A to Z West Coast TrailThere are quite a few books about West Coast Trail shipwrecks, though many of them are tough to find and written decades ago. Here is a list of the ones we have found with the best information on the often scarce history of many of the lesser known shipwrecks along the west coast of Vancouver Island. One of the books, "Breakers Ahead!" was actually written in order to influence the creation of what would become the incredible West Coast Trail.

West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

 Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailAlaskan at 4k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSoquel at 5k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSarah at 7k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailBecherdass-Ambiadass at 8k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailMichigan at 12k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailUzbekistan at 13.8k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailVarsity at 17.6k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailValencia at 18.3k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailJanet Cowan at 19k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRobert Lewers at 20k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWoodside at 20.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailUncle John at 26.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailVesta at 29k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRaita at 33k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSkagit at 34.2k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailSanta Rita at 37k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailDare at 39k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailLizzie Marshall at 47k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailPuritan at 48.5k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWempe Brothers at 49.4k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailDuchess of Argyle at 58k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailJohn Marshall at 62.3k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailWilliam Tell at 64.2 Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailRevere at 69k Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailCyrus at 75k

West Coast Trail Campsites

Pachena Bay Campground West Coast Trail CampsitesMichigan Creek at 12k West Coast Trail CampsitesDarling River at 14k West Coast Trail CampsitesOrange Juice Creek at 15k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsocowis Creek at 16.5k West Coast Trail CampsitesKlanawa River at 23k West Coast Trail CampsitesTsusiat Falls at 25k West Coast Trail CampsitesCribs Creek at 42k West Coast Trail CampsitesCarmanah Creek at 46k West Coast Trail CampsitesBonilla Creek at 48k West Coast Trail CampsitesWalbran Creek at 53k West Coast Trail CampsitesCullite Cove at 58k West Coast Trail CampsitesCamper Bay at 62k Thrasher Cove - West Coast Trail CampsitesThrasher Cove at 70k Pacheedaht Campground

Written by R. Bruce Scott, who began living in Bamfield in 1930 and spent the next few decades pushing for the development of a park on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  After he retired in 1960, he began researching and writing this book, which he hoped would illustrate the interesting history of the coast and encourage its development into a park.  In 1970 his book was published and the West Coast National Park was created.  His excellent and comprehensive book included all the shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail as well as a few as far north as Barkley Sound and south, almost as far as Victoria. Another wonderful book about several of the more notable West Coast Trail shipwrecks is Shipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca by James A. Gibbs. Written in 1968, this engrossing book is difficult to put down and covers some of the little known history of shipwreck history dating back hundreds of years ago, long before Europeans arrived to the coast. Beautifully written, Gibbs weaves the marvelous history of shipwrecks through the centuries around Juan de Fuca Strait. The prolific shipwreck diver Fred Rogers wrote two amazing books that document not only the history of many of the West Coast Trail shipwrecks, but also his diving trips to explore them. Many of the wrecks he first had to locate as historical accounts are often vague and almost all the wrecks are found in treacherous diving areas! Shipwrecks of British Columbia was written in 1973 and More Shipwrecks of British Columbia was written in 1992. Together they make up a comprehensive  history and staggering number of shipwrecks around Vancouver Island. The following is a list of West Coast Trail related shipwreck books listed in the order they were published.

Wreck of the Steamer Valencia (1906) - Valencia

Wreck of the Steamer ValenciaWreck of the Steamer Valencia, written in 1906 is the result of the intense investigation by US government as directed by President Theodore Roosevelt. The result of the thorough investigation was made into a book widely distributed at the time. It lays out in methodical and tantalizing detail all the events that occurred leading up to, during and after the disaster. Many survivors and witnesses gave their accounts of what happened. The book gives you an objective look at the events without being altered by interpretation and speculation. The report is divided into chapters and the chapters have subsections comprised of three periods. So, the First Period is the detailed description of navigation of the vessel. Second Period is after the vessel struck and before the arrival of the rescue fleet. Third Period is the rescue from outside. The report ends with a chapter called Recommendations where a thorough outline of preventative measures that can be constructed and mandated to prevent future shipwrecks as well as facilitate the rescue of survivors of similar shipwrecks. You would expect a report like this to be longwinded and tedious, but it is actually very readable. Far from being longwinded, it is concise and sticks to facts and relevant details that cover a phenomenal amount of detail into just 53 pages. The original report of 1906 has been reprinted in a new edition in 2012 that you can buy online. You can also find free copies of the original 1906 book copied to pdf format from the Internet Archive or simply read on their site without downloading. You can even click a button with headphones on it and this old book will be narrated to you by a computerized voice. What a wonderful world we live in and what a great resource the Internet Archive is! Wreck of the Steamer Valencia continued here...

SOS North Pacific (1955) - Valencia

SOS North PacificSOS North Pacific by Gordon R. Newell, published in 1955 is a well written account of many of the most interesting shipwrecks that happened in the North Pacific from Grays Harbor in the United States up to Alaska. The only shipwreck along the West Coast Trail he writes about in wonderful detail is the Valencia, which he describes in thrilling detail. You can almost feel icy water as he depicts the victims of this tragic shipwreck slipping under the crashing waves. Other shipwrecks include the Tonquin, Orpheus, Pacific, Clara Nevada and many more. One nice feature of the book is a nice illustration of the various ships a century ago. pictures of the types of ships along with types of sails and masts. His chapters are interesting and descriptive. "The Savage Pirates of Nootka Sound" and "Fate of the Hellship Tonquin". There are several excellent pictures of the ships in the book, and even a couple pictures of the actual shipwrecks. Even if your shipwreck interest lies only in the vicinity of the West Coast Trail, SOS North Pacific is written in such a beautiful way that each chapter and shipwreck account flows into the next as you weave your way up  and down the coast of North America and the Graveyard of the Pacific. SOS North Pacific by Gordon R. Newell is a bit tricky to find and you sometimes find it on Amazon.ca, more often on Amazon.com. AbeBooks is probably the best and most reliable place to find it. You can usually find it there for a really good price of around $20. SOS North Pacific continued here...

Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 (1965) - Most WCT Shipwrecks

Vancouver Island's West CoastVancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 by George Nicholson is a fantastic history that gives you a window to a staggering array of events that occurred during those two eventful centuries. The amount of research that went into this book must have been colossal. Dozens and dozens of beautiful illustrations bring the people and places to life. Published in 1965 after decades of living in the area, Nicholson is able to write about events he was part of. Other events that happened before his time, he is able to describe in detail only possible by living in the area and knowing every feature of the land. His sources are from the written journals of the many explorers in the area. You know you are in for a wild ride from the first sentence of the book. “The history of British Columbia begins at Nootka”. Along with the wonderful history of the west coast along and beyond the West Coast Trail, two of the West Coast Trail shipwrecks are written in vivid detail about. The tragic story of the Valencia disaster and the Janet Cowan shipwreck are told in two separate chapters. Also, the Uzbekistan shipwreck that occurred at the outflow of Darling River is briefly mentioned. One of the photos in the book is of the Uzbekistan shortly after breaking up on the reef and is an amazing view of the wreck you tend to never see. All the other well-known West Coast Trail shipwrecks are mentioned in one chapter titled, “Forty Wrecks, One for Every Mile”.  Tsusiat Falls has a chapter devoted to it as well as the Carmanah Lighthouse. Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 can be found online on Amazon and many other online book stores. Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 continued here...

Shipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca (1968) – Most WCT Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks of Juan de FucaShipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca by James A. Gibbs, published in 1968 is an amazing book about shipwrecks on both sides of Juan de Fuca Strait. What makes it such a great book is Gibbs lifetime of research on shipwrecks, his remarkable familiarity of the area and his tremendous ability to weave together the fascinating history of the area.  He doesn’t just outline shipwrecks with a list of facts, but rather goes into details that bring the harrowing tales to life.  West Coast Trail shipwrecks in the book include the Valencia, the Uzbekistan, William Tell, Duchess of Argyle, Lizzie Marshall, Skagit, Santa Rita, Woodside, Sarah, Janet Cowan, Soquel and many more. What makes this book stand out is the interesting details he picks out of the scanty history of shipwrecks. He delves into the thrilling history of the Russian ship St. Nicholas in 1808, which shipwrecked leaving the crew in a battle of survival against a swarm of First Nations attackers. Gibbs talks about the brutality shipwreck survivors faced after surviving their initial ordeal. Countless shipwreck survivors in the 1800's and earlier that were lucky enough to survive and then found by First Nations people, usually faced two outcomes, murder or slavery. There is an unexpectedly simple reason for this terrifying and brutal welcome by the tribes of First Nations along the west coast of Vancouver Island and the neighbouring coastlines north and south. The nature of the coastline, with its often hard to navigate terrain, irregular coastline, stormy seas, etc, meant that numerous tribes settled in small regions up and down the coast and fought each other with a brutality straight out of a horror movie. Raiding coastal villages was ongoing and capturing slaves and looting was the goal and torturing captives to death was commonplace. This brutal always at war mode of thinking explains the reflexive looting, enslaving and murdering that went on during the earliest known shipwrecks along the shores off Juan de Fuca Strait. If your tribe has been mercilessly attacked for centuries from the sea, you would inevitably perceive shipwreck survivors as unlucky attackers and would be enslavers. Shipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca by James A. Gibbs is one of the best books on West Coast Trail shipwrecks as it is so well written and interesting as well as including most of the interesting shipwrecks passed by on the trail. Shipwrecks Off Juan de Fuca Continued here...

Breakers Ahead! (1970) - All WCT Shipwrecks

Breakers Ahead!"Breakers Ahead!" written by R. Bruce Scott, who began living in Bamfield in 1930 and spent the next few decades pushing for the development of a park on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  After he retired in 1960, he began researching and writing this book, which he hoped would illustrate the interesting history of the coast and encourage its development into a park.  In 1970 his book was published and the West Coast National Park was created.  His excellent and comprehensive book included all the shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail as well as a few as far north as Barkley Sound and south, almost as far as Victoria. West Coast Trail related shipwrecks he writes about are the William, Cyrus, John Marshall, William TellBecherdass-AmbiadassRevere, Lizzie MarshallDuchess of ArgyleWoodside, DareSarah, Michigan, Mascotte, Dart, Janet Cowan, Puritan, VestaWempe Brothers., Valencia, SkagitSoquel, Eagle, Renfrew, Alaskan, Santa RitaRobert Lewers, RaitaVarsity and Uzbekistan.  Other ships beyond the West Coast Trail he writes about are: Swiss Boy, D.L. Clinch, Dance, Maria J. Smith, Gem of the Ocean, Pacific, Orpheus, Glen Fruin, Belvidere, Rustler, Champion, Lily, Ericsson, Coloma, Nika, Tuscan Prince, Tatjana, Cleveland, Marquis of Dufferin, Vidette, Laura Pike, Liberty Ship, St. Clair, Armentieres, Thiepval, Warrimoo, Nereus, Pass of Melfort and Glafkos. This book is a tremendous collection of shipwreck history by an author that loves the subject and lived along the coast for decades. Without his influence and this book, the West Coast Trail may have never been created. You can find this wonderful book, "Breakers Ahead!" almost everywhere online these days and often at a good price. "Breakers Ahead!" was followed two years later by Barkley Sound A History of the Pacific Rim National Park Area and in 1974 Scott finished the trilogy on this subject with his third book People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island"Breakers Ahead!" continued here...

Barkley Sound a History of the Pacific Rim National Park Area (1972)

Barkley Sound BookR. Bruce Scott's second book, Barkley Sound A History of the Pacific Rim National Park Area is yet another incredible book by Scott and the second in his trilogy of books on the history of the west coast of Vancouver Island. This amazing book published in 1972 has a chapter on Pacific Rim National Park, a few chapters on some of the first European explorers. He then has chapters covering some of the trading posts and early settlements along the islands west coast. He has an interesting chapter on the Cape Beale Lighthouse, the Carmanah Point Lighthouse and the Pachena Point Lighthouse. Another chapter is devoted to the history of the West Coast Telegraph line. The extraordinary story of the Valencia shipwreck he tells beautifully in Chapter 13. Chapter 16 is all about the West Coast Lifesaving Trail. He also has several chapters on the history of Bamfield where he resided for much of his life. R. Bruce Scott writes about the history of the west coast of Vancouver Island in a way that only someone who has lived a lifetime there. His research is painstaking and thorough. The details of many of the incidents in the book come from eye witness accounts and contemporary journals and diaries. He brings to life the lives of early pioneers and their wonderful adventures they experienced. The book was published in the months that followed the opening of Pacific Rim National Park in 1971. Along with Scott's first book, "Breakers Ahead!" and his third book People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island, his second book Barkley Sound A History of the Pacific Rim National Park Area completes this amazing history of the area that encompasses the West Coast Trail. Without these three wonderful books, so many interesting people and events would have been lost to history and of course the West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park may have never been created. Barkley Sound A History of Pacific Rim Park continued here...

Shipwrecks of British Columbia (1973) - Several WCT Shipwrecks

Shipwrecks of British ColumbiaShipwrecks of British Columbia and More Shipwrecks of British Columbia are two fantastic books on West Coast Trail shipwrecks. Not only did Fred Rogers write extensively about the history of hundreds of British Columbia shipwrecks, but he found, or rediscovered many of them. With his year of diving experience he even managed to dive the tumultuous, churning water in order to locate the Valencia shipwreck. You get a sense of how brutal that shipwreck must have been when he describes how dangerous it even is scuba diving on a pleasant summer day. He describes getting slammed against the reef and narrowly avoiding sharp obstacles, while his partner in their boat above maneuvers to avoid hitting the reef. So, in addition to the wonderful history of the wrecks, you get a modern look at many of them. Similar to R. Bruce Scott, with Fred Rogers you can sense his passion for the subject and he writes in a way that keeps you reading as if you are in a detective story or treasure hunt. Plenty of pictures bring many of the wrecks to life or at least give you an idea about what you are reading about. A thoroughly fantastic book, Shipwrecks of British Columbia covers in depth several West Coast Trail shipwrecks, including: Lizzie Marshall, Duchess of Argyle, Woodside, Michigan, Mascotte, Wempe Brothers, Janet Cowan, Valencia, Soquel, Santa Rita, Raita, Uzbekistan and many more interesting shipwrecks around Vancouver Island. Shipwrecks of British Columbia can be found online to purchase at several book sellers at a very reasonable price. Shipwrecks of British Columbia continued here...

People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island (1974)

People of the Southwest CoastPeople of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island is R. Bruce Scott's third wonderful book on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. His first book was "Breakers Ahead!", which outlines the incredible number of shipwrecks along the west coast of Vancouver Island. His incredible knowledge of the area allowed him a deeper understanding of the tragic events along the coast. "Breakers Ahead!" is arguably the best book on West Coast Trail shipwrecks. While "Breakers Ahead!" was written to motivate the creation of the park that would encompass the West Coast Trail, R. Bruce Scott's second book, Barkley Sound A History of the Pacific Rim National Park Area lays out a wider history of the area. This amazing book published in 1972 has a chapter on Pacific Rim National Park, a few chapters on some of the first European explorers. He then has chapters covering some of the trading posts and early settlements along the islands west coast. He has an interesting chapter on the Cape Beal Lighthouse, the Carmanah Point Lighthouse and the Pachena Point Lighthouse. Another chapter is devoted to the history of the West Coast Telegraph Line. The extraordinary story of the Valencia shipwreck he tells beautifully in Chapter 13. Chapter 16 is all about the West Coast Lifesaving Trail. He also has several chapters on the history of Bamfield where he resided for much of his life. Scott's third book of the trilogy is People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island. Published in 1974 this amazing book delves into the lives of many noteworthy people along the west coast of Vancouver Island. Daykin of Carmanah is an amazing chapter on the history of the lighthouse keeper that we hear about often when reading about West Coast Trail shipwrecks. People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island Continued here...

More Shipwrecks of British Columbia (1992) - Several WCT Shipwrecks

More Shipwrecks of British ColumbiaMore Shipwrecks of British Columbia by Fred Rogers follows his first book Shipwrecks of British Columbia. Taken together, these books cover a staggering number of shipwrecks all around Vancouver Island. What sets these two books apart from all other West Coast Trail shipwreck books is that Rogers is a wreck diver and has inspected up close, hundreds of shipwrecks, including many along the West Coast Trail. The West Coast Trail related shipwrecks covered in More Shipwrecks of British Columbia are the Schooner D.L. Clinch which wrecked near Port San Juan(port Renfew) during the great storm on November 10, 1860. This was the huge storm that also wrecked the John Marshall, the Dance, the Morning Star, the Pinmore and the Florencia. These wrecks are also covered in the book in great detail. More West Coast Trail shipwrecks include the William Tell in 1865, the Revere in 1883, the Belvidere in 1886, the Sarah in 1891, the Puritan in 1896, the Robert Lewers in 1923, and the Varsity in 1940. Unfortunately, Rogers doesn't have any diving details to go along with these wrecks. As he points out at the start of the section of the book on the wrecks around the West Coast Trail, the wrecks have largely disintegrated due to the relentless pounding of waves. So, there is not a whole lot to see and diving to see them is difficult and dangerous even in nice weather and calm seas. In his previous book, Shipwrecks of British Columbia he dives several West Coast Trail shipwrecks and the details are fascinating. What makes Shipwrecks of British Columbia and More Shipwrecks of British Columbia such amazing books is because of the comprehensive list of shipwrecks and the very well researched details on how they got there. More Shipwrecks of British Columbia also comes with a fold out map that shows hundreds of shipwrecks around Vancouver Island. When you look at the map you quickly realize the tremendous scale of what these two books cover. The fact the he managed to detail so many on a map and research the history of hundreds of shipwrecks is amazing. More Shipwrecks of British Columbia continued here...

Great Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast (2001) - Valencia

Great Shipwrecks of the Pacific CoastGreat Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast by Robert C. Belyk is a wonderful book highlighting many of the most interesting shipwrecks along the Pacific Coast. The book is divided into 10 chapters, each about one remarkable shipwreck. The Valencia appears in the sixth chapter titled: "Valencia: Appointment with Death". Belyk has great, descriptive titles for each chapter, such as "Yankee Blade: Wreck of a Gold Ship". Another chapter is called, "Brother Jonathan: In the Teeth of the Dragon". Every chapter is a fantastic, exciting account of the brutal events of these historic shipwrecks. Other ships covered in the book are the Pacific, City of Rio de Janeiro, Classam, Columbia, Francis H. Leggett, Princess Sophia and San Juan. The chapter on the Valencia starts off with a paragraph that perfectly outlines the horrors to come in the following pages. It starts "In the history of marine disasters on the Pacific Coast," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote in 1906, "the wreck of the steamer Valencia on Walla Walla reef on the night of January 21[sic] offers no parallel." While the ship actually struck the rocks a few minutes before midnight on Monday, January 22, the extent of the tragedy was no exaggeration. More people died when other Pacific Coast steamers went, but they sank relatively quickly and the passengers and crew did not endure terrible days and nights of suffering. The end of the Valencia was a theater of horror. Before dozens of dazed onlookers, disaster seemed to happen in slow motion. This is how the chapter starts and every page is gripping and beautifully written. Definitely a shipwreck book worth getting. Though the Valencia is the only West Coast Trail shipwreck, the other shipwrecks are incredibly interesting. Great Shipwrecks of the Pacific Coast continued here...

 The Unforgiving Coast (2002) - Valencia

The Unforgiving CoastThe Unforgiving Coast is an excellent book which has separate chapters for some of the most tragic shipwrecks in the Pacific Northwest from Oregon to British Columbia. Though only one West Coast Trail shipwreck is found in this book, the Valencia, it is well worth reading as the author brings the story together in a very readable way. One good and bad aspect of the Valencia disaster is the great amount of public attention it garnered in the months and even years after. The good, of course is that we have a great amount of eye witness detail and testimony of the events. The problem about having too many sources is that it is a tremendous task to pull them all together into a coherent story. Grover does this very well in The Unforgiving Coast, however there are some lapses where the timeline goes all to hell. For example, he outlines the events of the Phil Daykin/David Logan shore party as they travel to the top of the cliff above the wreck. Shortly after they arrive the Valencia is dealt its final blow and a huge wave washes the remaining survivors clinging to the rigging into the ocean. The survivors would have quickly drowned or have been pulled out to sea to die moments later of hypothermia. In the actual coarse events the rescue ships that were in the vicinity several hundred metres offshore, unable to get close enough to attempt a rescue had left the area some time before this final wave killed the remaining survivors. In the book, however, the timeline is mixed up in that Grover describes how the Daykin/Logan party left the scene and then “meanwhile, ships from Victoria were moving toward the scene to offer assistance”. He then gives a decent summary of the various aborted attempts at rescue from the sea which is a bit confusing as the narrative shot back in time several hours, but uses the word “meanwhile”. Instead of “meanwhile”, he should have stated, ‘in the previous 15 hours, several ships arrived in the area to attempt a rescue’. One excellent aspect of The Unforgiving Coast is the almost unique explanation for the lack of success of the Daykin/Logan shore party. Grover uses accounts from people close to the events during those chaotic hours. He uses an interview done in 1936 by the Victoria Daily Colonist of Roby Daykin, younger brother of Phil Daykin. The Roby Daykin account appears to explain some previously inexplicable events of the shore party as the travelled to the wreck site. Particularly the delay at crossing the Klanawa River which, Roby Daykin recalled was due to the man across the river demanding $10 per person to cross. Unable to pay, they were forced to spend the night and in the daylight of the next morning find small canoe to cross and commandeer the large canoe. The Unforgiving Coast continued here...

West Coast Adventures (2003) - Puritan, Vesta & Valencia

West Coast AdventuresWest Coast Adventures: Shipwrecks, Lighthouses, and Rescues Along Canada’s West Coast by Adrienne Mason is a great book to get a taste of some of the more interesting shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail. There is also some interesting history on Bamfield, the making of the West Coast Trail and some great history of lighthouses along the trail and beyond. The Prologue begins with a short look at the horror of the Valencia shipwreck. The incredible story of the Valencia is later told in Chapter 6. Another chapter tells of the Puritan shipwreck, which was a harrowing tale of this ship colliding with Bonilla Point just past the 48km point on the West Coast Trail. If you camp at the wonderful campsite at Bonilla Falls you will be sleeping between two shipwreck sites, Lizzie Marshall at 47km and the Puritan at 48.5km. On November 13th, 1896 the Puritan was caught in a storm at night off the west coast of Vancouver Island. They were way off coarse and the captain and crew hoped to spot the Tatoosh Lighthouse that marks the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. They were a considerable distance north of where they thought they were and were blindly heading for a collision with the reefs off Bonilla Point. Through the darkness the lookout spotted the telltale indication of land ahead. “Breakers ahead!” he shouted and an instant later the Puritan grinded across the reef and her hull was ripped open. With the waves smashing the ship and all around, they were unable to safely launch lifeboats. As the storm raged on and the ship crumbled on the reef the crew retreated up the masts and into the rigging to avoid being smashed into the sea by waves. West Coast Adventures: Shipwrecks, Lighthouses, and Rescues Along Canada’s West Coast continued here...

The Graveyard of the Pacific (2010) - Janet Cowan, Valencia & Soquel

The Graveyard of the PacificThe Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwreck Tales from the Depths of History, by Anthony Dalton is a fantastic and inexpensive book to get a taste of some of the most interesting shipwrecks found along the West Coast Trail. The book is just 121 pages, but it leaves you with a great outline of the notorious Graveyard of the Pacific. The Prologue throws you into the nerve wracking moments just before the Valencia wrecked and the next horrifying 36 hours ensued.  The Prologue ends with, "Valencia's bow veered round to the west, but it was too late. The ship plowed into the rocks." The full story of the Valencia, the deadliest shipwreck along the West Coast Trail stretch of the Graveyard of the Pacific is told in Chapter 8. One shipwreck in the Graveyard surpasses the Valencia in lives lost, though the sinking was mercifully quick. This story is told in Chapter 4: The Pacific Disaster of 1874. Chapter 5: Janet Cowan Meets Her End is an extraordinary shipwreck that happened not far from the Valencia near the 19km mark of the West Coast Trail. Another West Coast Trail shipwreck in the book is in Chapter 9, titled Soquel's Misfortune. The Soquel shipwreck happened during a snowstorm on January 22, 1909, just three years after the Valencia met her end. The Soquel shipwreck is a heartbreaking story with the crew of twelve and the captain, his wife and three year old daughter. Making their escape from their wrecked ship during a storm the captain was passing his daughter to his wife when one of the ships masts came crashing down, killing his daughter in an instant and throwing him violently backward. An instant later the captains wife was killed by the same mast smashing over the deck. For several hours they fought to stay alive on the storm ravaged ship and though ships arrived to help, they had to wait out the storm to offer any rescue. Eventually the crew and captain were rescued and the Soquel was smashed to pieces when the next storm raged through. The wreck occurred on Seabird Rocks at roughly the 6km mark of the West Coast Trail. The Graveyard of the Pacific can be found on Amazon for just $10. Well worth the price for the incredible stories! The Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwreck Tales from the Depths of History continued here...

The Final Voyage of the Valencia (2020) - Valencia

The Final Voyage of the ValenciaThe Final Voyage of the Valencia by Michael C. Neitzel is a good retelling of the Valencia shipwreck. Though it is just 128 pages, it covers a tremendous amount of detail that you don’t get in books that devote just one chapter to this extraordinary story. Unless you are extremely well read on the Valencia, you will find a lot of new and surprising information. In particular, Neitzel uses a lot of quotes from various sources that are quite powerful. The quotes allow you to get a sense of the horror the people on board faced over the course of 36 hours. The chapters are laid out as the events happened and he doesn’t waste a lot of time on the history of the Valencia before the wreck. It had quite a colourful history all around the world for years, which could fill chapters, but that history is not terribly interesting and thankfully mostly left out of this book. Chapter one starts off with the fantastic title, “My God! Where Are We?” and runs through a quick history, moving quickly to the ships departure from San Francisco and the beginnings of trouble when they unknowingly underestimated their distance travelled. The end of the chapter finishes with the title of the chapter which the Captain said when the Valencia first hits a reef. The picture here was taken from Valencia Bluffs on a calm spring day. The shipwreck survivors would have faced this or something similar to it during a winter storm. In the second chapter: “Lifeboats Become Death Boats” the chaotic events after the Valencia is driven up on the reef. There is such panicked activity on the ship, yet Neitzel manages to tell the story wonderfully. Pieced together from statements from the survivors, it is quite a job to tease out a readable portrayal of those first few hours. As you read the book, you feel like you are reading a movie script because the story is so detailed with impossibly tragic moments. Like when a mother is passing her baby down from the ship to her husband on a life raft and a wave crashes in causing her the baby to slip between them and disappear into the ocean. This is a nice weather day view from Valencia Bluffs. The Final Voyage of the Valencia continued here...

January 26 1906 The Call

Shipwreck! A Chronicle of Marine Accidents & Disasters in BC (2021) - All WCT Shipwrecks

Shipwreck!Shipwreck!: A Chronicle of Marine Accidents & Disasters in British Columbia by John MacFarlane is a massive book that contains a staggering 1850 of the best documented wrecks and marine disaster in British Columbia. There are an estimated one to three million shipwrecks worldwide and finding an estimate for the number along the coast of BC is difficult. It is though that many shipwrecks were unreported and unknown. In the Graveyard of the Pacific along the West Coast Trail, rescue vessels heading to the scene of a shipwreck, would often be surprised to encounter other wrecks not known to be lost. John M. MacFarlane is the Curator of the Nauticapedia Project, an online database of 70,000 vessel histories. He is also the Curator Emeritus of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia and the author of several books about nautical history. The online database Nauticapedia, contains records of over 4000 shipwrecks! MacFarlane uses his almost five decades of researching British Columbia ship histories to create this comprehensive list laid out in alphabetical order. The book covers the last 250 years of shipwrecks. Shipwreck!: A Chronicle of Marine Accidents & Disasters in British Columbia came out in 2021 and covers every known shipwreck along the West Coast Trail and is well worth reading. You can find Shipwreck!: A Chronicle of Marine Accidents & Disasters in British Columbia everywhere books are sold. Continued here...

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Cape Flattery Lighthouse is located on the United States side of the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. Began operation in 1857, the lighthouse tower is 20 metres tall and standing on a cliff the tower’s light stands 50 metres above the water. Cape Flattery ...
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There are quite a few books about West Coast Trail shipwrecks, though many of them are tough to find and written decades ago. Here is a list of the ones we have found with the best information on the often scarce history of many of the lesser known shipwrecks ...
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David Logan is one of the main characters on the origin and history of the West Coast Trail. Shortly after the West Coast Telegraph Line was constructed in 1889 to link the lighthouses at Carmanah Point and Cape Beale to Victoria, he was hired as a lineman to ...
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The Cape Beale Lighthouse was built in 1873 and lit up the southern tip of the entrance to Barkley Sound. Barkley Sound is the huge gap in Vancouver Island filled with islands, with Ucluelet at the north end of the gap and Bamfield and Cape Beale at the south end. ...
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Day 5 on the West Coast Trail is a stunning, very difficult and tremendously enjoyable day of hiking. Walbran Creek is gorgeous campsite to wake up to. Your tent will open up to a sweeping view of ...
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The second, or second to last campsite on the West Coast Trail is at Darling River. Located just 1.6 kilometres(1 mile) from Michigan Creek, the Darling River campsite has an alright, sandy beach and a truly wonderful waterfall. Darling Falls pour into a ...
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The Pacheedaht Campground is a beautiful, and often bustling campground, quite close to the Gordon River trailhead for the West Coast Trail. Pacheedaht Beach is exactly what you would hope for in a Vancouver Island, west coast beach. It is a two kilometres long, ...
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Carmanah Creek slowly flows through this wonderfully massive channel that cuts deep into the sand out to the ocean. There is a cable car crossing that connects to the forest on either side of the creek. Most West Coast Trail hikers pass the campsite here without ...
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The campsite at Michigan Creek is the first or last campsite you will encounter on the West Coast Trail. First if you begin your hike at the Pachena trailhead(hiking south) and last if you begin in Port Renfrew(hiking north). The 12.1 kilometres(7.5 miles) between ...
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