Shipwrecks in Pacific Waters

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The San Francisco Call, March 26, 1898

The Wreck of the Bobolink.


The schooner started out with the land breeze from Mendocino City last Thursday, but became becalmed and drifted ashore. One of the crew lost his life while trying to reach land. The vessel will be a total loss, but her cargo of lumber will probably be saved.


The Schooner Bobolink Lost on the Coast of Mendocino.
Peter Nelson Lost His Life
While Attempting to Reach the Shore.

Dog From the Helen W. Almy Washed Ashore
Near the Oceanside House.

Another vessel has been wrecked on the coast. The schooner Bobolink left Mendocino City last Thursday morning with every prospect of making a quick passage to San Francisco. The land breeze carried her off the coast, but it soon fell light and the schooner began to drift. Everything posible was done to save her, but before nightfall she was hard and fast on Kents Point, near Mendocino City. An attempt was made to get her off, and while the men were at work one of the boats capsized, and Peter Nelson was drowned.

The Bobolink was loaded with lumber for the Mendocino Lumber Company, and while the vessel will probably be a total loss, the chances are that the cargo will be saved. The schooner was built in 2868 in Oakland Creek, and was 161.67 tons net burden. She was 104 feet 5 inches long, 29 feet 3 inches broad and 8 feet 9 Inches deep.

The American ship Susquehanna sailed yesterday for New l'ork in command of Captain Sewell who took charge of the vessel at the last minute. Captain Laflin cleared the vessel, but he will remain here a few days and will then go East to take command of another of the Sewell fleet. The Susquehanna has a cargo that would make her a valuable capture for a Spanish cruiser in the event of war. Among her cargo is 5470 pigs of lead, 142,646 pounds of beans, 601,069 pounds of borax, 184,267 feet of hardwood lumber, 28,970 cases and 254 barrels of salmon, 13S tons copper matte and 305,803 gallons of wine . . .

Nearly the entire fleet of coasting steamers has been withdrawn from the regular channels and is now engaged in the Dyea-Skaguay trade. Twenty-six San Francisco-owned steam schooners are running between Portland, Seattle and Tacoma and Juneau, Dyea and Skaguay. Beside these there are thirteen other steamers now on the way here from Eastern points to join in the general rush, so a big break in rates may be expected before many weeks are over.

The three-pile beacon on the end of the shoal at the entrance to Mare Island Strait, San Pablo Bay, has been destroyed. The piles remain and are just awash at high water. The beacon is to be rebuilt as soon as practicable. The crews of the life saving stations have been patrolling the beach from Point Lobos south to Point San Pedro for the last few days in the hope of picking up something that might come ashore from the wreck of the Helen W. Almy. Yesterday while near the Ocean- Bide House they found the remains of a black doc. It wore a muzzle, also a steel collar, on which was engraved "Nigger Bohen." H. Mohns of Mohns & Kattenbach asserts most positively that there was no dog on the Almy when she sailed. Others say, however, that Captain Hogan owned a dog called "Nigger Bohen," and that it went to sea with him.

Captain Hodgson of the Fort Point life saving station is going out on the lighthouse tender Madrona to destroy the wreck of the Almy. Until that is accomplished the old hulk will be marked at night with a red light. The tug Vigilant returned from a search after what was supposed to be a vessel in distress yesterday.

The Point Reyes observer thought he saw a vessel sending up rockets and notified the tug office. Captain Sllovich searched the coast from Point Bonita to Tomales and saw no trace of a wreck so he came to the conclusion that the rockets were fired by some vessel in want of a pilot.


The Sea Chart
The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts
The Sea Chart.
John Blake
The sea chart was one of the key tools by which ships of trade, transport and conquest navigated their course across the oceans. John Blake looks at the history and development of the chart and the related nautical map, in both scientific and aesthetic terms, as a means of safe and accurate seaborne navigation.

This work contains 150 color illustrations including the earliest charts of the Mediterranean made by thirteenth-century Italian merchant adventurers, as well as eighteenth-century charts that became strategic naval and commercial requirements and led to Cook's voyages in the Pacific, the search for the Northwest Passage, and races to the Arctic and Antarctic.

Shanghaiing Days
The Thrilling Account of 19th Century Hell-Ships, Bucko Mates and Masters, and Dangerous Ports-Of-Call from San Francisco
Shanghaiing Days in San Francisco.
Richard H. Dillon
An Amazon Editors' Favorite: In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the American Merchant Marine went into a tragic decline, and sailors were forced to serve under conditions that were little better than serfdom. Seamen were exploited in wholesale fashion, disfranchised of almost all their civil and human rights, and brutally punished for even minor offenses. Successful skippers had turned into slave drivers, cracking down on the sailors, sometimes even murdering their "hands." Though captains were legally prohibited from flogging their crews, they did not hesitate to wield belaying pins, marlin spikes, or their bare fists. The seamen's lot became so horrible in this period that entire crews frequently jumped ship when a vessel came into port. One result of this was that new crews had to be kidnaped, crimped, or shanghaied from the unsuspecting populace of the ports. These "impressed" or "hobo" crews were still further conspired against. They often had their wages stolen from them; they were poorly fed and clothed. Their lives became "hell afloat and purgatory ashore." In this way what had been our "first and finest employ" in colonial days was turned into a disreputable profession-one that was classed with criminals and prostitutes.

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Storiessea captains and ships.Shanghaiiing Days.
Simon Winchester
"Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring. A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." —Kirkus Reviews
Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, the New York Times bestselling author tells the breathtaking saga of the Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution. Until a thousand years ago, no humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinity. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to far shores — whether it was the Vikings, the Irish, the Chinese, Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south — the Atlantic evolved in the world's growing consciousness as an enclosed body of water bounded by the Americas to the West, and by Europe and Africa to the East. Atlantic is a biography of this immense space, of a sea which has defined and determined so much about the lives of the millions who live beside or near its tens of thousands of miles of coast.

Annapolis Book of Seamanship.The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
Fourth Edition
Annapolis Book of Seamanship.
John Rousmaniere
Since the publication of the first edition in 1983, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship has set the standard by which other books on sailing are measured. Used throughout America as a textbook in sailing schools and Power Squadrons, this book covers the fundamental and advanced skills of modern sailing. This edition of Annapolis is a major overhaul. Over half the book has been revised; old topics and features have been updated, and many new ones have been introduced, with the design modernized, and additional color illustrations.

A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters
A Sea Captain's Adventures.A Sea Captain's Adventures.
Max Hardberger
Seized takes readers behind the scenes of the multibillion dollar maritime industry, as Hardberger recounts his efforts to retrieve freighters and other vessels from New Orleans to the Caribbean, from East Germany to Vladivostak, Russia, and from Greece to Guatemala. He resorts to everything from disco dancing to women of the night to distract the shipyard guards, from bribes to voodoo doctors to divert attention and buy the time he needs to sail a ship out of a foreign port without clearance. Seized is adventure nonfiction at its best.

The Rebel Raiders
The Astonishing History of the Confederacy's Secret NavyShips, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.
James T. deKay
During its construction in Liverpool, the ship was known as “Number 290.”
The Rebel Raiders.When it was finally unleashed as the CSS Alabama, the Confederate gunship triggered the last great military campaign of the Civil War; yet another infamous example of British political treachery; and the largest retribution settlement ever negotiated by an international tribunal: $15,500,000 in gold paid by Britain to the United States. This riveting true story of the Anglo-Confederate alliance that led to the creation of a Southern navy illuminates the dramatic and crucial global impact of the American Civil War. Like most things in the War between the States, it started over cotton: Lincoln’s naval blockade prevented the South from exporting their prize commodity to England. In response, the Confederacy came up with a plan to divert the North’s vessels and open the waterways–a plan that would mean covertly building a navy in Britain with a cast of clandestine characters.

Latin America, World Journeys, Discovery.The Age of Sail.Commodore Levy: A Novel of Early America in the Age of Sail
(Modern Jewish History)
By all accounts, Uriah Phillips Levy, the first Jewish commodore in the U.S. Navy, was both a principled and pugnacious man. On his way to becoming a flag officer, he was subjected to six courts-martial and engaged in a duel, all in response to antisemitic taunts and harassment from his fellow officers. Yet he never lost his love of country or desire to serve in its navy. When the navy tried to boot him out, he took his case to the highest court and won. This richly detailed historical novel closely follows the actual events of Levy’s life: running away from his Philadelphia home to serve as a cabin boy at age ten; his service during the War of 1812 aboard the Argus and internment at the notorious British prison at Dartmoor;  his campaign for the abolition of flogging in the Navy; and his purchase and restoration of Monticello as a tribute to his personal hero, Thomas Jefferson. Set against a broad panorama of U.S. history, Commodore Levy describes the American Jewish community from 1790 to 1860, the beginnings of the U.S. Navy, and the great nautical traditions of the Age of Sail before its surrender to the age of steam.

History of Seafaring. Donald Johnson and Juha Nurminen.History of Seafaring.The History of Seafaring:
Navigating the World's Oceans
Navigating the World's Oceans.
Donald Johnson and Juha Nurminen
Royal prestige, intellectual curiosity, and territorial expansion all propelled mankind to undertake perilous voyages across unpredictable oceans. This large and lavishly illustrated volume brings that history to life. From the early Phoenician navigation techniques to the technologies behind today's mega-ships, the greatest advances in shipbuilding are covered, accompanied by hundreds of images, with an in-depth look at navigational instruments (including those used by the Vikings).

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Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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