Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture

Southerner

The first passenger steamer wrecked along the Washington coast was the Southerner, a side-wheeler built in 1847. She left San Francisco on December 20, 1854, and after stopping in Eureka and Crescent City she continued north through stormy seas with 25 passengers and a crew of 19.

Several scheduled stops along the Oregon coast had to be skipped because rough bar conditions prevented harbor entrance. On Christmas Day, near the mouth of the Columbia River, a serious leak developed below the waterline. Hoping to reach the safety of Puget Sound, the captain continued north as crew members manned the pumps and seasick passengers formed a bucket brigade. In spite of these efforts the water level continued to rise inside the engine room, slowing forward progress until the ship was almost sinking.

In desperation the captain anchored in seven fathoms of water just off Cape Flattery. He ordered the masts cut and jettisoned, then had the stack pried loose and tossed overboard. By that time the storm was so violent that the anchor could no longer hold the stricken ship. Waves carried the Southerner and her terrified passengers over the reef, across the breakers, and onto the beach. Incredibly, no lives were lost. However, the next high tide destroyed what was left of the ship and her cargo, including U.S. mail, a printing press, and a library. Passengers and crew walked overland to Neah Bay and Port Angeles.


Read about individual shipwrecks in the sanctuary:

Austria

H.M.S. Condor

Emily Farnum

Lamut

Leonore

Pacific

Prince Arthur

Skagway

St. Nicholas

Temple Bar

W. J. Pirrie

See Shipwreck Map



Contact for page content: George Galasso
Photo of peach coral
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