A Long, Dangerous Coastline: Shipwreck Tales from Alaska to California
On September 8, 1923, a convoy of 14 U.S. Navy destroyers raced astern into the Santa Barbara Channel off California's coast in darkness and thick fog. Minutes later seven of the ships crashed one after another into jagged rocks, and 23 sailors died that night. Only five years before, a Canadian passenger ship steamed blind down Alaska's Lynn Canal in a late-night snowstorm. She was en route from Skagway to Vancouver when she ran up on Vanderbilt Reef, only four hours into her voyage. Less than two days later she slid off the reef and sank, taking more than 350 people to their deaths. The west coast of North America has some of the world's most beautiful scenery along its thousands of miles of bays, coves and forbidding cliffs, but it's often subjected to ferocious storms that play havoc with shipping. Here are stories of ships that met tragic ends-Brother Jonathan, Princess Sophia, Benevolence, Star of Bengal, Columbia and others-and the passengers and crews who found themselves in extreme danger on this long, dangerous coastline.
The Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwreck Tales from the Depths of History On January 22, 1906, the passenger ship Valencia lost her way in heavy fog and rain and rammed into the deadly rocks at Pachena Point on the west coast of Vancouver Island. As the wreck was shattered by the pounding waves, the survivors clung desperately to the rigging. Few made it the short distance to shore through the frigid and turbulent waves-117 of the 164 souls aboard perished. A year earlier, the King David had been wrecked on Bajo Reef near Nootka Sound. The fate of her sailors was much more mysterious. Today, the magnificent Pacific coastline of Vancouver Island draws hikers, surfers and storm-watchers to marvel at its natural splendor. But the ghosts of the "Valencia," "King David", "Janet Cowan," "Pacific," "Soquel" and dozens of other lost ships still haunt the rugged shores of the Graveyard of the Pacific. Anthony Dalton tells the incredible stories of many of these ships and their courageous crews, who often discovered that their nightmares had only begun once they made it ashore.