Monday, September 13, 2010

99 Years Ago Today: Shipwreck in Alaska

Surf roars over Cape Decision, courtesy of NOAA.

From the New York Times, September 13, 1911. (Note the references to "the dangerous inside passage"--a popular route for today's cruise ships.)

Fishermen Rescue Thirty Passengers on Sinking Steamship Ramona.

SEATTLE, Sept. 12. -- A brief wireless message received here to-day tells of the loss of the steamer Ramona, which struck the rocks near Cape Decision in Frederick Sound, about 200 mi this side of Ketchikan, Alaska, late Sunday, in a dense fog, and was slowly pounded to pieces.

Wireless messages sent out for hours by the Ramona were finally picked up, and the crack liner of the Alaska Steamship Company, the Northwestern, Capt. J.C. Hunter, took aboard the passengers and crew.

The Ramona is a total loss.
The Ramona had a long list of first-class passengers, including many Eastern tourists. She was proceeding to Seattle via the dangerous inside passage. The Pacific Coast Company officials, owners of the Ramona, are unable to tell who was on board, and will not know until the ship’s records are received here.

The Northwestern had passed the scene of the wreck, which is quite out of the beaten path. Local marine men marvel at Capt. Hunter’s feat of turning the big Northwestern around in the dangerous inside passage and picking his way back to the wreck.

This is the third steamer the Pacific Coast Company has lost this season.

The passengers of the Ramona, who barely escaped with their lives, so speedily did the ship sink, saved nothing but the clothing they wore. Thirty of the passengers and crew were picked up by the fishing steamer Grant. The remainder landed on Spanish Island, which is timbered but uninhabited, and remained there a day and a night. The freight steamer Delhi came along, and the ship-wrecked voyagers rowed out to the Delhi and were taken aboard. Subsequently the Northwestern took the passengers from the Grant and the Delhi, and all are on their way to Seattle.

The Ramona left Skagway Sept. 8, and was calling at the various canneries to take passengers and freight. The vessel was valued at $200,000.

Cape Decision Lighthouse, by Tuggerdave

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