Outer Banks shipwreck-turned-local-attraction defaced

Belle on the beach in May 2019. [Kari Pugh photo]

If you’ve never made it out to the wreck of the sailboat “Belle” at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, there’s less to see now.

Outer Banks photographer Wesley Snyder, a frequent visitor to the remains of the 30-foot sailboat on the beach between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe, arrived Tuesday morning to find the familiar “Belle” on the boat’s transom gone.

A man from Fredericksburg, Virginia, posted on a Facebook group about another local shipwreck, the Ocean Pursuit, that he took the name from Belle, but has since removed the post. OBXToday sent a Facebook message to the man, who did not reply.

Screenshot of a post a post about the removal of the name.

Snyder’s discovery prompted an outcry on his photography Facebook page – Wes Snyder Photography – with people calling for the offender to be prosecuted.

It’s so far unclear if any laws were broken. Cape Hatteras National Seashore spokesman Mike Barber said jurisdiction at the Pea Island refuge falls under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Belle has been a local attraction on Pea Island since it wrecked in 2013. The sailboat is said to be a salvage from Hurricane Sandy and was being towed solo when both boats ran aground. The other was cut up and hauled away, but Belle has remained on the beach since.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.