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LIST OF SHIPWRECKS NEAR KODIAK ISLAND Part I

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Shipwreck

EDITOR’S NOTE: This list includes Kodiak fishing vessels that have disappeared during the past two centuries. Many of the non-Kodiak ships that capsized near Kodiak Island had deckhands who were island residents.

Captain Warren Good’s original list includes mapping, locations, GPS coordinates and sources for each entry. Those are not included in the Daily Mirror’s listing for brevity. This listing also does not include the vessels swallowed by a massive tidal wave spawned by the magnitude 9.2 earthquake that hit Kodiak on March 27, 1964.

We are publishing this list to pay homage to the brave crewmen whose families continue to seek closure.

ADDINGTON (1972) The 40 ton 54 foot wooden oil screw fishing vessel Addington foundered May 27, 1972 near Cape Uganik in the Shelikof Strait. Skipper Melvin Torson of Kodiak , Leonard Niemi of Anchorage and John Cheplak of Kodiak were lost with the vessel.

ADRIANA (2005) The 50 foot salmon seiner Adriana lost her reduction gear, drifted ashore and broke apart February 9, 2005 approximately 50 yards off of Cape Trinity on the south end of KodiakIsland. The four men and one of two dogs that were on board were able to reach the beach with onlyminor injuries and mild hypothermia. A second dog, Kodi, was lost attempting to make shore.

AKUTAN (1968) The oil screw Akutan stranded and was lost March 23, 1968 at Kodiak.

ALBATROSS (1964) The 73 ton 60 foot wooden oil screw fishing vessel Albatross was reported lostin the Good Friday earthquake of March 27, 1964 at Kodiak.

ALBERT WALTER (1893) On Saturday Sept. 23, 1893 the American wood schooner Albert Walter of 44 tons burden left Kodiak, Alaska bound for Lange Island, but at 5:00 p.m. “missed stays and drifted on the rocks”, at “north, northeast point several miles from Kodiak.” In the wreck report filed by the coowner, Julius Christiansen, remarks as follows: “At 5 p.m. wind became light, vessel missed staid, striking the rocks and carrying away rudder and centerboard. Lowered the anchors and run out kedge. Heavy swells. At 8 p.m. vessel was unsafe to remain by and all hands left her.”

Comment: Lange Island mentioned is probably Long Island just northeast of Kodiak.

ALERT (1985) The 94-foot steel fishing vessel Alert disappeared with all hands Feb. 14, 1985 near Bumble Bay in the Shelikof Strait. The vessel was mid‐water trawling for Pollack in the ShelikofStrait with several other vessels when the wind and tide direction shifted simultaneously causing a rapidincrease in wind and wave height and a substantial decrease in temperature. The Alert was last seenmaking heavy ice and was reported heading toward Bumble Bay on the southwest side of Kodiak Island. All that was found during an intense search in the days that followed was a slight oil slick in the area where the Alert was last reported. Lost with the Alert were her skipper and owner Mel Wick, 42, ofKodiak, Sean Heaney, 25, of Kodiak, Ray Basel, 42, of Kodiak, Paul Rowe, 18, of Ballard, and SverninBen‐Adalsteinson, 42, of Edmonds.

ALEUTIAN (1957) The 57-ton 62-foot wooden oil screw fishing vessel Aleutian was destroyed by a storm July 16, 1957 on Chiniak Rock, Kodiak.

ALEXANDRA (1897) At 1 p.m. on Dec. 22, 1897 during a stormy gale, the American wood schooner Alexandra dragged anchor and became a total loss. The casualty occurred at Goose Island(one of the Geese Islands at the southwest end of Kodiak Island) where the vessel had been out of commission for two years. The three crewmembers responsible for the vessel escaped without injury.

Comments: H W McCurdy has this wreck listed the same day the same place one year later with10 men lost. Goose Island is more commonly called Aiaktalik Island.

ALSKA (1999) The 63 foot steel long line cod fishing vessel Alska capsized in severe weather andsank March 12, 1999 in Hallo Bay on the Alaska Peninsula west of Kodiak Island. A U S Coast GuardHelicopter was able to rescue three of the crewmembers. A fourth was taken aboard the fishing vesselT‐Mike. There was no loss of life.

AMERICAN WAY (2009) The 38-foot fishing vessel American Way ran up on the rocks Jan. 4,2009 at Aghiyuk Island southwest of Kodiak Island. Both crewmembers were rescued in 58-mile an hourwinds and driving snow along a rocky shoreline next to 300 foot cliffs. Commander Shawn Tripp, aircraftcommander, Lt. David McCown, pilot, Aviation Maintenance Technician 1st Class Dennis Dewinter, flightmechanic and Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Eric Stoecker, rescue swimmer all received theAmerican Helicopter Society’s prestigious William J Kossler Award for their heroism in the rescue.

ANDREA MARIE (1998) The 39-foot vessel Andrea Marie caught fire and was abandoned Dec.22, 1998 near Kodiak.

ANGLO SAXON (1905) On Nov. 4, 1905 the 46 foot wooden gas screw steamer Anglo Saxonstranded at Chiniak on Kodiak Island and became a total loss. The two men on board were lost with thevessel.

AVOS (1808) The Russian Company tender Avos was lost in 1808 in Bay of Islands on her way fromKodiak to Sitka.

B M CO NO 2 (1937) The 321 ton wood barge B.M. Co. No. 2 was lost with almost all of her 20 tonsof cargo on June 1, 1937 when she broke loose and stranded on Hinchinbrook Island, 30 miles east ofCape Hinchinbrook, in a heavy gale. She was being towed from Anacortes, Washington to Alitak, on thesouth end of Kodiak Island, with a load of fishing gear, lumber and oils valued at $6,500. Captain Parkerof the Shively Tug Boat Company of Seattle was at the helm of the Georgia which was towing the B. M.Co. No. 2 when her tow line broke in a 75 mile an hour gale. The barge, valued at $10,000, was a totalloss but some of the cargo was salvaged.

BANSHEE (1977) The 11-ton, 29-foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Banshee stranded and was lostduring 1977 on Kodiak Island.

BARRACUDA (1963) The 10-ton, 36-foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Barracuda stranded andwas lost Feb. 7, 1963 at Split Rock near Ouzinkie. Two persons on board; Agnes Stump and MikeBrehken washed overboard and were lost. Skipper Lucky Eckenburg was the only survivor. He walkedthe 10 miles of rugged beach back to Kodiak surviving his third shipwreck.

BIG VALLEY (2005) The 92 foot Opilio crab fishing vessel Big Valley sank January 15, 2005 approximately 78 miles west of Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea. An EPIRB signal was picked up at the U S Coast Guard Station in Kodiak at 7:15 a.m. and search and rescue began immediately. Four hourslater a life raft was found with one survivor; Cache Seel (30) of Kodiak. Subsequent searches and investigations revealed that the other five crewmen of the Big Valley were lost. They included owner and captain Gary Edwards (46) of Kodiak, Danny Vermeersch of Belgium, Josias Hernandez Luna (48) ofAnchorage, Carlos Rivero (30) of Uraguay and Aaron Marrs (27) of Nashville TN.

BYZANTIUM (1871) The 179 ton brig Byzantium was lost October 19, 1871 after striking a reef inWeynton Passage in Johnstone Strait. The vessel was on a whaling cruise to the north with captain Thomas Welcome Roys at the helm. She slipped off of the reef and sank in 60 fathoms of water.

CAPE BARNABAS (1964) The 10 ton 29 foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Cape Barnabas wasdestroyed by a tidal wave March 27, 1964 on Kodiak Island.

CHIRIKOF (1968) The oil screw crab fishing vessel Chirikof foundered February 29, 1968 off of Kodiak Island. All three crewmembers escaped to a skiff. They did not have time to grab oars and drifted untilspotted the following day by the Alaska Steamship Company freighter Chena. The three men were toohypothermic to climb the Jacob’s ladder of the Chena so the U S Coast Guard was called and the cutterConfidence responded to rescue the men.

COMMANDER (1980) The 75 foot wooden trawler Commander disappeared with all handsNov. 21, 1980 on the way from Seattle to Kodiak with four persons on board. The vessel was lastseen 30 miles off of Cape Spencer heading into 30‐35 foot swells and 80 knot winds. Wreckage wasspotted on the beach 27 miles south of Yakutat. Lost were four family members, including PhilipEdwards and his son Philip Jr; his brother John Edwards and his nephew Sam Bissett.

COUGAR (1946) The 43 ton 59 foot wooden gas screw fishing vessel Cougar foundered July 22, 1946four miles off Rocky Point in the Shelikof Strait. She had departed Karluk with 20,000 fish bound forKodiak. The vessel took on water in the engine room, split open and sank stern first. Threecrewmembers and seven passengers were lost with the vessel including captain Irving Glen Palmer ofTacoma WA, deckhand Ray Lawson of Aberdeen WA, engineer A G Sturman of Bellingham WA, LoisMueller of Denver CO and the Alaska Native Service, Lorraine Habch, Mrs. Amund Taylor (on her way tohave a child), Lester Knagin and Willie Roft. Names of three others lost were not known including awaitress from Carmel, a man from Carmel and a commercial fisherman. Harold Aga of Larson Baysurvived 11 hours clinging to a gas tank. He was rescued by a passing fishing vessel, taken to a nearbycannery and flown to the hospital in Kodiak.

CRUISER (1991) The 32 foot long line fishing vessel Cruiser burned and sank September 20, 1991 offof Marmot Island near Kodiak. The one person aboard was rescued.

DAKOTA (2002) The 50 foot seine fishing vessel Dakota burned September 25, 2002 in Izhut Bay onAfognak Island. The two crewmembers aboard escaped by skiff to the beach. A U S Coast GuardHelicopter responded to their distress call and transported them to Kodiak.

DANIELLE (1983) The vessel Danielle was lost February 16, 1983 on the rocks near Shuyak Islandnorth of Kodiak.

DAUNTLESS (1973) The 91 foot halibut and crab fishing vessel Dauntless disappeared with all handson a trip from Ketchikan to Kodiak. The vessel left Ketchikan October 16, 1973 and was never seenagain. Lost were skipper Arne Madsen, Trond Loken, John Qvilaug and Kaare Alexsas.

DELAWARE (1931) The 32 ton gas screw Delaware struck a submerged object Sunday June 14, 1931at 6:15 p.m. and sank. The casualty occurred 18 miles north of the Barren Islands while on a trip fromDaylight Harbor in Shuyak Strait to Seldovia. The Delaware had 4 crew aboard and 4.5 tons of cargoincluding barreled salt, ballast and tools. The following is an account given in the Casualty Report filedby master John McKnab August 1, 1931:

“Moderate easterly breeze, foggy, daylight.” “About 18 miles north from Barren Isl. Entrance toCook Inlet…Struck submerged object. Submerged object broke through hull.” “After striking this objectthe vessel leaked faster than we could pump. We abandoned her in a sinking condition at 7:20 p.m. Atthe rate the water was coming in she could not have floated longer than ½ hour. Owing to fog we did not see her sink but the air tank and skylight hatch were picked up on the beach in Kamishak Bay 8 dayslater.”

The Delaware, valued at $5,000 and her cargo were lost but the crew survived.

DESTINY (2000) The 96 foot steel crab fishing vessel Destiny flooded and sank in 90 fathoms ofwater April 20, 2000 northwest of Rocky Point on the west side of Kodiak Island. All five crewmembersdonned survival suits and abandoned ship to the life raft. They were rescued by the vessel Polar Star.

DIRECTOR (1924) The 18 ton wooden gas screw Director ran aground during a storm at 10:00 p.m. March 2, 1924 on Hinchinbrook Island and was lost. The crew of 4 had departed Cordova the day beforefor deep sea fisheries. Captain George Walley gives this account in the wreck report filed March 6 :“Strong gale; dark night; snowing. Wind 80 miles hr. S. E.” “Were sounding, last depth 20fathoms, struck before knew where I was.” “Between Shelter Bay and Bear Point” “Ran aground insnow storm; heavy sea; blowing SE gale…Storm continuing, broke up.” “Ga. S Waif stood by 3/4/24 but vessel breaking up. … Abandoning wreck, recovering what gearpossible.”

=The Director was valued at $3,000 and her stores and fuel at $800; both lost no insurance. Thecrew survived the accident.

DISCOVERY (1903) The 209 ton wood steamer Discovery is “supposed to have been lost during thenight of Nov. 1, 1903.” The vessel departed Yakutat November 1, 1903 with about 14 passengersand about 16 crewmembers. She was never heard from again. The following are excerpts from thewreck report filed at Port Townsend, Washington by B Hasting, President of the DiscoveryTransportation Company who owned the Discovery:

“Supposed to be between Yakutat and Cross Sound.” “Supposed to have foundered. Heavygale from ENE with southeast & southwest cross sea running. Wind 60 mi.; dark night”

“Revenue Cutter Rush was sent from Sitka after some weeks, but found no tidings. Since thenreport comes of Indians finding hull of vessel. This has not been confirmed. Parties coming from CapeYakataga to Kayak, in November report finding doors, windows, and broken parts of steamers house onbeach, also life preservers marked Str Discovery. This is same way the Discovery life preservers weremarked.” “We are convinced the Discovery is lost with all hands on board. The exact time and how theaccident occurred will never be known.”

According to the wreck report, along with the Discovery an estimated 30 passengers and crewwere lost including J W McGrath, Charles Mokler, Ed Nord, Guy Trolford, Ed Van Dice, R Price, Christ

Judson, Shady, A Dergin, William Dangerfield, Albert R Cassell, Robert Carlson, Hans; Joe Birry andwife, Captain Seabery and George Powell. The Discovery was valued at $24,000 at the time of the lossand was insured for $12,000.

Other reports of the fate of the Discovery claim that all but one of the passengers who hadstarted with the vessel at Nome, had quit the trip at Unga and Kodiak claiming that the Discovery wasnot seaworthy. The remaining 26 persons aboard, mostly crew, were lost with the vessel somewherebetween Middleton Island and Cross Sound. One questionable report from a claimed survivor has thevessel striking an iceberg at Cross Sound. The cabin of the Discovery was reported found in August of1904, storm ravaged and buried in beach sand on Middleton Island.

DISCOVERY (1926) The 17 ton wooden gas screw fishing vessel Discovery hit a rock in ChathamStraits on the morning of Aug. 4, 1926 and sank. The crew of four survived the casualty but the Discovery valued at $3,000 was lost along with 10 tons ($800 worth) of fresh caught salmon. The rockthat punched the hole in the Discovery was said to be “On Kingamill shore…Chatham Strait.”

DOLPHIN (1977) The 38-ton, 41-foot steel oil screw fishing vessel Dolphin foundered November 11,1977 in Marmot Bay, Kodiak Island.

ELIZAVETA (1805) The Russian vessel Elizaveta (Zakharii I Elizaveta) was wrecked between Kodiakand Sitka (New Archangel) December of 1805.

ELVA V (1973) The 45 foot wooden crabber Elva V struck a rock near Kodiak and was lost Sept.27, 1973. The three crewmembers on board escaped to a skiff and were able to paddle to a nearbybeach, land and build a fire. They were subsequently rescued by a passing Dungeness crab boat.

ELWOOD (1895) The schooner Elwood stranded and was lost at Gardiner’s Point November 1, 1895. The vessel departed Seattle September 1, 1895 bound for Kodiak and Cook Inlet. Adrian F Gorton, a Swedish sailor, was lost attempting to make shore. Captain E E Wyman and the rest of the crew managed to reach land clinging to the wreckage of the Elwood.

EPIC (1978) The 137 ton 72 foot steel oil screw crab fishing vessel Epic rolled over and sank off thesouth end of Kodiak Island the evening of Nov. 4, 1978. Four of five crewmembers of the Epic were lost. Among the four lost were captain Reed Hiner of Kodiak, Gene Roberts of Cutter CA, MattGravinski of Dixon CA and Bob Waage of Kodiak. The sole survivor was Richard Majdic of Kodiak whowas found clinging to the overturned hull of the Epic.

ESKIMO (1956) The 61 ton 75 foot wooden oil screw cannery tender Eskimo stranded and was lost July 31, 1956 four miles south of Cape Barnabas on Sitkalikdak Island, near Kodiak Island. All fourpersons aboard and a dog named Lady were rescued.

ETHEL D (1983) The 60 foot crab fishing vessel Ethel D caught fire in her engine room and sank August 2, 1983 one mile off of Cape Chiniak east of Kodiak.

TO BE CONTINUED ON FRIDAY, JAN. 30

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