BOWHEAD (1884) The 533 ton steam whaling bark Bowhead was lost on August 11, 1884 at Blossom Shoals near Icy Cape. She had departed San Francisco December 16, 1883 bound for a whaling voyage in the Arctic. The crew had made the Bowhead fast to ground ice to clean her boilers when she was struck and holed by a piece of drifting ice. She sank quickly. The crew was rescued by the vessels Narwhal and Balaena nearby. Some of the cargo of whale oil, bone and whaling station supplies was salvaged but the Bowhead, said to be worth more than $100,000, was lost.
Mapping and Location : Northern Alaska 70 23 N 161 57 W
Sources : 1. U S Revenue Cutter Service 1867-1914 Microcopy 641 (1966), 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaska Shelf and Shore (1992)
BRAMIN (1851) The 245 ton whaling bark Bramin was lost September 25, 1851 about 100 miles from East Cape while on a whaling voyage in the Arctic. The Bramin had suffered a collision with the whaling bark Adeline during a heavy northeasterly snowstorm and sustained a crippling blow. The following are excerpts from an accounting given in a letter by her first officer Gilbert Baden published in 1852:
“On the 7th of Sept., the Bramin was driven on the south-west shore of the Arctic Ocean in a gale of wind, about 100 miles from East Cape. On the 25th, at 3 o’clock, A.M., while lying too in a gale under close reefed main and mizzen top-sails, wind from the North heading East North-East, the weather being thick with snow.” “We saw a ship on our lee bow under a heavy press of canvass standing directly for us, and before the wheel could be put up or other precautions taken, she came into us with a heavy crash, carrying away starboard anchor, ship’s head and head-frame, foretop gallant and royal masts, jib, flying jibs and booms, all head stays, martingale, shrouds and gear belonging to the bowsprit, and rendering it useless….leaving us in a leaky and unmanageable condition.” “We wore ship and made what sail we could. It was so thick we could see no land. We saw the ship that had run into us at anchor, proving to be the Adeline, of New Bedford. She was in a bad or even a worse condition than ourselves.” “…on the morning of the 27th, the fog clearing, we found ourselves close upon a lee shore three or four miles from land in an open bay, the gale increasing. We found we could not head out on either tack, and were drifting fast upon the breakers which were mast-head high. We concluded to stand along as near the other ship as we could, let go our anchors and stand our chance with the rest.” “….when the ship gave an uncommonly heavy plunge, and parted the chain, and with it destroyed our last and only hope of saving the ship, it being time to look out for ourselves. We got the boats ready, all hands got into them, and with much danger shoved off from the ship, being close by the breakers. We dared not stop to get a second suit, but were glad to escape with our lives. After much toil and trouble we arrived on board the Adeline”
The estimated value of the Bramin and her cargo of whale oil and bone was $20,000
Mapping and Location : Northern Alaska 68 15 N 169 52 W
Sources : 1. New Bedford Mercury / New York Times January 20, 1853, 2. Shipwrecks of the Alaska Shelf and Shore (1992)