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.