Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailPeople 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 focussed on the incredible number of shipwrecks along the 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 laid 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 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. 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 Phil Daykin, the lighthouse keeper that we hear about often when reading about West Coast Trail shipwrecks.

People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island

Phil Daykin was the lightkeeper of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse from 1891 to 1912. He kept a meticulous lighthouse diary in which he recorded every ship sighted from his commanding view from the lighthouse tower. Daykin's son, also named Phil Daykin and David Logan of Clo-oose responded to numerous shipwrecks along this particularly brutal and notorious stretch of the Graveyard of the Pacific. They both arrived at the cliff overlooking the horrific scene of the Valencia shipwreck, just moments before its 36 hour ordeal of being pounded by waves finally smashed her and remaining survivors into the sea.

Carmanah Lighthouse on the West Coast Trail

Phil Daykin of Carmanah Point Lighthouse

In R. Bruce Scott’s excellent book, People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island, he writes about his interesting life during the years he manned the Carmanah Point Lighthouse. Scott also recalls the tragic deaths of two of Daykin’s sons. One of his sons, at just 17, was taking the trolley that ran from the lighthouse down to the shore. This steep, cable trolley was powered by a gas powered winch. One day as his son was riding the trolley down and a cable broke, throwing the boy off and he died instantly falling onto the rocks far below. He lost another son years later when his son and a friend went on a hunting trip up Nitinat Lake. When they did not return a search party went to find them and discovered their boat floating in the lake. Their guns, gear, bedrolls and all their belongings were on the boat, yet no sign of them or where they could have gone. It was thought unlikely that they could have drowned as they were both excellent swimmers and the disappearance remains a mystery to this day. The Daykin's had a confrontational relationship with the local First Nations people and one plausible theory is that they were murdered and their bodies hidden.

Phil Daykin Retires to Victoria

He continued as lighthouse keeper at Carmanah Point Lighthouse until he was unable to physically keep up with all the rigorous tasks. He was replaced in 1912 and transferred to the Macaulay Point Lighthouse at the entrance of Victoria Harbour. This posting was much easier for him to cope with, with his failing health. He would eventually die of the flu, which he often suffered very badly from and was blamed on one winter night climbing the exposed stairs up to the top of the lighthouse.

The Surprising History of Clo-oose

Chapter 8 is an amazing history of Clo-oose. This town was thought to become a popular tourist town and various circumstances resulted in it not taking hold and after a few busy decades it was abandoned. You will walk through Clo-oose when hiking the West Coast Trail and see that is is now comprised of just a few First Nations houses. Yet another amazing chapter is entitled, David Logan of Clo-oose. Most of the major shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail involved him to some degree. Logan and the Daykin's facilitated the rescue of countless shipwreck survivors. An amazing book, and without it many of these interesting characters would be largely forgotten from history. People of the Southwest Coast of Vancouver Island can be found online at a few places including Amazon.

More Books About West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

West Coast Trail Shipwreck Books

Of the many shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail the Valencia stands out as shockingly horrific in almost every detail. First the ship wrecked just a few metres from the West Coast of Vancouver Island. She was intentionally driven up on the reef after an initial ...
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Vancouver 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. ...
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SOS 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 ...
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West Coast Trail A to Z

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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William Philip Daykin was the first lightkeeper of the Carmanah Point Lighthouse from 1891 to 1912. In books and newspapers he is either written as Phil Daykin or W.P. Daykin. He and his wife Helen Strelley Marriott Daykin had five sons, Charles Thomas Daykin, ...
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The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail was created after decades of brutal and costly shipwrecks occurred along the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  One shipwreck in particular was so horrific, tragic and unbelievable that it forced the creation of a trail along the coast, which ...
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Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn ...
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Whistler is an amazing place to hike. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous thing about Whistler is that Garibaldi Provincial Park ...
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