Shipwrecks

It has been said that there is a wrecked ship for every mile of coast along the Graveyard of the Pacific. This is probably a low estimate, for we often know of the large vessels that met with tragedy, but rarely of small craft lost to the rocks and breakers.

This relatively short list of vessels is intended to give a sense of the variety and the scope of Vancouver Island shipwrecks. Some of them are working tugs or lumber barges, some are freighters. There are Canadian and foreign vessels, war ships and passenger ferries. The ocean does not distinguish between them.

In many cases, all the information we have is the name of the vessel and where it sank. Sometimes newspaper stories or insurance records yield more details, but sometimes not. There are many mysteries and many questions to ask of the Pacific about these Vancouver Island shipwrecks.

Like all great adventures, life on the ocean gives us champions to admire and cowards to despise. The Boston, Tonquin and Lord Western date back to the early years of trade and exploration by Americans and Europeans around Vancouver Island. The USS Suwanee and the USS Saranac wrecks involve dramatic encounters with coastal geography. The Ericsson was once an engineering wonder, and the HMS Condor presents a genuine shipwreck mystery. The losses of the Carelmapu and the Valencia are tragic and mysterious tales and the Uzbekistan and the Vanlene wrecks are examples of how even modern freighters are not safe from the rough coast. We can share in these stories as they take us above and below the ocean.

 

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