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The.West.Coast.Trail

Recommended This Week

Shipwrecks on the West Coast Trail

Shipwrecks of the West Coast Trail - A Summary

Shipwrecks in the order you will encounter them on the West Coast Trail from the Pachena trailhead

At about 5k into the West Coast Trail from the Pachena trailhead look out to the ocean and you will spot the aptly named Seabird Rocks.  This almost island marks the final resting place of two West Coast Trail shipwrecks.  The Alaskan shipwreck lays at the bottom of the ocean about 300 metres to the right of the rocks and the Soquel shipwreck (misspelled Sequel on some WCT maps) lies under the water just past the rocks.  The Alaskan was a small, wooden hulled steamship of 150 tons built in Oregon in 1886.  She was owned by a Vancouver freight company and was enroute to Barkley Sound with 100 tons of box shooks (metal fittings to construct wooden crates).

The Alaskan Shipwreck

The Alaskan was last seen from Pachena Point apparently unable to round Cape Beale due to high winds she had turned back.  Though distress flares were seen, no one witnessed its destruction and she evidently sunk killing the entire crew of 11.  Three bodies washed ashore with considerable debris on the beaches west of Pachena Point.

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The Soquel Shipwreck

The Soquel shipwreck which lies just past the Seabird Rocks was a much larger ship then the Alaskan at 698 tons.  She was a four masted schooner built in San Francisco, California in 1902.  She was sailing with ballast from Callao, Peru, heading for Port Townsend (near Seattle), when bad weather and high seas carried her far off course.  The captains wife and daughter were killed by falling spars as two of the ships masts came crashing down.

The next morning daylight revealed the the Soquel on Seabird Rocks and a steam ship with a lifesaving crew from Bamfield was sent to rescue survivors.  The single ship was unable to help anyone until another steamer arrived and both ships working together managed to pull 5 people off the reefs before the daylight faded.  The next morning calmer seas enable the rescue the remaining survivors as well as the two dead bodies.

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The Sarah Shipwreck

At about 7k into the West Coast Trail you will come to the shipwreck of the Sarah hidden under the waves near the shoreline.  This three masted barque of 1206 tons, built in Nova Scotia in 1874.  This British ship was sailing from the Philippines, heading for the Puget Sound.  The captain sighted the recently built Carmanah Point Lighthouse and mistook it for the Tatoosh Island Lighthouse.  The ocean current had moved the ship considerably far north and when unexpected breakers were heard, the ships anchors were dropped.  But it was too late, the Sarah ran aground on the shore of what is now the West Coast Trail.  Over the next two days the crew of 18 and the captain's wife and baby managed to get ashore safely with the exception of two crew drowning.

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