelve concrete ships. Originally launched in 1918, the concrete ship S.S. Atlantus actually *did* float and was used as a coal steamer. Eventually she was pulled out of commission, because her weight made her go really slow. No surprise there.
After she ceased being a “working” ship, she was brought to Cape May to be used as a loading dock for a ferry service, but her moorings broke before she could be properly placed there.
And every year, since she’s made from concrete, the Atlantus sinks deeper and deeper into the sand. It’s amazing to see just how far she’s sunk since we first started going there some 30 years ago. Wish I had pictures from back then!