There is something ghostly about shipwrecks in nature, especially when the shipwreck is off of an area known as the “graveyard of the Pacific”. Found just beyond a parking area at Fort Stevens State Park is the most iconic shipwreck on the Oregon coast, the wreck of the Peter Iredale. At low tide, you can walk right up to it, though all that remains from it being broken up by wave, wind and sand over the years, is the steel hull of the 275-foot sailing ship.
The ship ran in 1906 and it is said that it made it to the mouth of the Columbia River, through a shroud of fog, before a strong wind turned it, hitting Clatsop Beach so hard that three out of four masts snapped on impact. Fortunately, none of the crew were seriously injured. The ship was abandoned and rockets launched to signal for help.
The lifesaving station at Point Adams responded and though it was a dangerous rescue, all twenty-seven crewmen, including two stowaways, were safely rescued and brought to shore. It is said that “William K. Inman, one of the lifesavers who helped Captain Lawrence ashore, remembered that the red-bearded captain stood stiffly at attention, saluted his ship, and said ‘May God bless you and may your bones bleach in these sands.'”
The British Naval Court later ruled that the sudden wind shift and the strong current were responsible for the stranding of the ship and the stranding was not at the fault of the captain and crew.
Take a look at the stormy views and the shipwreck remains left today:
The beach was stormy, though we had just come from summer weather and blue skies in Beaverton, Oregon, and the weather changed once we hit the Oregon Coast. Even though it was stormy, it was still quite warm walking around the beach.
Exploring the shipwreck was both eerie and fascinating. We loved that it was left there in nature for us to be able to explore. We could see why, with such easy access, it is such a popular tourist attraction.
Have you ever been able to see such an accessible shipwreck? Where?