The bark Canada shipwrecked near Skagway in 1898, 118 years ago. For eight years I've been anxious to explore what remains; however, the tide has always covered her. Today? There she was! Ray Tsang and I pulled my Honda Fit to the roadside and headed down to the beach. Yes, yes, yes! I was excited.
One might ask, How did the Canada get here to shipwreck in the first place? The National Park Service explains the basics on an interpretive sign up by my car.
The tale of the bark Canada is as exciting as a swashbuckling sea novel. Although her final resting place lies in the cold water below, her surprising story lives on.
The bark Canada, a merchant “windjammer,” was built in Bath, Maine, in 1859. During her 39 years at sea she hauled a variety of cargo to ports on six continents and in over twenty countries. She was damaged by hurricanes witnessed mutinies, enduring labor strikes, and once collided with another ship. Yet the Canada’s most exciting episode happened toward the end of her life.
When news of a major gold discovery in the Klondike reached the world, any vessel that floated was pressed into service for the Alaska trade. In late January 1898, the aging Canada with a cargo of building materials, set out on her last adventure.
She set out on her voyage, but here she ended up. Once we got down to the beach, Ron and I had to first cross a stream. He didn't want to go.
But I was determined. He filmed it, but wait. I'm across and Ray has my
phone to take that film. I wobbled and shrieked back over.
I started my second wobble across the creek. Ray came up with the idea of walking sticks for my balance. But it still leaves me skidding over slime and barnacles in my less-than-ideal footwear. Crocks! Half way to the what was left of the ship, I realized he'd changed his mind and was following me. Here is what we found.
I must say, there's not a lot left. A century plus 18 years has taken its toll.
Time to go back. Ray crossed first with his sticks, then hurled them over the creek to me.
A great adventure!