Week 30 in Alaska Maritime History July 23 – July 29

Summer is a relatively calm time of year and shipwrecks are less frequent. Small boat accidents are more common and tragically sometimes multiple family members are involved. Such was the case July 25, 1976 when the 34 foot wooden gasoline powered salmon troller Miller’s Bay disappeared near Noyes Island with three family members aboard, including Robert West (31), his wife Judy (30) and their 14 year old daughter Brenda.

The number of fires increases during the summer with the increased number of small vessels active in recreation and fisheries. The maritime community is also plagued with similar tragedies when canneries and packing plants are lost to a similar fate. Several lost during week 30 are as follows:

July 25, 1921 the Libby McNeil and Libby salmon cannery at Kenai was destroyed by fire with an estimated loss of $300,000.

July 26, 1924 the Alaska Sanitary Packing Company cannery at Wrangell was destroyed by fire. The loss was estimated to be $200,000.

July 28, 1916 the Nakat cannery near Ketchikan owned by the Humes Interest was destroyed by fire. Only a few hundred cases of salmon had been packed.

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Weekly Alaska Maritime History for Week 29

We are in the middle of the 29th week of the year, which by my reckoning covers July 16th to July 22nd. I have decided to post a weekly accounting of the significant maritime events of each week in Alaska history that I have run across in my research. The three that stand out for the 29th week of the year are as follows:

July 18, 1935     The wood hulled gas screw Bessie M caught fire Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. while at the float dock at Excursion Inlet.  No one was on board at the time.   The vessel was towed away from the dock and a hole was chopped in her side subsequently sinking the Bessie M and “checking the flames”.  Because of the sinking, her engine and the lower part of the hull were saved.  The cause of the blaze has been attributed to “gas fumes”. I am including this small event because there is a lesson that many mariners should pay attention to. Literally hundreds of vessels have burned and become total losses in the Alaska marine environment without the simple action that was taken to stop the flames and save this boat. The Bessie M was put it in “Wet Storage” until she could be re-floated and the damage repaired. This method is seldom thought of in the heat of the moment. Another example I have in my files is of a vessel owner who puts out an engine room fire by blasting holes in the hull below the waterline with his shotgun.

July 19, 1903 the Kenai salmon cannery owned by Pacific Packing and Navigation Company was destroyed by fire. Once owned by Pacific Steam Whaling Company, the cannery could produce 60,000 cases of salmon a season. There was enough insurance to cover the loss.

July 20, 1784 an unknown Japanese junk out of Shiroko wrecked on Amchitka after drifting more than 7 months. The following is an excerpt from a letter written February 26, 1791 to Count Aleksandr R Vorontsov by Kyrill Laksman detailing the plight of Japanese castaways rescued in the Aleutians by Russian Promyshlenniks:

“On December 13, 1783, seventeen Japanese men sailed out from the town of Shiroko to trade in the capitol city of Yedo.  At the halfway point of their voyage they, like many similar vessels, stopped to spend the night in Semioda Bay.  During a violent windstorm another vessel hit them and broke off their rudder.  Without the rudder they had to cut the mast, and thus they drifted at the mercy of the waves for more than seven months, drifting in various directions.  At last on July 20, 1784 they came to the Aleutian Island of Amisachka where they dropped anchor and went ashore in a small boat.  They found seven Aleut men there who were hunting wild geese.  The Aleuts invited the five Japanese into their earthen iurts and gave them cooked goose and fish to eat.  Toward evening Russian promyshlenniks came to the island from a vessel which had been wrecked on the island, a vessel which belonged to the Totma merchant, Khodilov.  The Russians went to the Japanese vessel and spent the night in a cabin on shore, but during the night there was a storm at sea and the anchor broke away on some sharp rocks underwater.  The ship was cast adrift and then was wrecked on the coast.  Thus, deprived of their last hope, the men had to remain on that island for three years and a month, during which time the Russian promyshlenniks used planks from their wrecked vessel, and the remains of the Japanese vessel, which had been built of redwood and camphor, to build a new vessel.  In September of 1787 they took the remaining nine Japanese men with them to Nizhnekamchatsk ostrog.  Seven of the Japanese had died while they were on the Aleutian Island, and an eighth was killed during a storm at sea”

 

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ALASKA SHIPWRECKS eBook

ALASKA SHIPWRECKS: 1750 – 2010 is now available as an eBook. It can be purchased for $5.99 at Lulu.com by following this link:

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

It will soon be available at Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple I-Bookstore, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and others. This is the 2nd Edition and has pertinent additional information. There are over 1,000 new names  including a list of 458 passengers and crew lost from the Princess Sophia tragedy of 1918. All of the information on this site is condensed into an ebook to make it a ready reference for anyone interested in ALASKA SHIPWRECKS. Proceeds from the sale of this ebook will be used to perpetuate this website and initiate a non-profit foundation to take that duty over when I am no longer able. Smooth Sailing…Captain Warren Good.

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PRINCESS SOPHIA passenger list

One of the primary functions of this website is remembering not just the vessels lost in Alaskan waters but the people lost with them. That information is not just historically interesting, it is important to families and their descendants when a loved one is lost to maritime disaster in Alaska. With that in mind,  I have posted a new, never before seen list of 461 names of people that may have been lost when the Princess Sophia sank in 1918. The official counts vary from 343 to 356 persons lost.  The Sophia is Alaska’s worst maritime disaster to date.  There were no survivors, with the exception of one of the passenger’s dog. What I have done to to arrive at such a large number of people lost relative to the official count is to include all names that were published as passengers or crew lost when the vessel went to the bottom. I used newspaper publications from Alaska, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. I also included the most comprehensive list published in book form. None of those lists appear to have ever been complete. There are just too many names. Many of the names on my list are of people whose bodies were identified but never included in the official count.  This list is unofficial and likely incomplete, but may prove helpful for locating a missing ancestor. Now that the list is published online, the names will come up in searches.  For the complete list go to the A to Z section and pick the letter P. Once there scroll down to PRINCESS SOPHIA. At the end of the list is a link to download the complete list, color coded and in .pdf format.

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2016 ALASKA SHIPWRECKS Calendar

The 2016 ALASKA SHIPWRECKS Calendars are available for order at LULU.com. I have added more eye popping photos and jaw dropping descriptions. Order early and avoid the Christmas Rush. Here is the link where you can review the calendar and order copies:Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

This is the upper page from January 2016:2016 January2 copy

The lower page gives details of the most significant Alaska Shipwreck for each day of the month.

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2015 ALASKA SHIPWRECKS: 1750-2010

Welcome to alaskashipwreck.com. Navigation buttons are on the top and right side of each page. This site is primitive but I am just an old geezer on social security. I am Captain Warren Good and this information represents 35 or 40 years worth of research. My new book, just released in January of 2015, is now available directly from the printer, LULU.com. It is 728 pages and covers all the shipwrecks I have been able to find, around 3,642. Most of the book is an alphabetical list of all the wrecks with detailed information about each one. There is also a year by year accounting beginning in 1750 covering 260 years. Following that is a year by year list of all the people who have been lost at sea since 1972. I put that in because many were friends and acquaintances from the decades that I was active in the Alaska commercial fishing industry. At the end of the book is a bibliography and glossary. I hope you find this website informative and stop by LULU and preview ALASKA SHIPWRECKS: 1750-2010.  I am also looking for help in getting a copy of this book to all of the public libraries in Alaska. If you are interested in helping, please click below:

Smooth Sailing….Captain Warren Good

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Books and Calendars at the Alaska Shipwreck Store

The 2015 ALASKA SHIPWRECK CALENDAR is now available for purchase in the Shipwreck Store on the right. It is being printed on demand at LULU.com. There have been over 3,650 recorded shipwrecks in Alaska history. Captain Warren Good has taken the most significant 10% and chronicled each on the day of their loss. He has also written a short description of the largest disaster of each month and put together two dozen photographs of other important wrecks. Photographs were acquired from the Library of Congress, United States Coast Guard, Captain Good’s personal collection and from contributors to the alaskashipwreck.com website and Alaska Fishermen RIP on facebook. Thanks to those of you who sent them in. Please allow time for the calendar to be printed and shipped when you order. Christmas and New Year are right around the corner so do not wait too long. Previews of the ALASKA SHIPWRECKS books and calendar are available at LULU as well as the prices and shipping cost. Just click and follow the links in the Alaska Shipwreck Store in the right column.

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ALASKA SHIPWRECKS now available in three volumes

All three volumes of ALASKA SHIPWRECKS are now available in paperback at a discount directly from the printer. Links to Lulu and the three first edition volumes are in the right hand column. Prices and previews are available for each at Lulu. Order early if you want to beat the Christmas rush.

 

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The ALASKA SHIPWRECKS book on CD

Welcome to alaskashipwreck.com.  This Alaska Shipwreck web site is loaded with information, stories, details and comments about all of the shipwrecks known to have taken place on the waters in and near Alaska.  Most of the information is new to the public, particularly the names of those lost and other important facts.  Knowing the details of past shipwrecks can help prevent future shipwrecks.  The ALASKA SHIPWRECKS book on CD, available in the right hand column, is a concentration of all of the information on this site.  The book is not yet in print.   The ALASKA SHIPWRECK CD is a digital copy of the ALASKA SHIPWRECK Book before final edit.  There are no pictures and it is in pdf format, which is common to most computers and other digital devices. If you require html,  jpeg or some other format, please contact me. I respond immediately.  Email warren@alaskashipwreck.com

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The ALASKA SHIPWRECKS Book

The reference book ALASKA SHIPWRECKS is now available for purchase in digital format.  Just click the link on the right hand side of this page that says ALASKA SHIPWRECKS book.  It is an 864 page 10 MB download that condenses all of the information available on this website into a pdf file reference book for personal use.   Most of the information detailed in this volume has never before been available to the general public.  The book that can be downloaded here is in pdf format.  There are 3,624 Alaska Shipwrecks listed alphabetically A to Z and chronologically from 1750 to 2011.  The wrecks include names, places, people and other information of interest. Many wrecks have first hand stories of the disasters. There is a list toward the back of the book with the names of all people lost in maritime accidents from 1972 to 2009.  These also have supporting information.  This list includes all of the fishermen lost in the boom years of the crab industry.  I have downloaded ALASKA SHIPWRECKS to my cell phone, a Samsung smart phone, and was able to do word searches. I did a phrase search of the Month and Day of my birthday and found 33 shipwrecks that happened that same Month and Day.

For those of you who use the ALASKA SHIPWRECKS book on a digital device with applications or software, more informational searches can be done depending on what you are using.  The file available here on alaskashipwreck.com is in Adobe pdf format which is compatible with most systems.  A free copy of Adobe Reader can be downloaded from the internet in many places.  In Adobe Reader there is a drop-down menu on the find box that allows you to use a full reader search.  This counts and list all of your hits when you do a search and displays them alongside whichever one you are reviewing.  For example, if you search Shelikof Strait it tells you you have 52 instances where that phrase is found and lists them all with a few introductory words from each.  That is displayed in a column on the right side of the page and the first item on the list is displayed on the left.  You simply highlight an item on the list to the right and that item shows up on the left.  You can search things like canned salmon or copper ore and find out what boats sank carrying that cargo.  You can search a family name such as Petersen and find how many Petersens survived, were lost, owned or had something to do with a shipwreck.  You can search a location like Middleton Island and find all the boats that were lost at that location.  Oddly enough even words like sea serpent or moose have shipwrecks that involve those creatures.

The possible uses for ALASKA SHIPWRECKS in digital format are endless.  A much larger version with pictures and revisions will be available in print some time in the future.

Web Alaska Shipwrecks Cover copy smaller

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