Benjamin's operations are believed to set a new Pacific record. So far as known, the UNION wreck is the most ancient figure in salvage operations in this ocean. Benjamin has been looking for the wreck on and off for the last five years and discovered its location the first of the month.
|Bark UNION loaded coal in Nanaimo in 1875.|
She wrecked in San Juan County
en route to San Francisco, CA.
The coal is in large chunks and consequently is rather difficult to salve, but Benjamin will employ a large clam-shell dipper to bring it to the surface. He will load it into scows and place the fuel on the market.
Benjamin began his salvage operations with his small gas boat, the IGLOO. He has now purchased the old steam freighter SEATTLE SPIRIT from the Port Blakeley Mill Co, to carry on the work.
When the diver first descended to the wreck, he found one of the vessel's two copper pumps sticking up through the coal. Removing it, he brought it to Seattle as a gift for the Cary-Davis Towing Co. in return for a copper deck pump that the company presented to him.
On reaching the wreck Benjamin discovered that the salt water had eaten away all the iron in the old bark. The anchor has been reduced to almost nothing and the chains are practically gone.
The UNION had a copper bottom and copper bolts. The copper, like the coal, is as good as the day the ship went down, showing absolutely no sign of deterioration. The vessel's upper works disappeared long ago.
Above text from the Friday Harbor Journal. Oct. 1917.
The wreck site near Rosario Straits may be the one that became a source of coal for certain salty types from Orcas Island. Feel free to comment below.