The Valencia Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailShortly 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 Island. The Queen, another Pacific Coast Steamship Company vessel was arriving in Victoria and it was ordered to rush to the Valencia to offer assistance. The call was put out to all tugs in the area to help, however none were available and ones that were available were at Neah Bay and the communication line was broken and they couldn’t be called.

The Valencia Disaster

 Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail1. The Valencia Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail2. The Voyage Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail3. The Boats Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail4. The McCarthy Boat Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail5. The Bunker Party Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail6. On the Valencia Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail7. The Rafts Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail8. The Turret Raft Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail9. The Rescue Ships Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail10. The Aftermath Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail11. The Survivors Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail12. The Lost 

The West Coast Trail

Shipwreck on the West Coast TrailPrologue Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail1: The West Coast Trail Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail2: When to Hike & Fees Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail3: Trailheads Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail4: Getting There Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail5: Considerations Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail6: Campsites Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail7: Shipwrecks Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail8: Routes Shipwreck on the West Coast Trail9: Sights & Highlights

 The Topeka, another vessel belonging to the Pacific Coast Steamship Company in Seattle Harbor was finally reached and ordered to rush to the Valencia.

Captain Cousins of the Queen arrived at Victoria, discharged all passengers and left for the Valencia at 5pm Tuesday afternoon. She arrived off Carmanah Lighthouse at 10pm and waited until morning to begin searching for the Valencia. Captain Cousins was told in Victoria that she lay 4 miles west of Carmanah Lighthouse. She wasted valuable hours searching before being instructed by the Carmanah Lighthouse keeper that she lay 18 miles west of Carmanah. During the search she passed two Canadian vessels, Czar and Salvor near the Carmanah Lighthouse. Keeping a mile or two from the shore, the Queen finally spotted the Valencia at about 930am Wednesday morning. She kept a safe distance from shore of about a mile to a mile and a half. The Czar, a small tug was spotted passing far out to sea and the Queen steamed about a mile further out to intercept her.

Soon another Canadian vessel arrived, the Salvor, a wrecking vessel. When the Queen first arrived on the scene the crew spotted survivors on the Valencia clinging to the rigging. Both the Salvor and the Czar stayed in the area briefly and reported later that they believed there were no survivors on the Valencia and departed at 1015am. The two ships intended to go to Bamfield and help organize a shore rescue.

After the Salvor and the Czar departed the weather worsened and fog came in and the Queen could no longer see the Valencia. She was now two to three miles from the Valencia and had yet to launch any boats to go to the wreck.  At around 11am the Queen was steaming seaward abandoning the Valencia. She passed another steamer, the City of Topeka also owned by the Pacific Steamship Company and company officials on board ordered the Queen to return to Victoria and back to work as a cruise ship.  Frank Bunker, in an interview posted in the Victoria Daily Colonist on January 31st, 1906, learned of the conversation between the Topeka and the Queen. Captain Paterson of the Topeka asked the captain of the Queen if they had seen anything of the wreck. The Queen responded that she is in near shore, saw life aboard, people in the rigging and she is about three miles west of the big waterfall. Paterson then ordered the Queen to proceed to Victoria, and take up your passengers. The City of Topeka then cruised along the coast but in no time came within sight of the Valencia.

The captain of the City of Topeka would later report that he couldn’t find the wreck due to thick fog, however the men on the cliff above the Valencia reported seeing both the Topeka and the Queen when they passed each other and the Queen ordered back to Victoria. Shortly after the Valencia broke and sunk, the second raft that had been launched at about 10am was spotted by the Topeka between 1 and 2pm. They picked up the 19 men on board who were all nearly dead from exposure from the water filled raft.

The Valencia Disaster: 10. The Aftermath

Best West Coast Trail Sights & Highlights

Best West Coast Trail Sights

The Valencia Disaster

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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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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After the McCarthy boat was launched successfully and cleared the breakers at around 9am Tuesday January 23rd the captain, crew and passengers on the Valencia confidently expected men to soon appear ...
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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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West Coast Trail A to Z

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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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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The West Coast Trail by Day

Amazing Whistler Hiking Trails

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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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