"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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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.

08 January 2014

❖ Castaways from the FARALLON Wreck in the ice January 1910 ❖

 FARALLON Wreck, 5 January 1910,  Passengers rescued; Five of Crew Missing!
Passengers and crew from the wreck of the FARALLON. 
"There was no hardship experienced by anyone at the time 
the ship was wrecked. She glided onto the reef. 
We were thrown a step or two forward, our eyes stuck out, 
our hair stood on end, and that was all there was to it.
But the following thirty days on that barren, icy, beach 
was an experience that tried men's souls and showed 
the mettle, good or bad, of which each one was composed." 

Quote and photo by photographer, J. E. Thwaites.
Original print from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"Although the outside world did not know it, passengers and crew of the wrecked steamship FARALLON were camped on an Alaska beach, with the temperature far below zero.
      They had been on the beach almost a month.
      The FARALLON, that had sailed from Seattle the previous 17 December, had been wrecked 5 January. But in those days of slow communications the news did not get to Seattle until 5 February.
      A copy of The Seattle Times for that day was found recently by Capt. Philip H. Luther, a Puget Sound pilot, when he was going through some old papers.
      The story, under a Seward dateline, said:
      "Steamship FARALLON is a total wreck on a reef near Iliamna Bay; five members of her crew are believed to have perished in a desperate attempt to obtain relief for the passengers.
      The passengers and the other members of the crew arrived here this morning aboard the steamship VICTORIA, by which they were rescued 3 February, after spending nearly a month encamped in weather frequently 40 degrees below zero.
      The FARALLON ran to her doom during a blinding snow storm. She struck solidly and it was soon realized that there was no hope for her.
      The tide was rising and soon the vessel was listing badly. There was no sea, however, and the passengers and crew managed to take to the boats without great difficulty.
      It also was possible to get supplies and some heavy clothing and bedding ashore, and the castaways went into camp under fairly comfortable circumstances.
      On 7 January the second mate and four sailors started in a small boat for Kodiak, where they expected to connect with one of the other vessels of the Alaska Steamship Co, which owns the FARALLON. Since then these men have not been heard from, and there is practically no hope that they are alive.
      The weather in the locality of the wreck has been unusually cold and there have been several storms since the men started out. The VICTORIA spent as much time as possible searching for the boat and its little crew, but was obliged to continue to this city because of the condition of the rescued.
      Despite the fact that they were fairly well supplied with clothing and easily obtained wood for fuel, the castaways suffered greatly from the severe cold. None, however, is seriously the worse for the experience."
The Seattle Times, 5 February 1910.

      The dispatch from Seward the next day gave additional details.
      The second mate trying to reach Kodiak 150-miles from the wreck was Gus Swanson. Volunteers with him were Charles Peterson, Otto Nelson, Capt. Weeding A. Bailey, and Charles Born.
      The master of the FARALLON was Capt. J. C. Hunter.
      Contradicting the initial report, the later story said that for the men on shore "the chief difficulty was the lack of fuel, the nearest timber being more than a mile away."
      There had been joy when the VICTORIA was sighted, but despair when it became evident she had not seen the group on shore and was sailing on by. Men then jumped into life boats and tried to head off the VICTORIA. Fortunately, the boats were seen by the ship.

       An earlier log entry, with vessel images, may be seen here

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