Lighthouse History – 32 (1908-04-18 to 1908-04-29)

The following extracts taken from early Victoria, British Columbia (BC) newspapers are credited to Leona Taylor for her excellent work in indexing the papers. Full information can be found here: ”Index of Historical Victoria Newspapers“, 2007-09.

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Wreckage indicating the loss of a large sailing ship, presumably with all hands, off West Coast Vancouver Island, near Carmanah Point, came ashore following the heavy gale of the 16th, 6 miles to East of Carmanah Point lighthouse. 
What craft is the last victim of the sea in this vicinity is yet hidden… the flotsam given from the sea includes a broken topmast, evidently from some large ship, and a lot of white-painted lumber… there were also 2 large boat chocks, hardwood tumbler racks, 4-18′ oars and the stern of a small gig without a mark on it… Included too, among the debris found by Indians, who carried the news of disaster to the lightkeeper, were 3 tin trunks. Whether these had been the receptacles of the gatherings of the sailormen is not known. It is unusual for tin trunks to be used for this purpose, the usual being wooden chests or canvas bags. 
All this wreckage came ashore last night, and it looks as if the wreck occurred recently, says Lightkeeper W P Daykin, in a telegram… 


Lightkeeper Daykin, in his quarter century of service at Carmanah Point, has been practically sexton of the graveyard of ships, in addition to his duties as lightkeeper. His laconic telegrams briefly describing wreckage that has littered the beach during winter gales year after year has been the only record of the passing of many vessels. He has succored survivors of many wrecks reported the disasters to vessels that have grinded to destruction against the rugged coastline, the identity of some of which he has been able to learn; others he has not. 
Near his light stn several winters ago a small amount of wreckage, including a nameboard marked Fawn told of the wreck off there of a local sealing Schooner with all on board when almost home. Not far from there Indians dug from the sand of the beach at Clo-oose the nameboard of the bark Dominion, which had evidently foundered with all hands off the nearby shore, when bound from Honolulu to Royal roads. Within a short distance Steamer Valencia hung on the reef near Darling Creek until the heavy in sweeping seas tore 140 of their passengers to death with the breaking of the vessel; Steamer Michigan piled up on Sea Bird’s and wreckage swept in to where the sexton of the graveyard of ships kept watch at the light. 
The West Coast has been the scene of many wrecks since the days of the old China trading packets of the days of King George and even before then as the finding of the wax-laden wreck Nahalem on the Oregon coast testifies. Some great disasters have occurred within a few miles from the scene, notably the Valencia disaster… [Colonist, 1908-04-18]

 

Steamer Quadra will probably leave today for West Coast. She is carrying the fine-cut glass lenses brought from Chance Brothers, at a cost of $35,000, and other material for the new lighthouse to be established at Pachena Port, which is expected will be ready for operation by Jul 1. The cargo of the Steamer also includes the material, ready to be put together for the construction of a 5-roomed cottage at Pachena for use of the staff of the wireless station. Stores for Carmanah, Lennard I and other points will also be carried by the Steamer, as well as material for the party of trail-builders, who will leave shortly, headed by Mr Macdonald to spend another summer on the West Coast. [Colonist, 1908-04-21]

 

Taking a knock-down cottage ready to be put together at Pachena for use of the wireless telegraph stn staff, the lantern and apparatus to be installed at the new tower recently built at Pachena, stores and supplies for Carmanah, Cape Beale and Lennard I, Dominion Government Steamer Quadra left port yesterday for West Coast Vancouver Island. As passengers the Steamer had Mr Hughes, wireless expert of Dominion Government, and a party of carpenters bound to Pachena to erect the cottage. Mr Collinson and a party of 4 men went to Pachena to install the fine lantern brought from Birmingham, England, where it cost $35,000, for the new lighthouse which is to be the most powerful on this coast. [Colonist, 1908-04-22]

 

Bringing further detailed information concerning wreckage recently washed ashore in the vicinity of Carmanah Point, Steamer Tees, Captain Townsend, returned from West Coast. Robert Daykin, who investigated the wreckage scattered along the rocks to East and West of Carmanah, where, with his father W P Daykin, he who tends the light, was among the passengers who arrived here and he says there is no doubt the wreckage found is new. 
…a large amount of empty cases, whiskey and others have been found in vicinity of Nitinat. Stanley Wood, a timber cruiser who came from vicinity of Nitinat, said there were an unusual amount of these cases recently washed ashore. 
Mr Daykin said the wreckage seemed to indicate that some large sailing vessel, a ship or a bark, had met disaster… 
The 3 trunks found on the rocks to West of Carmanah Point, about 6 miles beyond the light, were of the usual American pattern, wood covered with tin. Little pieces of broken deckhouses, all painted white, some teak wood bits, rowlock chocks, 3 long oars were amongst the wreckage… 
Until arrival at Alberni, where news was learned of the safety of the crew, the officers and passengers of Tees from Cape Scott and vicinity believed they had learned from the settlers of a disaster which had involved much loss of life. Settlers at Cape Scott told of sighting a vessel on fire, Apr 19, and of witnessing 2 loud explosions, evidently the blowing up of a gasoline vessel. News was given at Alberni of the new Tacoma fishing Schooner Clara C, was the destroyed vessel and that her crew, who had rowed around the North of the island to Scarlett Point lighthouse, had been rescued and brought South by fishing Steamer Celestial Empire. [description by unknown Cape Scott correspondent, Apr 29, 15] [Colonist, 1908-04-29
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