On January 17, 1891, a Norwegian steamship, Banan, stranded on the beach about two miles south of the Currituck Lighthouse. The steamship had been full speed astern for a couple of minutes before landing as the crew tried to keep her from striking land but the foggy conditions and rough waters prevented their success. After continuing to try for about another half hour to reverse the vessel, Captain Hansen realized it would be to no avail to continue to work to free the vessel as the weather continued to deteriorate so five flares were fired signaling assistance was needed. Within thirty minutes of the final flare, the fog lifted just enough for the sailors to see a surf boat on shore preparing to launch. Shortly after, Keeper Andrew Scarborough and the crew from the Whales Head Lifesaving Station (originally known as Jones Hill) came alongside the steamship. Carefully, Captain Hansen’s wife and several sailors were transferred to the surf boat to be taken to shore. About an hour later, the Whales Head crew returned to transport the final sailors who wished to leave the vessel to shore. Several chose to stay onboard to ride out the weather. The following day, the surf boat made multiple trips to transport those who had come to shore back to the steamship. It was reported to Captain Hansen by those who had left the vessel they were treated with the utmost kindness and respect. As his way of saying thanks, he wrote a letter to the General Superintendent’s office sharing the events of that foggy day and commending the Whales Head crew for their admirable work in handling the surf boat for multiple trips in the rough waters. He also expressed his gratitude for how his wife and crew were treated when out of his care.

All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s about going the extra mile: During a storm on September 9, 1888, a small sloop broke from her moorings, capsized and sunk. The following day, the Caffey’s Inlet LifeSaving Station crew successfully raised her so her master could make repairs.