Hope Sutton, stewardship coordinator for the N.C. Coastal Reserve (Division of Coastal Management) said she doesn’t know a whole lot about the cars, or rather what’s left of them, on the south end of Masonboro Island near Carolina Beach Inlet.
They began showing up over the past few years after wind and water moved the sand around. Some of the car frames even have the tires still attached.
A Wilmington native, however, thinks he knows why they’re there.
Ed Letendre said that years ago when mullet fishing was popular, people used seine nets to catch large amounts of the fish. A boat would haul one end of the net “way out,” he said, circle back around and come back to the island creating a purse with all the fish inside. Then fishermen would attach the ends of the net to mules (or later, cars and tractors) to bring the fish all the way in. Before refrigeration, the mullet would be salted and sold all up and down the East Coast.
That’s one theory.
The theory is that surf fishermen brought the cars there. If they saw seagulls dropping down to catch fish, the cars would get the fishermen to the good spots before the fish went away.
But how did the cars get to Masonboro in the first place?
Sutton said her group has been talking for some time about removing the old car chassis and other large debris on the island.
“That requires a local (funding) match and all the pieces haven’t come together yet,” she said. “To get some of the large things off the island is going to take a large barge and maybe a large front end loader.”
And that will cost quite a bit of money.
“Luckily it’s on sand. It’s not on marsh, so it’s doing the least amount of damage it could be doing,” she said.
Date posted: September 22, 2010
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