Back in 2005, I was working on my doctoral degree at the University of Delaware. One of the courses that I was taking was Advanced Web Design. A part of that course was developing a website using what I was learning in the course. I had to come up with an idea for a website. At the time, we had just returned home from our usual vacation in the Outer Banks. In hand that year I had the laminated copy of the map that was featured in the September 1969 issue of National Geographic. I thought this would be a good topic to cover and develop a website around the idea of sunken ships off the coast of North Carolina.
I began to gather information through several books and websites. I started to develop the website and built my first version of the Sunken Ships of OBX. I was even featured at a School of Education open house featuring web development. I remember people coming up to me and asking me how I found the time to build this site. To me it was simple, I was really into it and was so fascinated about the topic.
Well, after a few years I got busy with other things and just left the site untouched. When I switched web hosting providers, I simply just threw it onto the next server without any changes. Over the course of time, it just sat there like an old dusty book. When I first built the site I had numerous flash animations running on the site.
More than 5,000 ships have sunk in these waters since record keeping began in 1526.Valerie J. Grussing, 2009 from her dissertation, Reanimating the Graveyard: Heritage Tourism Development of North Carolina Shipwrecks
So there it sat, years past and I kept the website up but never updated it. I received my doctorate degree in January 2009 and told myself that I'd get back to it. I then went from being the Technology Coordinator to returning to the classroom as a social studies teacher. All of my tech time was spent on building web-based activities for my classroom. As the years rolled by I would tell myself, "I'll work on it in the summer..." Summers past and there it still sat. I then decided that I would retire from teaching in June of 2019. In my retirement, I swore I'd get back to working on the website. However, we decided that we'd relocate once my wife retired, so my attention turned to getting the house ready to put up for sale.
Now that we've relocated to Florida and have settled into our new home, I've taken up the torch again and now have begun to update and continue to add to the site As I started again I decided I'd first complete the ships that were sunk during WWII. I've been able to get a listing of some of the crew members of the lost ships, mostly thanks to uboat.net. I guess the thing that struck me the most was on each ship I talk about, how much history has been lost over the years as people past away. When I first started this website, occasionally I'd get an email from someone who had a relative who was on one of the sunken ships. Now it is as if those ghosts of the past have slowly faded away and the stories of their lives have gone down with the ships that were lost.
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