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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

01 January 2016

❖ WRECKS ❖ SHIPS A-B (12) ❖ ❖

Wrecks Log for Vessels A-B
(12 vessels) Work in progress

Cropped photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
Some of the vessels to be listed here were lost far from our geographical area. The boats were often built, but certainly maintained, and known intimately by pioneer owners, builders, and sailors, in the upper corner of the PNW. Locals traveled on them as passengers, shipped out freight, or were hired as trained officers, engineers, and crew. Often, as you will see, not everyone came home. Some of the intimate stories, as found, should be recorded in our archives.

Owner: Pacific Steamship Company
Captain: C. C. Graham.
Wrecked 15 February 1930.
Site: Peacock Spit, WA.
Wrecked 15 February 1930
Peacock Spit, WA.
Photograph by Charley Fitzpatrick of North Beach.

From the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

"What was first reported on 15 February 1930 as a minor stranding turned out to be a major steamship disaster.
      With thirty-nine passengers, sixty-five crew members, and a cargo of citrus fruits and general freight, the liner ADMIRAL BENSON, of the Pacific Steamship Co., stranded on the sands at Buoy No. 6, near Peacock Spit. It was 6:45 pm and the vessel was inbound for Portland, OR when she shoved her nose on the spit in the foggy channel entrance. The stranding appeared so minor that Captain C. C. Graham did not send out an urgent appeal for help, but asked assistance only. The USCG cutter REDWING was ordered out to stand by the BENSON, but her boilers were cold and she was unable to leave from Astoria until several hours later. The freighter NEVADA also received the call for assistance and stood by the liner while the Coast Guard lifeboats from Point Adams and Cape Disappointment handled the evacuation of passengers. Many of the tourists were compelled to slide down wet ropes to the rescue craft.
      By noon on 17 February, most of the passengers had been removed and all efforts were directed towards saving the crew who had remained with the ship hoping to refloat her. The situation appeared less hopeful as a high wind approached and kicked up a nasty surf. By 9:06 am the following morning the five remaining passengers were taken off, followed by the steward's staff and the ship's orchestra.
      The wreck was located 400 yards west of the north jetty directly in view of the remains of the LAUREL, which served as a grim reminder to those still aboard the liner.
Photo by Wesley Andrews
from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
      The following day, Captain Graham watched the last of the crew go ashore by breeches buoy, and he alone remained aboard the vessel. The holds had been pumped full of water to keep the ship from pounding, but when a 40-mph gale arose, the BENSON was given a salt bath by mountainous breakers. On the morning of 20 February, the riveting began to pull loose and the ship showed signs of breaking up. The decks cracked, the engine room was flooded and the surplus water saturated the cargo in the holds.
      On 21 February, the redoubtable captain was still aboard, his spirits warmed by the friendly bonfire that was kept burning night and day at Cape Disappointment. It wasn't until four days later that Graham abandoned his vigil, and signaled the Coast Guard for assistance.
      A line had been made fast between the wreck and the shore and the ship's master began an arduous journey through the air on a lifesaving conveyance.
      The passengers and crew had been landed at Astoria and each had a version of the disaster. Several agreed that the wreck of the LAUREL had been mistaken for a range buoy, which may have misled the liner to the spit in the fog. Though the loss of the BENSON was attributed by some to faulty navigation, existing conditions on the Columbia bar can be confusing to the most experienced navigators.
      Ten days later the captain comes ashore in the breeches buoy.
      The first passenger to be evacuated was Mrs. A. B. Reynolds of Portland, who rode a breeches buoy placed on a line between ship and shore by the Coast Guard. She had a hectic trip, swallowed plenty of salt water, and lost her new hat. It was then that boats were used to evacuate passengers. But the Reynolds woman was a good sport and in spite of all said, 'I always did want to ride in one of those things.'
      After the captain was evacuated, a salvage crew using Coast Guard lines, ran a tram gear to the wreck and removed some of the cargo which was trucked to Astoria.
      Though the BENSON was sucked into the sand stern first, part of her bow was still visible at extreme low tide two decades after her loss".
Text by James A. Gibbs, Jr.
Pacific Graveyard
Courtesy of Oregon Historical Society
Binfords & Mort, 1950

431 G.t./399 N.t., 151.5' x 35' x 12.6' Schooner
Blt. 1901, Northbend, OR., by and for Simpson Lumber Co. 
Wrecked on Coos Bay Bar
16 Feb. 1913
All hands saved.
ADVENT, two days after her wreck.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Reduced to kindling, the schooner ADVENT is seen after being wrecked on the bar 16 Feb. 1913. The wind failed as she attempted to cross the bar. Grounding on the spit, no tug in the area was powerful enough to get her free and the above was the result after the eight-man crew was removed.
Disaster Log of Ships, Gibbs, Jim. Bonanza.
Wrecked 15 Jan. 1909
Capt. Aubert
Ocean Park, WA.
Loss of Life: none.
ALICE, wrecked 15 January 1909
Postcards from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
The French ship, ALICE, 2,509 tons, driven ashore in a gale one mile north of Ocean Park, at 4:10 am 15 January 1909. The crew was rescued but the ship proved a total loss. She was bound for Portland from London with 3,000 tons of cement consigned to Hind, Rolph & Co. She was commanded by Capt. Aubert, 176 days at sea via Hobart, when misfortune overtook her. 
      A boy, Willie Taylor, discovered the wreck when attracted to the ocean ridge by the persistent barking of his dog who itself was a shipwreck victim of the schooner SOLANO (1907). Willie spread the word and Capt. Conick of the Klipsan Lifesaving Station got his horses hitched to the surf boat and wagon. The adverse weather and soft sand made the horses balky and after a mile they all but quit. Conick and his crew then took out through the surf and arrived at the after the ALICE's crew had come ashore in their own boats. The wreck was lying head onto the beach, 300-yards offshore, her fore and main top-gallant masts gone, her lower topsails and foresail in tatters, listing heavy to starboard and settling by the bow. The seas were washing completely over her, and it was four days before the ship could again be approached. The ALICE was built at Bordeaux, France, 1901, and was one of the largest French vessels in operation to the Columbia. A vestige of the wreck was still visible in 1950, at extreme low tide. The last of her three masts tumbled into the sea in 1930.
Pacific Graveyard. James A. Gibbs, Jr.
Binfords & Mort, Portland, 1950.

ON 107346
Blt. 1898, Seattle, WA.
Capt. Charles Kalstrom
Lost 1907, Clallam Reef.
No loss of life.
Crew leaving ALICE GERTRUDE wreck.
Original photo postcard postmarked 1907.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©.
"The passenger steamer/freight boat was built in 1898 in Seattle for the Thompson Steamboat Company for use on the Neah Bay route.
      She was 145' with a 500-HP fore-and-aft compound engine.
      On 11 January 1907 with Captain Charles Kalstrom at the helm, she was wrecked on Clallam Reef while attempting to enter Clallam Bay. There was a blinding snowstorm when she hit at 10:15 pm. Passengers and crew stayed on board until the next day when tugs LORNE and WYADDA removed the people whereupon they were returned to Pt. Angeles on the steamer ROSALIE. Only the boiler and engine were saved."
Text from: H.W. McCurdy's Maritime History of the Pacific Northwest.

Blt Bath, Maine in 1884.
Capt. C. L. McGregor.
Lost 1 Nov. 1917.
Site: 26-mi SW of Juneau
Owner: Pacific Coast Steamship Co. 
Text by E.R. Carboneau.

Wreck of the AL-KI
 Pt. Augusta, AK., dated 2 Nov. 1917
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©.
"The AL-KI carried freight and passengers from Seattle to Alaskan ports, mines, and canneries. In October 1917 she had stopped at Prince Rupert, Ketchikan, and Juneau. The first of November the AL-KI left Juneau for Sitka; on board were 12 women passengers, 16 YMCA boys planning work in the cannery, and a crew of 44.
Two crew members, friends of the writer, were Orrie 'Bob' Noble, an art teacher in Seattle and Mr. Chittenden, 1st Officer, son of Chief Engineer Chittenden, builder of the Ballard Locks.
      Leaving Juneau, the AL-KI ran into a blinding snowstorm and ran aground on Point Augusta, Chichagof Island, 1 November 1917. Although she soon developed a 45-degree list, the chicken dinner was served to all hands. As the tide receded the AL-KI broke in the middle and the removal of passengers became necessary. A boom was lowered and the ladies slid along this to drop into dories alongside. This had to be timed with the swells in order to reduce the fall, mattresses were placed in the dories, and no injuries resulted.
      Passengers were taken to Indian fish boats and purse seiners standing by. When personal baggage had been removed, the captain told Indians to take what they wanted from the ship.
      The next day a US cable ship out of Juneau took passengers and crew back to Juneau where they boarded the CPR PRINCESS SOPHIA to Vancouver, BC.
The Sea Chest, March 1974
Courtesy of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society
Interesting note:
When the AL-KI stranded at Point Augusta, AK on 1 Nov. 1917, a bizarre series of events brought her back into public notice, the particulars of which add a feeling of true legend to her already colorful history.
      When the AL-KI stranded, the crew was picked up by the steamer MARIPOSA. Soon after the vessel left the scene, another vessel, the halibut steamer MANHATTAN, came upon the wreck and took it upon themselves to claim anything of use or value as their own. Unfortunately, the MANHATTAN herself ran into trouble a few days later, and her crew was forced to abandon ship, coincidentally onto the same vessel, the MARIPOSA that had taken in the crew of the AL-KI. The MANHATTAN's crew were taken to Juneau and promptly arrested for looting the AL-KI. In a final twist of fate, the MARIPOSA which had brought in the crews from both lost vessels struck a reef and was lost on the next voyage. Source: Alaska Shipwrecks/June 2013.

Lost 4 Nov. 1949
Broke in two on 10 Nov. 1949.
Capt. George Lemos
Owner: Triton Shipping Co of N.Y.
Under Panamanian registry.
Stranded and lost Nov. 1949,
Nr. Neah Bay, WA Coast.

Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
 Local fishermen and beachcombers reaped another bountiful harvest when the steel steamship ANDALUCIA, stranded on a pinnacle rock four miles east of Neah Bay at the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. Andalucia was outward bound from Vancouver with a 5,000,000-ft lumber cargo when, when a fire broke out in the engine room. Her officers were attempting to reach shallow water to ground her when she struck the offshore rock. The vessel stranded, and the fire was extinguished, but 6 days later the constant working of the swells caused her to break in two just forward of the funnel. The captain and the entire crew were removed by the Coast Guard. A portion of the cargo was removed to barges before the after section sank and the forward portion was abandoned. H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the P.N.W. Newell, Gordon, editor. Seattle; Superior Publishing. 1966.

Sank, Tacoma, WA.
17 Jan. 1899
Capt. G. W. Staling
Lost: All hands
Photographer, Hester ?
"The most appalling marine disaster that has ever occurred in the history of Tacoma happened early this morning. During a terrific gale which swept over Puget Sound, the British ship ANDELANA, anchored in this port, awaiting cargo, capsized, and Captain G. W. Staling and his crew of 16 men, who were asleep below decks, were dragged down to a sailor's death without an instant's warning. The full list of those lost is as follows:
Capt. G. W. Staling, Annapolis, Nova Scotia; E. H. Crowe, aged 39, Londonderry, N.S., first mate; E. G. Doe, aged 33 years, Blackpool, Eng; Nemey Jossalin, Victoria, B. C., steward; Jsph M. A. D'Holyere, Ostend, Belgium, apprentice; Richard Reginald Hanze, Ostend, Belgium, apprentice; Charles Smith, US, boatswain; James Daly, New York, boatswain; J. R. Brown, Barbadoes, cook; H. Hacason,  Sweden, able seaman; Antone Jensen, Denmark, seaman; John Nielson, Norway, seaman; E. Ostrom, Finland, seaman; Fred Hindstrom, Norway, seaman; Edward Letz, Rega, Russia, seaman; August Simonson, Holland, seaman; Pat Wilson, St. John's N. B., seaman. 
      Just what time the disaster which resulted in such appalling loss of life occurred is not known, as every person on board, the vessel went to the bottom of the Sound with it.
      The ship, which was of English build, and worth probably $150,000 entered this port several days ago. She was to have loaded wheat under charter to Epplinger & Co. of San Francisco, for Europe. Yesterday she was taken to the Eureka dock and all ballast removed and the hold cleaned, preparatory to receiving cargo. She was then towed to an anchorage several hundred yards northeast of St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co's deep-water wharf, at which point disaster overtook her. She had out, according to the best information obtainable, the starboard anchor, weighing at least three tons, while to either side of the vessel were attached the ballast logs used to keep a ship upright during the absence of cargo or ballast.
      The ship was riding the wave serenely when the skippers of other vessels anchored close by retired the night before. When daylight dawned no signs of the ANDELANA were visible. Over the spot where she rode serenely at anchor the night before only a danger-signal buoy lamp was visible. When the absence of the ship was discovered, Capt. Doty and Capt. Hurley took the tug FAIRFIELD and made an investigation; it was soon determined beyond the possibility of doubt that the ship had gone to the bottom.
      One of the ballast logs was found. In addition, one of the lifeboats, a mattress with the name of the ship on it, and several oars were found. Beyond these, no other wreckage has been discovered.
      Late this afternoon the ill-fated vessel was located. She lies on the bottom of the Sound, on her broadside, under 23 fathoms of water, close by the spot where she had been anchored." 
The Islander newspaper
Friday Harbor, WA., 26 Jan. 1899
O.N. 107697
Blt. South Boston in 1901
Owner: John Scott Campbell
Lost near Ft. Bragg, CA. September 1966.
AQUILO, 65, ends her career.
AQUILO (107697) 
homeport of Seattle, WA.
Two photos from the  James A. Turner Collection
from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The yacht AQUILO, which had been plagued with trouble for nearly two weeks, caught fire, and sank about 2miles off the N. California coast, near Fort Bragg, 6 Sept. 1966.
The four men aboard were rescued without injury by a Coast Guard cutter which responded to an S O S from the 150-footer.
Those aboard were the owner, John Scott Campbell, a professor at Cal Tech, Floyd Hegerman, Morris Moore, and John Cunningham, all of Seattle. They were en route from Seattle to Los Angeles.
The CG said it had assisted the AQUILO three times in recent weeks. The first time was 25 August, when she was taking on water at her moorage in Lake Union, Seattle. On 4 Sept the vessel reported she was disabled 10 miles west of Rogue River, OR, and a CG lifeboat was dispatched. However, the AQUILO said the steering difficulties had been repaired and she would continue on her own.
Later that day the CG was asked to escort the vessel into Crescent City, CA because the operator was not familiar with the waters of that area.

Above text from The Seattle Times, 7 September 1966.

According to H. W. McCurdy's Maritime History of the P.N.W. (Newell, editor), the AQUILO was brought around the horn in 1910 by officials of the short-lived Western Steel Corp of Irondale, WA. They sold her to John W. Eddy of Seattle. The next owner was Edw. D. White, owner of Lakewood Boat Co. and Harbor Island Ferries, for use as a charter vessel.
Many well-known yachtsmen have been among the AQUILO'S owners. Others include H. F. Alexander, John D. Hoge, J. J. Moore, Cy Devenny, B. T. Rogers, and A. D. Moore.

Blt. 1899, Camden, N.J.
1052 G.t. 201.7' x 34' x 17' steel tender
Arrived on the west coast in 1907.
Capt. Andrew.
U.S.L.H.T ARMERIA wrecked 12 May 1912,
Cape Hitchinbrook, AK.
The card on left is inscribed: "racing for the beach".
The bottom card is inscribed:"Crew of USS CORDOVA about to pick
up Capt. Andrew from the wreck of USS ARMERIA 12 May 1912."
Three of a dozen photos in the S.P.H.S. ARMERIA file

"Her crew all escaped safely but the ship and her gear were totally lost. This sum came to $400,000, she being one of the finest government lighthouse tenders of her day." 
Disaster Log of Ships. Jim Gibbs, Bonanza Books, N.Y.

"The ARMERIA went on the rocks during a storm near Cape Hinchinbrook in the rescue attempt of barge HADYN BROWN. All crew rescued by steamer ADMIRAL SAMPSON. ARMERIA a total loss. The wreck has been discovered by divers."
Shipwrecks of the Alaskan Shelf and Shore
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 
Anchorage, AK, 1992.

O.N. 208596
Blt. Dockton, WA. 1911.
127' x 24' x 7.8' / 273 G.t.,173 N.t.
Lost 10 Dec. 1923.
The Steamer ASTORIAN had been purchased by the San Juan Transportation Co to operate between Bellingham, the Islands, and Seattle. She was brought north from Portland by Capt. H. C. Neilson, mate of the ISLANDER, with Al Biggs of Lopez Is. in charge of the engine room. She was said to run at 16-knots an hour with tops of 19. 
      Then after a lot of local excitement welcoming Charlie Maxwell's new mail boat, she was lost with the much revered, experienced, S.J. County Capt. Charlie Basford, at the helm. On 19 Dec. 1923 in thick fog off Smith Cove, near Seattle, the ASTORIAN was rammed by tug No. 20 belonging to Lillico. Crew and passengers were rescued. Two hundred turkeys belonging to Lyle King of Friday Harbor were not.

BAHADA (updated) 
ON 3957                                                          
Blt. by Moran Bros. for Puget Sound Tug Boat Co. in 1902.
Capt. George Hansen
Sunk: 21 Nov. 1926 in Huckleberry Pass, alongside Guemes Island.
Lost: 9 lives.
working through the Government Locks, 
Seattle, WA.
Photographer and date unknown.
Saltwater People Historical Society.

"The BAHADA provided one of the major mysteries of Sound maritime lore in her later days. Headed from Bellingham with a long tow of logs, she made a typical picture of a Mosquito Fleet workboat engaged in her humdrum tasks, but during the night the BAHADA had a date with disaster. Next morning there was no sign of the husky steamer [132 G.t. steel, 85.9' L], but her log raft lay peacefully anchored off Saddleback Island. Investigation showed that the anchor was the sunken deep-sea tug BAHADA, still fast to her tow, but lying fathoms deep with a shattered hull and a drowned crew. No one survived to tell what happened. No one knows, for sure, to this day.
      Many later accounts state flatly that the BAHADA was sunk by a boiler explosion. There were, however, reports that distress signals were heard from her vicinity. There would be no time or steam to sound the whistle following a sudden explosion, which led to the theory that she was run down by a speeding, unlighted rum-runner. Many such operated on Puget Sound at that time."
Text from Ships of the Inland Sea. Gordon R. Newell

Update on 8 October 2015.
The names of the lost men were submitted by historian Shawn Murphy:

Hansen, Captain George. Anacortes.

Hird, James. First Mate. Anacortes.
Bigham, A. E., Anacortes.
Hansen, Will, Anacortes.
Knake, John, Anacortes.
Craig, Charles, Anacortes.
Northrup, George, Anacortes, and Ketchikan.
Christensen, L, Bellingham.
Brannian, U.S, Bellingham.

Lost at Uyak Bay, Kodiak Island, AK
18 July 1915
Loss of S.S. BERTHA
18 July 1915.

Photographer unknown.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

The staunch old wooden steamer BERTHA originally in Alaska Commercial Co service, was destroyed by fire. For some years past the vessel had been chartered by the Admiral Line, to the W.J. Swan Nav. Co for northern freight services.
      At the expiration of that charter in 1914, she was used for a time as a floating hotel for miners at Cook Inlet. On 18 July she stranded at Uyak and water seeping into her forward hold ignited a cargo of lime stowed there. Vessel and cargo were all lost.

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