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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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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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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Darling Falls has to be the most overlooked and underrated feature of the West Coast Trail. It never even appeared in West Coast Trail guidebooks until recently and hardly any websites or blogs give it a mention. There are some good reasons for this. First, the ...
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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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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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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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There were just 38 survivors of the Valencia shipwreck.  An estimated 140 people lost their lives on the ship over the course of 36 hours.  The 38 survivors escaped the ship at different times and ...
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Shortly after 3pm on Tuesday afternoon on January 23rd the Valencia’s owners in Seattle received a message that the Valencia had gone ashore somewhere west of the Carmanah Lighthouse on Vancouver ...
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The Valencia departed from San Francisco at 11:20am on Saturday, January 20th 1906, bound for Victoria and Seattle. She cruised roughly parallel to the coast at a variable distance that ranged from about 8 ...
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