"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

About Us

My photo
San Juan Archipelago, 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 750, 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.

31 January 2013

✪ The Lost Ship That Came Home

 Capt. Brooks.

Three original photos from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society© 

"One of the unusual stories I wrote while marine editor of Seattle's evening newspaper concerned the steamship CURACAO, known as the lost ship that came home. The CURACAO was wrecked at Warm Chuck, AK, 21 June 1913, while laden with 800 t. of coal and 750 t. of cannery supplies. She sank in 78' of water at low tide. The vessel, insured for $110,000 was abandoned to the underwriters. Sixty days later, the wreck was purchased by the Vancouver Dredging & Salvage Co. for $4,000.   
      Capt. Harry W. Crosby, a pioneer of the Seattle waterfront, had a major role in the unusual salvage feat. He furnished the scows and tugs used in the operation and was on the job long hours in a diving suit. 'We salvaged the cargo in the fall and returned the next June to continue the work of raising the vessel. It required two months to complete the job, working on three tides. The CURACAO was down one year and eight months', Crosby said.
      After the general cargo and coal were salvaged, a channel was dredged ahead of the ship for a distance of 110'. Then a passage was flushed underneath the keel. Slings were passed under the hull and a cofferdam constructed around No. 1 hold. Six hundred empty gasoline drums with a total lifting capacity of 270 t, were placed in No. 2 hold. Scows were moored over the sunken ship to aid in lifting the vessel.
      Using a special gear on the scows, 6.5" cables, and powerful pumps, the CURACAO was lifted and dragged forward into the newly-dredged channel.
      The Pacific Steamship Co, the former owner, purchased the CURACAO from the salvors for approximately $90,000 and after extensive overhaul and repairs, returned her to service. Capt. Crosby, known on the waterfront as Seattle's mariner-capitalist, had a one-third interest in this strange salvage operation, which made it possible for a "lost" ship to return to service.
      After 56 years under the US flag, the CURACAO was sold to Greek interests who operated a fleet of ships out of Shanghai and transferred to Greek registry. The vessel's last service under the US flag was for the Alaska Steamship Co., which operated her from Cordova to Kodiak and Cook Inlet as a passenger and freight carrier.
      The unusual salvage operation that returned the wrecked CURACAO to service was only one of the strange dramas of the sea in which she had a stellar role.
      Carl Strout, one of the veterans of Seattle's waterfront, was purser of the CURACAO, his last seagoing job, while she operated out of San Francisco to Mexico and Central America. Strout was on his way to his room when the ship was in Mexican waters on one of her voyages in this service when he was attacked by two alien sailors. Both were drunk and had decided to avenge some fancied wrong.
      'Trow heem to the sharks,' one of the sailors said, as they seized Strout. Capt. Fred W. Brooks, a sea roamer of the old school, who was master of the CURACAO, heard the commotion and came out of his room with a pistol in his hand. The two sailors were overpowered, placed in irons and turned over to the federal authorities when the ship arrived back in the US.
      In those days, the Mexican-Central American run was a difficult one. In each of the ports, the majordomos would come out to the ship in their bare feet, carrying swords. The ship officers would hardly get acquainted with them, when there would be a revolution or a political change and they would have to deal with new majordomos, immigration, and post office agents, multiplying their troubles.
      The CURACAO was painted white and looked like a large steam yacht. During her Mexican and Central American service, the vessel was owned by the Pacific Steamship Co. She carried general merchandise south and coffee north.
      Captain Brooks, the CURACAO's skipper, a colorful seafarer, was known from the Galapagos Islands, where he was shipwrecked, to Nome; from Liverpool to Buenos Aires, and from Seattle to Hong Kong and other big ports in the Orient. He formerly was master of the freighter STUART DOLLAR and remained with that vessel during her long idleness in Lake Union. I visited Capt. Brooks several times aboard the STUART DOLLAR and talked over old times in shipping with him." 
Above text from High Tide, The Big Stories of Seattle's Waterfront
R. H. "Skipper" Calkins, Marine Digest, 1952

In her later years, according to Jim Gibbs in Disaster Log of Ships, she operated strictly as a freighter to Alaska. In 1940, she was purchased by Greek interests, renamed HELLENIC SKIPPER; while bound for the Orient, mysteriously exploded and foundered 125-miles NW of Grays Harbor, WA, 10 July 1940. Her crew escaped.

Other officers and crew:
Capt. William Thompson (1913)

27 January 2013

❖ Early Reminiscences from Miles McCoy ❖ Part I

Miles McCoy and his SHARON L.
At home, West Sound, WA.
Photo by Donna Morrison, San Francisco

"In the early 1940s I was absorbed in rowing and sailing boats. 
      Dwight Long [1913-2001] had completed a 'round the world adventure; he had filmed portions of it and was billed to appear and narrate the movie. He was also scheduled to sell and autograph his published books at the Neptune Theater in the UW district in Seattle, not far from the house where we lived. My parents took me to see the film and purchased a copy of the book Seven Seas on a Shoestring*. With those days behind me, I never looked back. Anything to do with boats and sailing has been my consuming interest for over seventy years.
      Dwight Long joined the Navy early in WWII and became an aerial photographer. Occasionally the Seattle newspapers would have articles about Dwight; mother usually saved the clippings. As I became aware of other sailors and their published books, I was hooked. There were not a lot of books by small boat circumnavigators before WWII. During the war years there was very little boating and sailing activity around Seattle. 
      Right after the war ended my dad and I found a good 'not too old' wood catboat for sale. She was some shabby but mostly sound. My father made an offer on SHARON L. [blt 1933] and our boating and sailing experience began in earnest.
SHARON L. sailing the San Juan Islands.
Photograph by Joanne Fraser

      The next several years found us learning to sail and refurbish the big catboat. I managed to finish high school and garner some experience crewing and maintaining larger sailing vessels. 
       By 1950 Uncle Sam was looking over my shoulder. War in Korea was heating up; I joined a US Marine Corps Reserve Squadron at Sand Point Naval Air Station, Seattle. I became a weekend warrior maintaining and fueling airplanes. It turned out to be an excellent choice because it was close to home. I did not want some Navy dude from Kansas showing me how to tie a bowline. Within a year I found myself stationed at Marine Corps Air Station, Kaneohe, Hawaii. This was about half an hour out of Honolulu and the Ali Wai Yacht Harbor and Waikiki Beach. 
       On my first weekend of liberty I was dock-walking and exploring the haunts of the sailing crowd when I found an acquaintance from Seattle living on his boat, a fine 55' Alden ketch named NONAME. The couple had been living aboard for a couple of years and were preparing to sail back to Seattle. They had a car they wanted to sell; I bought it and became the best equipped PFC on Oahu.
      While wandering the docks some more, I walked right up to IDLE HOUR and touched her transom. 
Dwight Long's IDLE HOUR, home to Seattle, WA.
Original photo taken by L. Hockett, 1940.
Donated to the S. P. H. S. archives by Miles McCoy 2012.
There was Dwight Long's old vessel. Her main had been restored to gaff rig and she obviously had been ridden hard and put away wet, for a number of years. She was deteriorating under the rigors of a harsh tropical climate and minimal maintenance. I never met the owner but I saw her sailing a couple of more times around Honolulu. She seemed well suited for sailing the Hawaiian Islands. IDLE HOUR was stout, beamy, fairly deep for her size, and very heavily built with full two-inch plank on heavy double-sawn frames. 
      Well--I spent many contented hours contemplating voyages to far off places while examining IDLE HOUR with the warm Hawaiian trade wind caressing me into boundless daydreaming. I have not heard anything about IDLE HOUR for well over sixty years. I would be surprised if she or her remains exist to this day.
      The end result of years of imagining and dreaming of voyaging to far off places in my own vessel never happened. However, by staying active and elbowing among the sailing community, I was able to complete a variety of ocean racing and cruising trips on several wonderful, wooden vessels to meet and sail with some very able and experienced voyagers.
       There was a gaff rigged ketch named IDLE HOUR sailing in the San Juan Islands in the 1950s. They were employed in the charter business taking out passengers on pleasure trips in local waters. This was not the same IDLE HOUR of which I spoke earlier, owned by Dwight Long. This was larger and better suited to the charter trade. She belonged to Chris Wilkins, a longtime charter skipper. Wilkins went on to have a 45' ketch ORCAS BELLE, designed by Bill Garden and built in Deer Harbor by boatbuilder Chet North. Another Orcas Islander, Tony Lee, was skipper for several years on ORCAS BELLE. 
      In the early 1960s Wilkins' IDLE HOUR was purchased by Carl and Patty MacBrayer who ran her in the summer charter business for several years out of West Sound. MacBrayers sold IDLE HOUR and built a new boat a little larger than IDLE HOUR that had more creature comforts and luxuries for guests. They sailed BONNIE LASSIE for several years, then moved ashore.
     I hope that this is of some interest to you, I enjoyed reminiscing and recalling some of my youth."
Above text by Miles McCoy, West Sound, WA. *  Capt. Long had sailed 30,000 miles, after leaving Seattle, when he sailed up the Thames River. To have IDLE HOUR in first class condition, he decided to winter over and write his book before sailing the Atlantic, homebound. Dwight Long's book was first published in England in 1938 under the title of Sailing All Seas in the IDLE HOUR with a preface by Alan Villiers. Rupert Hart-Davis of London,  picked it up in 1950 and published it as No. 11 in his wonderful Mariners Library series. 
      In the US the book title was changed to Seven Seas on a Shoestring, published by Harper and Bros., 1938. As noted elsewhere on this site, Miles McCoy donated his special volume to the S.P.H.S. complete with notes from his mother that it was his first nautical book, gifted to him in 1941.     
In August 2012 there is another log entry to honor IDLE HOUR; she arrived home to Seattle in 1940. Click here.

     Thanks Miles-- Encore!

WRECKS ❖ ❖ Ships N through S (11) ❖ ❖

Wrecks Log No. 3 ❖ ❖ Ships N-S (11)
Work in progress.

Capt. Theodore Hansen
Aground 1928
The 981-ton, 4-masted schooner NORTH BEND, built by Kruse & Banks in 1921 for their own account, figured in a 1928 marine mishap with a final outcome so remarkable that it was featured in the well-known syndicated newspaper feature, Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
Schooner NORTH BEND 
taking a break on the beach.
Photo from archives of the Saltwater People Hist. Scty©

      "While inbound for Astoria, 89 days from Adelaide, the schooner, in charge of Capt. Theodore Hansen, attempted to cross the bar without a pilot. As she was turning on the ranges at the river mouth, the wind suddenly died and she was driven by the current onto a shoal off Buoy No. 8 near Peacock Spit. The stranding occurred at 2:30 on the morning of 15 February. The Coast Guard cutter SNOHOMISH and the Astoria tug ARROW No. 3 went to the assistance of the schooner and the tug succeeded in getting a hawser aboard, but while taking up the slack the line broke. On the second attempt the schooner was freed briefly, but an extremely heavy sea struck her, again broke the line, and drove her back on Peacock Spit. The crew had, in the meantime, been removed by the Cape Disappointment lifesaving crew. Ensuing heavy seas and high winds drove the NORTH BEND well up on the beach, upright, and intact. The crew returned and stood by her for sometime until salvage efforts were abandoned. After lying abandoned on the beach for 13 months, the winter gales of 1929 washed the sand away from the hull and formed a half-mile channel to the sheltered waters of Bakers Bay on the other side of the spit. With little assistance, the NORTH BEND refloated herself and on 11 February, was taken down the channel to the bay. A survey revealed only minor hull damage, and she was subsequently purchased by the Arrow Tug & Barge Co. of Astoria, and converted to a barge."
The H. W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNWGordon Newell, editor
Superior Publishing Co. 1966

Further NORTH BEND notes from the above mentioned Newell book.

  • 1926 "Sailing sentimentalists were touched by two events during the spring. On 17 March the 4-masted schooner NORTH BEND, 72 days from Wanganui, NZ, foamed proudly past the tug which was awaiting her off the Columbia River sailed before a 24-mile northwesterly wind up the river and into the Port of Astoria. It was the first time such a sight had been seen in many years and the last." 
  • 1940 "The NORTH BEND, a former 4-masted schooner of 1921 which had survived her 1928 stranding on Peacock Spit, finally met her end on the southern Oregon coast. She left the Umpqua River lumber-laden in tow of the tug UMPQUA and began leaking badly after getting to sea. An effort was made to get her into Coos Bay, but she stranded 23 September on the north spit after crossing the bar. She was later refloated, but was found to be in such unseaworthy condition that she was taken out to sea and allowed to drift ashore just north of Cape Arago Light, where the hull was later burned for scrap."
Blt. 1883 at Brooklyn, N. Y. as a survey vessel.
Owned by Alaska Patterson, Inc.
Wrecked 11 Dec. 1938, Cape Fairweather, AK.
Lost: Capt. Gustaf F. Swanson and winchman James Moore.
Wreck of the PATTERSON, December 1938.
Cropped photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Whip-lashed by the surf at Cape Fairweather, the MS PATTERSON had been en route from Kodiak to Seattle.  Eighteen other seamen were eventually rescued after supplies had been dropped to them from the air. The USCG cutters SPENCER and HAIDA eventually rescued the survivors.
Disaster Log of Ships, James A. Gibbs.

27 Feb. 1933
Lost: Capt. Victor H. Riley
Deadman's Hollow, Long Beach, WA.
Two original photos and one litho card
from the archives of S.P.H.S.

 After her brush with the law, the PESCAWHA became a black sheep among seafarers. She was sold and re-sold and spent much of her time straining at her lines for another chance to go back to sea.
     The scene takes place eight years after her capture by the ALGONQUIN. The PESCAWHA now had the American flag flying from her staff and had become a reformed unit of illegal trades. She shoved off from her berth on what was to be her last voyage. The date was 27 Feb 1933, and the scene was on the lower Columbia.
      The PESCAWHA a few months earlier had been sold to an adventurer who proceeded to interest a party of ten young men in what was said to be a whaling expedition. The vessel was fitted with special gear and equipment for capturing and rendering whales.
      Her crew of amateur mechanics installed a balky Maxwell car engine on the deck, where they could administer to its humor. A makeshift belt transmitted power to the propeller.
      Despite the fact that a southwester was blowing, the PESCAWHA put out to sea, her sails clewed down and the Maxwell purring. Her course was down the middle of the channel. She should have hugged the south edge of the waterway to allow for drift in the port tack.
      The Maxwell faltered and died off buoy No. 10, and the set of the ebb tide put the vessel into the north jetty. Her skipper was crushed against the housing as the lifeboat was knocked from the davits while the crew was attempting to put it over the side, the other crew members survived, reaching the jetty on debris. Their escape was regarded as remarkable for the ebb was sweeping along the huge boulders of the jetty with considerable force. The PESCAWHA was reduced to splinters with the wheel being the largest piece of wreckage found by beachcombers.
      The body of Capt. Victor H. Riley, of Oregon City, was recovered in Deadman's Cove.
      When gray dawn broke over the bar, the PESCAWHA was no more, and there off the jetty, her pranks of dodging the law, and her attempts at reformation had their closing together."
Above text: James A. Gibbs Jr. Pacific Graveyard
Binfords & Mort, 1950.

Capt. H. H. McAlpine
Blt Seattle, 1903.
Lost: 10 October 1911
Near Port Ludlow, WA.
Original photo, by Joe Williamson, 
before she was lengthened;
 from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society.©

The Str. PERDITA Burned to the Waterline--A Total Loss

"The Inland Navigation Co.'s steamer PERDITA, which for a time was on the island run [San Juan Islands], caught fire c. 2 miles off Port Ludlow and was burned to the water's edge. The cause of the fire is believed to have started by an explosion of the heater which raises the temperature of the oil before it enters the burners. It is said to have been the luckiest marine disaster in the history of Sound shipping. The vessel burned like tinder which drove all on board into the icy waters before a single lifeboat could be launched, and in spite of the fact that all hands drifted about a full half-hour before help arrived, there was not a single death or near fatality."
"The PERDITA made her first trip on the island run in May 1908. She was faster than the ROSALIE and got in so early that a few people got left".
San Juan Islander. 23 May 1908

when sold to the Philippines.
American Mail Liner
Todd Shipyards, Seattle.
Lost: 1 worker drowned March 1933.
American Mail Liner March 1933
Todd Shipyards

Original Photo from the S. P. H. S.©
27 March 1933:
Half submerged with only her superstructure preventing her from going to the bottom, the luxurious liner, PRESIDENT MADISON, is seen here at her dock at Todd Shipyard, Seattle. She was undergoing repairs with several forward plates on the starboard side were removed to be replaced, when suddenly she started to capsize. The Coast Guard and Seattle Patrol had men and equipment on the job at once. Sadly, Carl Ekberg, 40, a junior engineer was drowned in the engine room. The PRESIDENT MADISON was pumped out, righted and lay idle for six years. 

1934: "One of the worst gales in many years swept the Puget Sound area on 21 October with SW winds up to 70 mph, causing damage in the millions of dollars to shipping, buildings and standing timber. The American Mail Line PRESIDENT MADISON figured in another spectacular mishap at Seattle when she was torn from her moorings at the outer end of Pier 41 (later Pier 91) and went drifting across the harbor, crashing into the stern wheel steamer HARVESTOR of Skagit River Navigation & Trading Co and sinking her in deep water. She also collided with steamship NORTH HAVEN of Northland Transportation Co, inflicting considerable damage to her.

1940: The liner, the former PRESIDENT MADISON, a vessel that had acquired something of a reputation as a jinx-ship during her later years in the Northwest, was converted to a freighter at Todd Shipyards and sold to the Philippine Mail Line. She sailed from Long Beach, CA on 6 January with a 10.500-ton general cargo for the Orient, after which she was to be remodeled at Shanghai. While going to the rescue of another vessel in distress off the coast of Japan the big steamship, rechristened PRESIDENT QUEZON, ran aground on the island of Tangashima Island on 16 January and sank after mountainous seas swept her off the shoal into deep water. She carried a crew of 114 under Capt. C. Onrubia, and 11 passengers. One passenger was lost. Fifty-nine of the survivors arrived in Seattle 12 Feb. 1940, on the Nippon Yusen Kaisha line HEIAN MARU. 
The H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNW. Newell, Gordon, editor. Seattle, WA. Superior Pub. 1966.

Wrecked: Oct. 1906
Capt. Lawrence
Lost: More than one trespassing salvager swept away on the first night of stranding while Capt. Lawrence camped on the beach nearby.
The text below by Rowena L. and Gordon D. Alcorn, 1985.

The wreck of the PETER IREDALE.
Original photo from archives of the S.P.H.S.

Today (1985) from the sands of Clatsop Spit, just south of the Columbia River's mouth, protrude only a few rusting metal ribs and bones of what was once a proud and graceful four-master, the PETER IREDALE. Wrecked on 25 October 1906, this British bark was a familiar visitor at Portland, Tacoma, and Seattle ports, which fairly bristled with tall rigging during the heyday of the "Wheat Fleet".
      The PETER IREDALE was built in 1890 at Maryport, but her home port was Liverpool, England. Her net tonnage was 1,994; she was 287.5-feet in length.
      On 20 June 1906 the IREDALE sailed from Newcastle, Australia loaded with coal for Salina Cruz, Mexico. When she arrived at that port, Captain H. Lawrence was notified that his ship had been chartered by Balfour, Guthrie & Co. to proceed to Portland to take on a load of wheat for the U.K.
      The IREDALE set sail from Salina Cruz on 26 September. It was perfect weather, and Capt. Lawrence, hoping to make a swift voyage up the coast, offering a bonus to all his crewmen if five days could be cut from the usual sailing time. The ship made excellent time until she was about a hundred miles south of the Columbia R., where she ran into dense fog. First Mate John W. Clayton was of the opinion that the ships speed should be slow in the thick weather. Capt. Lawrence felt confident that because he had made this passage so many times before, he could maintain top speed. He had been navigating by dead reckoning and was sure that their position was at least fifty miles off-shore. As the IREDALE sped along making what would be a record run, all her crewmen were thinking of that bonus.
      On the evening of 24 October, they were just 28 days out of Salina Cruz. It was still foggy but a strengthening wind seemed to indicate that the fog would be dissipated by morning; then the ship could be turned toward the mouth of the Columbia R.
      Early on 25 October, they were still in a "swelter of mist and fog", though a fierce gale was blowing. The ship was skimming along at a good clip when suddenly breakers were sighted. All hands were called to bring the ship about but the strong southerly gale, combined with the force of the current and the tide, drove the ship closer to shore. The IREDALE was now wallowing broadside in the troughs of the combers. Then, with a grinding crash, the ship slammed down against a shelving bar of Clatsop Spit!
      As she struck the sand, her mizen-mast snapped and toppled over the side, followed by the fore-mast and main-mast; only the jigger was left standing. The deck of the IREDALE was now a nightmarish mess of broken masts, spars, ropes, and ripped canvas. Miraculously, there were only slight injuries. As waves washed over the deck, Captain Lawrence ordered all hands to abandon ship. They attempted to lower the port lifeboat, but the heavy list made it impossible. With the heavy seas and tricky currents, they waited for help to come.
      News of the disaster reached both the Hammond and the Pt. Adams Life-Saving Stations shortly after the IREDALE was wrecked. The Pt. Adams surfmen pulled their lifeboat across several miles of sand, by a cart, in order to render assistance to the crew of the stricken vessel. By 9 AM the boats were starting to bring the shivering seamen ashore.
      William K. (Ken) Inman, who was  Justice of the Peace at Ilwaco, WA, has cause to remember this occasion, for he was at that time a member of the Cape Disappointment Life-Saving crew. Their station was located at Fort Canby, just inside the high headland that guards the north side of the Columbia River. Inman was in the Life-Saving Service for 8 years, from 1903 to 1911.
      Inman recalls the wreck of the PETER IREDALE vividly. "On the morning of 25 October 1906, a message was received at our station from Astoria.
      The PETER IREDALE has just been wrecked at Clatsop Spit... come and assist with the rescue.
      It had been foggy for more than two weeks, Inman relates. We pulled on out around Cape Disappointment and headed across the Columbia River. At Hammond Station, we tied up at the dock and ran over the dunes to where the IREDALE was aground not far offshore in the combers. Although we could barely see her through the fog she was obviously a total ruin. It was a ghostly sight she presented, with three of her masts snapped off.

Dedicated life-savers answering the call for help.
Original Litho postcard from the archives of S.P.H.S. 

By the time we arrived, boats were already bringing in the crewmen. The last surfboat came in through the breakers, and in it were Captain Lawrence and First Mate Clayton. I waded out waist-deep in the spume from the waves and carried Lawrence ashore. He was an Englishman, about forty or forty-five, and was neatly dressed. His well-trimmed Van Dyke beard was red. As I brought him in he told me that he thought that they were fifty miles out from the Columbia R. when his ship hit the beach south of the jetty.
      The former surfman smiled as he recounted what happened next. "Captain Lawrence had brought only three things with him from the wreck. In one arm he held the ship's log and sextant; in the other, he clutched a demi-john of whiskey. When I set him down on the dry sand, he thanked me very politely. Then he did a most surprising thing. Standing stiffly at attention, he peered sadly out at the battered hulk, then he solemnly and with great dignity, saluted his ship. 'May God bless you...and may your bones bleach to the sands.'"
      Clustered around the bedraggled crewmen were all of the surfmen who had helped with the rescue work. Captain Lawrence stood several minutes, then he turned around, placed the demi-john on the sand, and with a flourish of his hand he said, 'Boys, have a drink."
      The seamen from the PETER IREDALE were sheltered at Fort Stevens temporarily, then taken to Astoria, where they were turned over to the British Vice-Consul, P.L. Cherry. All their possessions were aboard the ship, so Cherry saw that they were provided with dry clothes, food, and a place to stay. After an investigation to determine the cause of the disaster, the men would be free to ship out on another boat."
      Captain Lawrence and First Mate Clayton camped on the sands of Clatsop Spit within sight of the ship, to prevent any unauthorized visits, but a small party managed to board the ship at low tide. When the visitors attempted to return to shore, strong swirling eddies in the out-going tide swept on the men around the end of the ship; and out to sea--the only casualty of the wreck. A few days later violent seas moved the ship further inland. Her stores and rigging were removed, but the hope of salvaging the IREDALE eventually was given up.
      In 1961, we visited the Fort Columbia Historical Museum, located a few miles up-river from Chinook, WA. With us was Ken Inman, who carried Captain Lawrence ashore that morning of 25 October 1906. In the room with the life-rings, stands the lifeboat in which he rowed with the crew from the Life-Saving Station at Cape D, across the river toward the scene of the disaster".
Text courtesy of The Puget Sound Maritime Hist. Society
Members Journal The Sea Chest; December 1985.

Blt. 1888, San Francisco
Owned by Grays Harbor Commercial Co.
Capt. Conway
Lost: 28 Feb. 1896
Loss of life: none.
Wreck site 28 Feb. 1896

Cropped original photo from the S.P.H.S.©

The POINT LOMA was en route to San Francisco from Grays Harbor with lumber. The day prior to the wreck, one of the worst gales of that year struck the steamer and at midnight the engines broke down and water leaked into her hull and extinguished the fires in the boilers. The wind and high seas carried the ship toward the shore. Distress signals shot from her bridge were sighted by shore lookouts, and the Fort Canby lifesaving crew hustled down the beach to render aid. They launched a surf boat on several occasions but each time it ws repelled by the breakers. Finally, a line shot from the beach reached its mark. The crew of the wrecked steamer made it fast and the by means of a raft were successful in getting ashore without the loss of a man. Seventeen were saved. The vessel was pounded to pieces. The POINT LOMA was built at San Fransisco in 1888, one of the pioneer steam schooners to engage in coastwise lumber trades. She was last owned by the Grays Harbor Commercial Co. Her remains could be seen on the beach at low tide until a few years ago.
Above text from:
Pacific Graveyard. James A. Gibbs, Jr.
Binfords & Mort, 1950

Aground 5 August 1910
Sentinel Island, AK.
Lives lost: none.
PRINCESS MAY on the rocks.
Original photo signed on verso by O. T. Frasch
from the archives of the S. P. H. S.

"Alaska's most spectacular wreck. En route from Skagway, AK to Vancouver, BC on 5 August 1910, the Canadian Pacific's PRINCESS MAY, with 80 passengers and crew of 68, struck a reef almost under the eyebrows of Sentinel Island lightkeepers. The ship went on the rocks at high tide and at low water was perched high and dry. The tides in the Lynn Canal area have extreme ranges and the PRINCESS MAY picked one of the highest for her accident. All on board were easily transferred to boats and they enjoyed the hospitality of the lighthouse keepers. At a later high tide the ship was refloated.
      The stranding brought to light some unsavory facts about the PRINCESS MAY's past. She was originally an English ship, built for officials of a Chinese company as the CASS and had sailed under such names at the HATING, NINGCHOW, and ARTHUR. On one voyage while she was passing through the Suez Canal, the mate manhandled one of the Chinese crewmen and, in the fight, pulled off his queue. The others rose in mutiny, the decks ran with blood, and the officers were driven to the bridge. They ran up distress signals and finally got help from the British ashore. Capt. I. Pybus and the officers were taken ashore to recuperate while the crew was subdued and replaced. Capt. Pybus later became master of the Canadian Pacific's EMPRESS OF JAPAN. On a later occasion, the CASS tried to slip away from her Shanghai moorage, was pursued, and apprehended by chinese warships. Another time she was overrun by Chinese pirates and again became the scene of more bloodshed."
Above text from This Was Seafaring by Andrews and Kirwin. Superior Pub. 
In the Disaster Log of Ships, Jim Gibbs listed the damage to the ship at $20,000.
In H. W. McCurdy's Marine History of the P.N.W., editor Gordon Newell lists the salvage fee brought the total up to $115,000.

ON 127310
Blt. 1883 or 1884, Scotland
Capt. Lucien F. Johnson
Wrecked 7 Jan. 1913
Loss of life: Reports of between 31 and 33 crew.
ROSECRANS lost on Peacock Spit.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.
"At the mention of Peacock Spit, shivers ran up the spines of the ancient mariners. On this shoal, which spreads like a malignant growth at the north portal of the Columbia Bar, countless ships have left their bones. Today the north jetty at the river entrance crosses over the spot where the spit formerly existed. Though a share of the spit remains, its treachery has somewhat subsided.
      On the morning of 7 Jan. 1913, the Assoc. Oil Co. tanker ROSECRANS (ex-COLUMBIA, ex-METHVEN CASTLE) was battling her way over the bar, inbound from San Francisco to Portland. The wind was blowing a steady 60-miles, driving with determined fury. The tanker labored under the weight of 20,000 barrels of crude oil. As thick weather closed down, Capt. L. F. Johnson lost his bearings and the big vessel overran the channel and drifted nearer and nearer to the dread sands of Peacock Spit. The wind whistled through her rigging in weird crescendos like a haunted organ in a graveyard. Then came that dreaded moment. She plowed head on against the spit, heaving crazily. The seas swept over her. A distress message crackled from her wireless. The lifesaving station on Cape Disappointment picked it up at 5:15 am. 
      There was no further contact with the ship. The lifesaving crew prepared for an immediate run to the wreck. Tension ran high. The river entrance was a solid mass of crashing breakers from north to south. 
      At 8 am the ROSECRANS broke in two, the sections literally ripped apart, rivets and all. The crew was forced to the rigging. But even in their perch they were swept off one after another by the rising avalanches of water. Finally only four remained. Blue from the cold and half mad, they stared blindly, hoping and praying that rescue would come.
      Then the lifeboat hove into sight, but almost too late. As it approached, only a mast rose from the turbulence. One of the four men clinging to it could not stand the suspense and hurled himself into the sea, swimming frantically. The strain was too much. The rescue crew pulled him aboard dead. The others waited impatiently until the boat got under the mast, and saved them. The bar had become so rough that refuge had to be sought at the nearby Columbia River Lightship. The boat in the interim was brought alongside with much difficulty and the men taken aboard. Suddenly a heavy swell struck and the craft broke away, bearing the corpse of the man who had leaped from the mast. It was never seen again.
      Several days passed before the survivors could be picked up from the lightship. High seas persisted even after the storm had run its course. When the rescue boat reached shore, reporters were on hand to get a first-hand account of the disaster, and what caused it. The survivors were each of the opinion that the master of the ROSECRANS had mistaken North Head Light for that on the lightship and had temporarily lost his bearings. So tragic was the wreck that none of the survivors had a desire to discuss it at length.
      In the tanks of the wreck was a cargo of crude oil valued at $200,000. As the sea broke up the ship much of the petroleum escaped, the cargo and ship a total loss. There was no salvage. From her launching at Glasgow, in 1884, the ROSECRANS was plagued by mishaps--break downs, strandings and fires, some resulting in loss of life and abandonment. Each time she was resurrected from her grave. But her fate was sealed when she tangled with the elements at the entrance to the Columbia."
Above text from Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast. James A. Gibbs, Jr.
Binfords & Mort, 1957

367 G.t. Schooner
142.5' x 35.5' x 10'
Blt. 1903, San Francisco.
Wrecked 27 Dec. 1915
Loss of life: none.
Original photo from the S. P. H. S.©

The SAUSALITO was recently purchased from Tidewater Mill Co of Portland by Thomas Crowley of San Francisco. She was en route south from Victoria, B.C. when driven ashore on Waddah Island, near Neah Bay.
The H. W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Newell, Gordon. Superior.

Capt. John Thompson
Wrecked 1 Dec. 1887
with crew of 15 wrecked near Quinault, WA.
 Original photo of the artwork of Mrs. Willoughby 
which she drew the day following the wreck. 
"The British bark SIR JAMSETJEE FAMILY, Capt. John Thompson was wrecked near the mouth of the Quinault River, below Pt. Grenville. Much of this area was then virgin country and the only white people within many miles were the Indian agent and his family.
En route to Port Townsend from Melbourne, AU, in ballast, the cumbersome ship approached the north Pacific Coast in thick weather, so persistent as to prevent her captain from taking a bering or observation for over a week. Night came on dark and forbidding and Thompson paced the poop nervously. The impenetrable curtain closed down and the ship's forward motion ceased. It ground upon the shoals amid mighty breakers.
      On the nearby shore, Indians had sighted the ship's sidelights and knew that she was in dire trouble. A runner carried word to the Indian agent miles from the spot where the ship perilously lay. Charles Willoughby, the genial agent lost not a moment, for he knew the terrific odds against sailors wrecked along those hostile shores. With him went several natives, guided by a crude oil lantern. As the reached their destination they immediately built a large beach fire to cheer the despairing souls aboard the wreck.
      All the shipwrecked mariners awaited the captain's command to abandon. Finally, it came. Their futile efforts, however, were short-lived as every boat with the exception of one was either crushed or capsized before it could be manned.
      By now the battered wreck was in its death agonies, seas tearing down rigging and masts and breaching the decks. It would not last through the night. The fire on the shore afforded the only ray of hope. The captain was now fearful of another danger. He had heard and read of ships being plundered and crews murdered by savages along this little-known coast. He had no way of knowing that an agent had been assigned to the area and that these once fierce natives had come to offer their services.
      The remaining boat was lowered, and by taking every precaution, got safely away from the wreck. As it came in through the high breakers, the Indians waded out to their hips in the frigid water to guide the boat to shore. On seeing them come alongside, the Englishmen beat them off with their oars, fearing their savagery. When agent Willoughby saw what was happening he shouted over the roaring tempest, and the astounded castaways ceased their actions. The Indians guided them to shore and cared for their needs as though they members of their tribe. Eventually, all recovered from their frightful experience and were guided on foot to Grays Harbor. There they found passage home.
      The ill-fated SIR JAMSETJEE FAMILY became a total loss within 48-hours after its stranding. Built in 1864, the ship was named for a Parsee nobleman."
Above text
Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast. James A. Gibbs, Jr. 
Binfords & Mort, 1957

❖ WRECKS ❖ Ships I-M (14) ❖ ❖

WRECKS LOG ❖ ❖ Ships I-M.
Work in progress; update 4/2016

American barge, 1,110 t.
Blt. at Mare Is. Navy Yard in 1907 as a square-rigged steam aux. training ship for the U.S. Navy.
Decommissioned in 1921.
According to the photographer the boat wrecked 16 Feb. 1954.
North Beach, nr Long Beach, WA.

Square-Rigger and then a barge on the beach.
Postcards from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

"A number of towed barges were lost during 1954. One of these, the INTREPID, was a clipper-bowed vessel of jaunty lines, her stranding resulting in a wide variety of romantic and imaginative reports as to her origin. This vessel was approaching the mouth of the Columbia R. in company with the oil barge NICHOLS I, both in tow of the tug TIDEWATER SHAVER, when the barges became unmanageable in heavy weather, dragging the tug toward Peacock Spit. The towlines were cut and the TIDEWATER SHAVER crossed the bar safely. The unmanned barges drifted ashore on Long Beach, WA. The graceful lines of the INTREPID made her a mecca for artists, photographers, and tourists. This 185' iron vessel was built at Mare Island Navy Yard in 1907 as a square-rigged steam auxiliary training ships for the U.S. Navy. She was decommissioned in 1921, her boiler being installed in the basement of the Matson Building in San Fran. and the hull going to Honolulu as a sludge barge, operated by the Hawaiian Dredging Co. In 1948 she was sold to the Independent Iron Works.
H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Gordon Newell, Editor. Superior.

ON 219627
5,724 G.t. / 3,504 N.t.
410.5' x 54' x 27.1' blt 1920 S. San Francisco
Capt. Edgar L. Yates
Wrecked: Columbia River bar
12 January 1936
Lost: All hands.

The IOWA, 1936.

From the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Peacock Spit claimed the freighter IOWA and her entire complement of 34 men, 12 January 1936. The tragedy was one of the blackest marks against the Columbia River bar.
      The vessel, owned by the States Steamship Co. was outbound from the river when a gale estimated to have had a velocity of 76-miles per hour, struck. The steamer crossed the bar shortly after midnight and fought against the gale until she was swept on Peacock Spit, early Sunday morning.
      Only one faint S.O.S. message emanated from the IOWA's wireless room, but that was enough to get the USCG cutter ONONDAGA underway. The cutter experienced the worst the bar could offer before it finally came in sight of the wreck. Only the IOWA's masts and samson posts were above the sea and all signs of life had vanished. Massive whirlpools swished around the grave of the ship.
      No survivors, no solution! Nobody will ever know the direct cause that led to the loss of the IOWA because dead men tell no tales. Competent authorities surmised that the vessel was caught broadside by the gale's fury and carried from her course in the main channel through loss of steerage, either by a damaged rudder or injury to her steering engine.
      The IOWA was commanded by Capt. Edgar L. Yates, veteran shipmaster, who was familiar with the Columbia bar, having piloted many ships across its reaches during his seafaring career.
      For days after the wreck, the beaches were strewn with oil smeared lumber, sacks of flour, rope, shingles, matches, and a hundred other items which had been loaded on Puget Sound and at Longview, her final port of departure. Among the wreckage, only six bodies were recovered.

ON 75966
Blt. 1877 Newburyport, MA., by J. Currier, Jr.
1,648 G.t; 1,494 N.t.
Wrecked: 17 April 1911 at Chignik, AK. 
Total loss.


Lost April 1911, Chignik, AK.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

1907 bought by Columbia River Packers for salmon trade.
1910 sold for $13,000 for use as a tender for new cannery (CRP) at Unga.
The full-rigged ship sprang a leak in a violent gale off Chignik on the night of 17 April and was beached to save her cargo. Two other cannery ships at anchor with the HOWES were also blown ashore but were saved and later refloated. HOWES was a total loss.
H. W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest.
Built in 1911 at Seattle.
For Pacific American Fisheries, Bellingham, WA.
Lost 7 July 1913, Lynn Canal, AK

Cannery Tender JACK HORNER
ON 208459
72' x 16.2' x 7.5'
While opposite Funter Bay, the tender, operated by
Pacific American Fisheries at Excursion Inlet,
took fire as a result of the engine's back-firing. The
ten men on board were transferred to the CONCORD.
The JACK HORNER was taken in tow & finally beached at
Point Howard. The vessel was destroyed but the fuel tanks
did not explode, only the water in the engine room burst.
This was one of the largest & best-equipped cannery tenders
in southeast AK.
AK Fishery & Fur-Seal Industries

a few years later.

Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Log©


O.N. 76169
Former Downeast sailing vessel
Blt. 1881 (from; US federal records)
Wrecked: 22 Oct. 1914,
Dall Patch Shoal, Milbanke Sound, B. C. 
Capt. H. A. Frieze


Wrecked in 1914, Milbanke Sound

Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The JAMES DRUMMOND, southbound from Gypsum, AK with a full cargo of gypsum rock for Tacoma. She was in tow of the tug TATOOSH, which made an unsuccessful effort to refloat her, afterward removing the crew, except the captain, and proceeding with them to Puget Sound. Total loss.
      James Griffiths & Co sold her in 1910 to Alaska Barge Co with headquarters in Tacoma. The DRUMMOND was used in transporting cargoes of stone from Waldron Is. (San Juan County) to Grays Harbor jetty.
The H. W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNW.

ON 202687
Built in 1905 by Hall Brothers Yard, Winslow, WA.

The last coastwise lumber vessel built at that historic Puget Sound firm.
837 Gross Tons
521 Net Tons

181.0' x 39.4' x 13.4'
Required a crew of 8.
Signal letters: K.V.D.P.
Homeport of San Francisco, CA.
Lost 1934 at Cypress Point, CA. 

1912: Tugs couldn't get across the bar to help the schooner C.A. THAYER caught in violent seas and fog off Humboldt Bay; the J.B. STETSON succeeded in getting a line aboard and towed the THAYER safely to San Francisco. 

Sold by Pacific Mercantile Marine Co to the AB Johnson Lumber Co.
1927: USCG Revenue Cutter ALGONQUIN was removed from Astoria & sent for rum chasing duties in San Francisco. The following day the J.B. STETSON was dismasted and waterlogged off the Columbia River and barely made port under her own power.
1934: The stranding photo below is listed with her name spelled incorrectly. She was documented as J.B. STETSON.


Lost 3 Sept. 1934, Cypress Point, CA.
Crew saved.

Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
O.N. 76311
Blt 1882, by L. Mortenson and B. H. Hanson, 
San Francisco, CA.
107-t. wooden Schooner 107' x 30.6' x 9.'
Capt. M. G. Kelton, Oakland, CA. 


O.N. 76311

Photo by John Edward Thwaites (1863-1940)
who started his postal clerk position in 1898.

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

Wrecked at East Anchor Cove, Ikatak Pt. on  Unimak Island, AK.
8 Jan. 1908.
Lost: 10 lives.
 The crew of the JOHN F. MILLER was attempting to salvage the 127-t cod schooner GLEN, which had wrecked in East Anchor Cove under similar conditions several months before. Both vessels were owned by Pacific States Trading Co. Survivors were picked up by boats from the fishing station after daylight. Lost were: Harry Hanson, Sweden, Pete Johnson, Norway, Samuel Smith, USA, Charles Stoppy, Finland, C. Flink, Finland, K. Lund of Norway, A. Cristensen, Norway, Gust. Holmlom, Finland, F. Wideken, Germany, C. Nelson, Denmark. The vessel was valued at $6,000 and was carrying a 220-t. cargo of salt and provisions valued at $4,000. All was lost. The insurance on the vessel was $1,500 and there was none of the cargo. Source of data: Alaska Shipwrecks/June 2013.

Owner: Alaska Steamship Co.
Capt. John Johnson
Wrecked: Hunter's Pt., Graham's Is., B.C.
8 Oct. 1923
Loss of life, none.

KENNECOTT, wrecked Graham's Island, B.C.

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Definitely not a joy ride--a crew member comes ashore in a bosun's chair rigged between the wreck of the KENNECOTT and the shore near Hunter's Point, B.C. The freighter, under Capt. John Johnson got off course and stranded en route from Cordova to Tacoma. The Canadian salvage steamer ALGERINE, rushing to the aid of the KENNECOTT, also got ashore on the rocks a few miles south of the scene but escaped with serious bottom damage. The 30-man crew of the KENNECOTT came ashore mostly by breeches buoy, and the ship soon broke in two, drifting away and sinking. Note the distress signal (burning drum of oil) on the fantail of the freighter. Captain Johnson committed suicide after being rescued.
Above text from the Disaster Log of Ships by James A. Gibbs, Jr. Superior.

Captain Johnson, noted for his cheery disposition, was much distressed at the misfortune and the $2,200,000 loss of his ship and her cargo. He was a skilled navigator, who had spent many years in the service of the Alaska Steamship Co.
There is a more personal, detailed account of this event written by R. H. Calkins in High Tide, Marine Digest Publishing Co, 1952. 

O.N. 161140
Capt. W. W. Williamson
Blt 1900 by Wolff & Zwicker, Portland, OR. for Alaska Packers Association (APA)
1,063 G.t. 610 N.t. -- 200.2' x 35.5' x 16'
Wrecked Sisters Rock, Finlayson Channel, BC
26 January 1941, en route from Seattle to Seward, AK.

KVICHAK (161140)

Wrecked Finlayson Channel, BC.
Photographer unknown.

Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
The steamship KVICHAK, converted to diesel power by the APA in 1930, ran hard aground on the rocky shores of Queen Charlotte Sound about 125-miles south of Prince Rupert on 27 January 1941, while under charter to the Navy for transport service to Alaskan bases. Her 23-passengers and part of her 38-man crew were taken off the Navy gunboat CHARLESTON, Capt. W. W. Williamson and a skeleton crew remaining aboard for a time. In subsequent salvage attempts by the Pacific Salvage Co of Victoria, the KVICHAK slipped off the rocks and sank in 90' of water. Despite this setback, work continued; she was finally beached at Prince Rupert in July, having been partially raised and brought to port suspended from four large scows by cables and still submerged to a depth of 35' while being moved. 
Above text from H. W. McCurdy's Marine History of the PNW; Gordon Newell, editor. Superior.

Quaker Line
Capt. Louis Johnson
Wrecked: 16 June 1929
Peacock Spit
Lost; Seaman Russell Smith

Original photo by Charlie Fitzpatrick.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
The eyes and ears of the world were on a 'die-hard' shipmaster who refused to abandon his ship after it had broken in two and was given up as a total loss. His tenacity in remaining with his ship afforded front-page newspaper material, but his role as a hero angered the Coast Guard.
      It all came about in a howling southwester when the Quaker Line operated freighter LAUREL was outbound across the Columbia bar with 7 million ft of lumber destined for New York and Philadelphia.
      As the high seas buffeted the ship, the steering engine became disabled and she was swept on Peacock Spit. Mammoth breakers pounded the vessel unmercifully and calls of distress cracked over the wireless asking immediate assistance. 
      The Coast Guard managed to get a boat over the bar but it was unable to approach the stranded ship. The deck load had been carried overboard and the surf was a solid mass of lumber. In the early morning the steamship broke in two just forward the bridge and a 19-yr old seaman named Russell Smith was carried to his death. The 32 other crew members gathered on the aft half of the vessel to await rescue.

Some survivors of the LAUREL wreck,
taken off by US Coast Guard, when their ship broke 
in two on a reef off the Columbia River.

Original photo © dated 2 July 1929

      Coast Guardsmen rescued all hands, with the exception of Capt. Louis Johnson, who refused to leave his ship despite pleas by the rescue crew. 
      From Cape 'D' a steady watch was maintained over the freighter as the crashing seas licked at her remains. Planes flew over the ship and snapped pictures of the skipper pacing the deck in defiance of the conquering elements. 

For 54-hours he remained on the bridge as another gale hammered the ship, placing his life in grave peril. As the swells rolled across the bar, the forward section of the wreck was carried fully 800' from the after half of the freighter.
      When hope was about to be abandoned for Johnson's life, a white flag suddenly appeared on the ship's bridge indicating that he was ready to come ashore.
      Several hours later the motor lifeboat fought its way to the side of the wreck, and the Captain, bearing the ship's papers, money, and a few personal belongings, slid down a manila rope to the rescue craft.
      Upon reaching shore Johnson was quizzed concerning his refusal to abandon the ship several hours earlier.
      'I didn't want to be a hero, I stayed on what was left of the ship to protect its cargo from salvagers. I had hoped that the after section of the ship would be washed on the beach so salvage would be possible, but the bulkheads gave away which prompted me to fly the white flag.'
      He had kept a fire going the entire time he was aboard the wreck and had sufficient food and water to last him indefinitely. 
      So ended the story of a ship master's vigil and the life of a freighter."
Text from; Pacific Graveyard. James A. Gibbs, Jr. 
Binfords & Mort, 1950

Blt. 1886, Astoria, OR.
Capt. Warren Waterman
Loss of life: one.
Near Ediz Hook, WA.
21 May 1946.

Undated, original photo by the Joe Williamson Salon.
Saltwater People Historical Archives©
Foss Craft Crushed in Heavy Fog

"One crew member was killed and the veteran tugboat MARTHA FOSS sank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca at 5:20 am today when the craft collided in heavy fog with the ferry steamship IROQUOIS of the Puget Sound Navigation Co.
      Nelson Henry Gillette, 51-years old, of Pt. Angeles, the assistant engineer of the MARTHA FOSS, was injured fatally as the bow of the ferry steamship crushed the timbers of the wooden tugboat. Gillette was picked up in the water by a lifeboat from the IROQUOIS but was dead when lifted aboard the ferry. 
      The MARTHA FOSS, under command of Capt. Warren Waterman, was en route from Pt. Angeles to Washington Harbor for a tow of logs. She sank a few minutes after the collision.
      Other members of the crew of the MARTHA FOSS were Jack Mix, mate; Joe Hagen, engineer; Stephen Spang, deckhand; Ray Calderman, deckhand, and F.A. Williams, cook. 
      The collision occurred six miles off Ediz Hook, as the tug was running light, the Coast Guard reported.
      The IROQUOIS struck the MARTHA FOSS amidships. 'Some of the men didn't even have time to grab lifebelts, it happened so quickly,' Dr. McFadden said. 'All were numb and exhausted from exposure in the water for from 15 minutes to half an hour.'
      Those who were not tossed overboard by the impact, leaped from the deck of the tug before the MARTHA FOSS split in two and sank.
      'We had to hold on to anything we could find and some of us swam up to the side of the IROQUOIS and clung there until we were rescued,' a crew member told Dr. McFadden.
      The 88' MARTHA FOSS was launched in Astoria, OR in 1886 and was one of the oldest vessels on the Pacific Coast. The Diesel-powered craft was rebuilt several times and was considered a staunch craft.
      The IROQUOIS, which operates between Seattle, Pt. Angeles, and Victoria, BC, was slightly damaged by the accident. She left Seattle at 11:45 last night."
Unknown Seattle newspaper.

Former names (ex-Hawaiian Standard; Roustabout, in USN service; Penaco.)
Crew of 35.
Capsized at her berth, with no one on board.
10 Sept. 1971
Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, WA.

King-Crab Floating Cannery MERCATOR

capsized at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle.
Sept. 1971.

Original photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Log©

A hugely costly accident to befall a vessel of the commercial fisheries fleet was the capsizing of the 214-ft crab processing vessel MERCATOR, which rolled at a 62-degree angle against the dock at Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, as the vessel was fully loaded and about to depart for Alaska. Those on board were able to scramble to safety as the vessel went over. Pumps were used to remove more than 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which was captured inside floating booms, loaded into tank trucks and hauled away. Salvage diver Leiter Hockett and the Foss salvage crew, headed by Capt. Ben Stickland, were called in to pump out the ship, remove the cargo and right her. Deck cargo included logs, drums of oil, pickup trucks, crab-pots, and other material. Shortly after the MERCATOR rolled over and began taking on water, two explosions occurred in the bow section, caused by moisture reaching two 100-lb cardboard containers of chlorine crystals and generating hydrogen gas. Capt. Strickland and CG Lieutenant Forest Beale entered the vessel's forepeak to remove the three remaining containers of crystals by hand, an experience which Capt. Strickland conceded he would 'prefer not to live over.'
      Damage to the vessel was such that her owners, Pan Alaska Fisheries, sold her to Dave Updike of Northwest Towing and Salvage for $3,500. Total cost of damages to ship and cargo was estimated at more than a million dollars. The MERCATOR was built in 1925 as the diesel-electric tanker HAWAIIAN STANDARD.
H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, (1966-1976.) Edited & signed by Newell, Gordon.

Floating King-crab Processor MERCATOR

Eleven years earlier in 1960 preparing
to depart Seattle for the Kodiak, AK area.
Captain Franklin Thomas and crew of 35.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

1,984 t. German bark
Owned by H.H. Schmidt of Hamburg
North Spit of the Nehalem River, OR.
Capt. L. Westphal
Loss of life: 18.

German bark MIMI, lost 13-14 February 1913

Cropped Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
It all happened when Capt. L. Westphal mistook the Nehalem River for the Columbia River, 54 days out from Callao, in thick weather. She ran hard aground of the north spit of the Nehalem River. MIMI held her composure after hitting the sandy beach, and immediately salvage operations were undertaken. The salvage contract was awarded and work got underway with two four-ton anchors placed well offshore, and barges mounting steam donkey engines to pull the MIMI seaward with steel cables. Against the warnings of Capt. R. Farley, head of the Tillamook Bay Lifesaving Station, the salvagers removed the vessel's 1,300 tons of ballast. Starting at flood tide on 6 April, in the face of storm warnings, against the wishes of Farley, the vessel was inched toward the sea and ultimate disaster.

German bark MIMI

photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

      With 14 of the German crew aboard (three jumped ship in fear the night before,) and a number of wreckers, the tall MIMI was inched out through the breakers. Suddenly she began to roll severely and capsized trapping all aboard inside a steel coffin. Despite three unsuccessful runs by Farley's surfboat, the welter of wreckage and huge surf prevented him from reaching the vessel. Throughout the night a vigil was kept but the breakers mounted to 30-ft. Eighteen lives were lost, and only four saved, including Capt. Westphal, Capt. Fisher and two crew. Capt. Farley was unjustly blamed for cowardice by many onlookers.
Disaster Log of Ships. Gibbs, Jim; Bonanza. 

Archived Log Entries