The Ea is a 298 foot long freighter and is resting in 30 feet of water. It is about 18 miles southeast of the Beaufort Inlet. The bow is pointed up toward the surface and is about 20 feet from the surface. The engine is the only relief on the stern. The sand around the shoals has a tendency to shift with the currents causing the amount of the wreck exposed to change. At times, only the bow is visible, but sometimes the propeller shaft and some of the blades of the propeller can be visible.
During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Because it is close to the shoals, visibility averages 20 feet, but can get up to 40-50 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, triggerfish, sea bass, and spadefish frequent his wreck. Moderate currents are common to this wreck.
The Ea was originally named the Cambay. Originally built in England, the Ea was operated out of Spain. Carrying a cargo of phosphate rock and resin, the Ea left Fernandina, Florida and was headed north toward New York. The voyage had been uneventful until March 15, 1902 as she was nearing Cape Lookout in a dense fog. The Ea was at the tip of the shoals when she ran aground. The sea was calm and flat as Captain W. V. Garry gave the order for full astern, but the Ea didn't budge. They tried again at high tide, but the results were the same.
The Cape Lookout Life Saving Station didn't spot the Ea until that afternoon because of the mist that still lingered in the air. The seas had lost its flatness and calm and started to come to life. The men of the Life Saving Station started rowing the six miles out to the Ea but the fog was obscuring their view. When they reached the edge of the shoal, they couldn't find the Ea. Captain Gaskill, in charge of the Cape Lookout Life Saving Station, kept the men rowing until after midnight. With the search yielding no results, they returned to the station, exhausted and frustrated because of the unsuccessful rescue.
The next day, the revenue cutter Algonquin and the salvage tugs Alexander Jones and I. J. Merritt arrived to assist the Ea off of the shoals. The seas had gotten rougher through the night and the Ea was surrounded for several hundred yards by high breakers that kept everyone away. The men at the Life Saving Station and crews aboard the ships stood by waiting for a chance for the seas to let up so they could rescue the crew of the Ea. The Ea was being pounded by the waves.
On March 17, 1902, the gale was still blowing and the seas were still pounding the Ea. The water tanks had ruptured during the night and now the crew was without any drinking water. Even though the seas were still breaking around the Ea, the Algonquin and the Alexander Jones were still trying to reach them. The men at the Life Saving Station had launched a boat and were standing by in the hopes that the breakers subside enough to allow them to get to the Ea. To help the men save their strength, the Alexander Jones towed the boat as close as possible to the Ea.
By that afternoon, the Ea had been broken completely apart and all but one of the lifeboats had been crushed by the pounding waves. The waves were washing across the decks and carrying away any item that wasn't secured. To get away from the waves, the crew was huddled on top of the bridge.
The next morning, the wind had shifted from the north and even though the ocean still had breakers, the Ea was blocking the wind and it was decided to lower the last remaining lifeboat. The lifeboat was loaded with 14 or 17 men and lowered over the side and the men pulled on the oars until they were safely away from the Ea. Seeing that rescue was now possible, the Algonquin lowered a boat and sent it to rescue the remaining crew. The Algonquin picked up the men from the remaining lifeboat of the Ea and then retrieved their boat with the remaining crew. All 27 crewmen were taken to Morehead City.
Shortly after the men were rescued, the remains of the Ea broke apart and settled below the waves. 2,500 barrels of resin, 2,500 tons of phosphate rock, and the ship's dog, Tiger, were lost.