The Cyrus Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailThe shipwreck Cyrus is located just down from the West Coast Trail's Gordon River trailhead. If you stand at the wonderful, long, sandy beach that spans the width of Port San Juan and look out over the ocean on your right, you will be looking over the patch of ocean where the Cyrus met her end. The Cyrus was a 213 ton, two masted ship, built in 1832.

 

The Cyrus was sailing from Steilacoom, Washington with a cargo of lumber heading to San Francisco. She had sailed this route many times, however on December 23rd, 1858 she ran into a storm off Cape Flattery. Her cargo shifted causing her to list and the crew struggled to sail her into Port San Juan to escape the storm. She managed to limp to safety and anchored along the beach in front of present day Port Renfrew. After the storm had let up, the Cyrus set sail, however was unable to catch enough wind to maneuver and she was forced to anchor again. While at anchor, a southerly squall hit her and snapped the anchor chain. Another anchor was dropped, but it was too late as the Cyrus dragged the anchor until she was driven onto the beach near the mouth of Gordon River. The ship slowly came apart during the following days, her rigging, sails and cargo were mostly salvaged. 

St Clair and Cyrus Shipwrecks Map

The Cyrus Appears in "Breakers Ahead!"

Breakers Ahead"Breakers Ahead!"" by R. Bruce Scott, written in 1970 is a wonderful book about West Coast Trail shipwrecks. It includes Cyrus as well as all the other shipwrecks along the West Coast Trail. In fact, it seems to be the most comprehensive book on shipwrecks along this fascinating stretch of Vancouver Island's west coast. Without R. Bruce Scott's relentless push for the creation of the West Coast Trail, we likely would not have this amazing trail today. He wrote "Breakers Ahead!" in order to document the shipwrecks and illustrate the need for a trail. It is arguably the best book on West Coast Trail shipwrecks available. His intimate knowledge of the West Coast Trail and thorough research has created this intensely interesting book. The chapters in the book on the incredible story of the Janet Cowan shipwreck and the horrific Valencia disaster are amazing. His expert knowledge and factual analysis make the chaotic and confusing events easy to understand. "Breakers Ahead!" almost everywhere online these days and often at a good price as it was widely sold and reprinted several times.

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Shipwrecks Near The Cyrus (KM75)

The Revere Shipwreck Near KM69

The Revere Shipwreck - West Coast Trail Graveyard of the PacificThe Revere shipwreck lays at the bottom of Port San Juan between Thrasher Cove and Owen PointThrasher Cove is the first or last West Coast Trail campsite you will encounter. She was a large 3 masted barque of 829 tons, built in 1849 in Medford, Massachusetts. She became a victim of the Graveyard of the Pacific on September 9th, 1883. The Revere spent much of her life sailing back and forth from Liverpool in the 1850's. In 1883 she was sailing from Honolulu in ballast for a port in Puget Sound. She was carrying a crew of 13 plus 4 passengers. Nearing Cape Flattery, the Revere found herself in thick fog and calm winds. Unable to see, she was carried by the notorious Juan de Fuca Strait current, across the strait. On the morning of Sunday, September 9th, 1883 the crew heard breaking waves and rushed to drop an anchor. It was too late, however, as the Revere slid around and hit the reef broadside. Breakers pounded her against the rocky coast of Vancouver Island as the crew escaped in lifeboats. The Revere was battered by the waves and broke up in the coming days and weeks. The crew was ferried to Victoria in canoes by local First Nations men.

Revere shipwreck continued here...

The William Tell Shipwreck Near KM64

William Tell Shipwreck - West Coast Trail Graveyard of the PacificFurther up the West Coast Trail you will pass the William Tell shipwreck. The William Tell was a 1153 ton, 3 masted ship that wrecked in the Graveyard of the Pacific on December 23rd, 1865. She sailed straight into the reef in front of what is now the 64 kilometre mark of the West Coast Trail. Built in New York in 1850, she sailed in the North Atlantic for a few years before branching out to more distant ports. On her final voyage in 1865, she was inbound from South Africa in ballast, heading to a port in the Puget Sound. She managed to sail into Juan de Fuca Strait, however stormy weather and strong currents moved her considerably far west. Blindly sailing in thick fog and the darkness of night, the William Tell smashed into the reef between Owen Point and Camper Bay. The crew of 22 men managed to scramble safely to shore and made their way to Owen Point where they lit signal fires. Their fires were spotted from the harbour of Port San Juan(Port Renfrew). They were picked up and later brought back to Victoria by a local trading schooner.

William Tell shipwreck continued here...

 

Campsites Near The Cyrus (KM75)

Thrasher Cove CampsiteKM70: Thrasher Cove Campsite

The Cyrus is just a stones throw from the Gordon River trailhead to the West Coast Trail and 5 kilometres from the first(or last) West Coast Trail campsite at Thrasher Cove. The trail to Thrasher Cove is quite challenging and slow going as you ascend and descent plenty of ladders and slog your way through a constantly zig-zagging terrain. Thrasher Cove is generally crowded with fellow campers, and you may find yourselves elbow to elbow with a dozen or more tents in an increasingly confined area. The problem, of course is the narrow beach and abrupt cliff at your back. This does, however, give you a wonderful feeling of how the West Coast Trail truly is. Wild rainforest behind you with ladders attached to the steep terrain and a beautiful ocean in front of you. Thrasher Cove campsite continued here...

 

Camper Bay CampsiteKM62: Camper Bay Campsite

Walbran Creek a is home to possibly the best and most unappreciated campsites on the West Coast Trail. The Walbran Creek campsite encapsulates so much that makes the West Coast Trail truly wonderful. The expansive beach which seems purpose built for enjoyability is flanked by scenic cliffs and creek on one side, the pacific ocean on the other, and backed by the emerald coloured Walbran Creek that flows through the jungle valley spanned by a cable car crossing!  Of the list of pro's and con's for Walbran Creek, the list is hopelessly lopsided to the pro's. Walbran Creek campsite is reached in the middle of the most challenging, invigorating, stunning, bewildering and breathtaking section of the West Coast TrailWalbran Creek campsite continued here...

 

The Valencia Disaster

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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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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This is a much more accurate list of the victims of the Valencia shipwreck than all the other lists currently found online and in print.  The passenger and crew list given by the owners of the ...
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The Valencia wrecked just before midnight on Monday, January 22nd, 1906.  Nearly 34 hours later, at 9am Wednesday morning the situation on the Valencia was horrific.  Battered by waves, the ship was ...
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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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