Shipwreck Icon West Coast TrailThe 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.

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

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.

Roby Daykin Explains Klanawa Crossing

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 they had to search the forest to find a small canoe to cross and commandeer the large canoe. 

Klanawa River West Coast Trail

Klanawa River on the West Coast Trail

Klanawa River is shown here at its calmest in the summer. In the middle of winter at night when the Daykin/Logan party arrived here it would have looked quite different as a rushing torrent of water and no cable car crossing that we see today. This picture also shows how thick the rainforest is along the shore that they had to crawl through to find the broken canoe they were able to use to cross.

Klanawa River Map v7b

More Books About West Coast Trail Shipwrecks

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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More 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 ...
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Juan de Fuca Strait is the 154km long and 16km to 32km wide stretch of ocean that separates Vancouver Island from the northwest corner of Washington State. The international boundary between Canada and the United State runs down the centre of the strait. It was named ...
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Owen Point, at about the 67km mark on the West Coast Trail is home to a stunningly colourful and well hidden area of sandstone caves carved out by the ocean. Centuries of crashing waves have gouged out huge, circular openings in the cliffs jutting out into the ...
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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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When the survivors on the second raft were rescued by the Topeka just five hours into their ordeal and so close to death that they could barely stand, one of them asked about the first raft.  It was ...
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The Valencia was equipped with six lifeboats and a smaller working boat. These seven boats could hold up to 181 people. Just enough to accommodate the estimated 178 crew and passengers aboard.  There ...
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A week after the wreck of the Valencia, The Daily Colonist of Victoria ran a cover story about the aftermath of the disaster and the horrific scenes that continued to be found. Sydney Van Wyck of ...
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