- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2019

Cannonballs from the Civil War. A bottle of human remains. Bricks of smuggled cocaine.

Media reports have noted a raft of curious items washing ashore in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, and officials along the East Coast are warning beachgoers to avoid contact with the potentially dangerous objects.

As the Category 2 storm scraped along the Eastern Seaboard last week, it churned up a variety of debris and detritus — some of which have made for interesting stories.

On Folly Beach in South Carolina, a local resident discovered two cannonballs in an area that had been the site of significant combat during the Civil War.

“I thought it was rock, but when I started to dig around it, it was very round. We were kind of joking around, like, maybe it’s a cannonball or a sea mine or something like that,” Aaron Lattin told ABC News affiliate WCIV-TV in Charleston about what he found recently while wandering the beach with his girlfriend.

On Cumberland Island in Georgia, a woman found a bottle of human ashes with a curious note inside, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The note reads: “Please don’t open me, my ashes are on a journey. I started at Cumberland Island, so if you see me ashore, please snap a picture, email it & throw me back so I can travel some more.”

The note was signed Nancy Gantt Swanson, according to the Observer.

And news outlets in Florida have reported that authorities have confiscated 26 kilos (about 57 pounds) of cocaine that appeared to be part of a smuggling operation.

Wrapped bricks of cocaine, which have a street value of roughly $1 million, were discovered on Melbourne and Cocoa beaches during the early stages of the hurricane, Florida media reported.

The National Park Service has been slowly reopening facilities on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which was flooded in a 7-foot storm surge, according to the News and Observer.

Park Service officials are warning visitors to remain vigilant about debris and “buried items” that might have washed ashore.

A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for non-residents of one of the Outer Banks most remote islands, Ocracoke, which is reachable only by a two-hour ferry ride.

Ocracoke residents are struggling to find temporary lodging, and there is no electricity for about half of the island, according to local business owners.

“People have no place to stay and no power. It is the worst flooding we’ve ever seen,” Shellie Gunter, manager of the Ocracoke Sand Dollar Motel, told The Washington Times.

Meanwhile, some beach erosion/prevention projects along the East Coast have seen success in the storm’s aftermath.

Citing a report by Virginian-Pilot, The Associated Press reported that a portion of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, which was in the midst of a $22.6 million sand replenishment project, appeared to suffer only “minor” damage during the storm.

And a recently completed $45 million beach renourishment project by the Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Garden City Beach in South Carolina also appears to have prevented significant sand loss, MyrtleBeachOnline.com reported.

The project was a Federal Emergency Management-funded initiative that stemmed from damage during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Dan Boylan can be reached at dboylan@washingtontimes.com.

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