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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.

15 June 2015

❖ SEYMOUR NARROWS ❖

SEYMOUR NARROWS
BEFORE THE BLAST
Photograph by John E. Thwaites, Alaska/Seattle, WA.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Seymour Narrows, Discovery Passage,
with the remains of the infamous Ripple Rock 
below the freighter.
50°.00' N 125° 21.' W.
Photo date, 21 May 1958.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.© 

Named by Capt. Richards, RN, and long a menace to navigation, this passage was described by Captain Vancouver as "part of the vilest stretch of water in the world."
      Ripple Rock had its top successfully blown off at 9:33 am April 1958, after the R.C.M.P. cleared people from a 3-mile area around the site. There were two unsuccessful tries in 1943 and 1945 when 9 men died. 
      Ripple Rock consisted of two underwater peaks, just close to the water's surface in Seymour Narrows, between Vancouver Island and the mainland, about 100 miles north of Vancouver, B.C. The twin peaks rose in the middle of  the Narrows, part of the marine trade route since the beginning of boats, and the route for the Race to AK still underway (as this is written), for the toughies paddling and sailing to Ketchikan from Port Townsend, WA. 
      Over the years, at least 110 people have drowned as a result of wrecks impaled on the rock.
      High explosives, 2,750,00 pounds, were used for the blast, the largest non-atomic explosion ever detonated up to that time. The explosion was televised nationally from coast to coast in Canada.
    

2 comments:

  1. I remember my parents getting me up early to watch the explosion of Ripple Rock, which was one of the first telecasts on Seattle's newest TV station, KIRO 7. The program immediately following it was the first regular broadcast of JP Patches. I think the explosion of Ripple Rock was on the cover of LIFE the following week.

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