Updating this post again since there is more information coming in:
The mystery of the Coos Bay shipwreck has been solved, even as more have been revealed.
Rumors of treasure and the possibility of finding more historic artifacts on the beaches of Oregon and Washington continues.
A local puzzler has been the whereabouts of the Peter Iredale’s bowsprit, which parted company from the main section of the shipwreck decades ago. It turns out that the bowsprit was right in Ft. Stevens Park all along (click link for news story).
2007’s mega-storm is apparently not finished giving in the form of historic intrigue along the Oregon (and Washington) coasts.
(Detail area showing the mouth of the Columbia River, where the USS Shark met her fate in 1846)
The “ghost ship” discovered in January near Coos Bay, Oregon has turned out to be the George L. Olson, which ran aground in 1944. She was a 223-foot long steam schooner originally launched in 1917.
The pre-Civil War era cannons (which are not really cannons, but carronades) found near Arch Cape, Oregon, over the Presidents Day weekend are believed to be part of the USS Shark’s carronade.
The USS Shark attempted to cross the Columbia River bar in 1846, and failed, grounding then sinking there.
Luckily no lives were lost, but all her cargo including a box containing $4,000 are missing. After 162 years, the cannons found this past weekend are in remarkably good shape.
Is it possible that the cash box from the USS Shark is still waiting to be found?
Two more wrecks have also risen from the sands:
The Acme is located north of Bandon, Oregon, near Cut Creek. She went aground on Halloween in 1924 when her captain missed the river’s entrance in foggy conditions. 416 tons of schooner was burned once most everything was salvaged, but she refuses to disappear entirely.
Photo courtesy of Dick Mason of Florence, OR from his page on Oregon Shores’ Coast Watch mile post 169
The wreck of the Bella surfaced south of where the Siuslaw River empties into the ocean at Florence, Oregon. Bella was wrecked in 1905. She appears to be in the process of disappearing beneath the sand again.
Dick wrote that there is another wreck visible near Florence. It’s a wooden hull, possibly the bow or stern, about 30-40′ barely visible. Here are the pictures he sent of what’s left:
The location is next to the Siuslaw River North Jetty, in the mudflat about 50 yards east of the Coast Guard observation tower.
Visible at low and minus tides, and in a deteriorated state.
Photos of the mystery shipwreck are also used by permission from the photographer, Dick Mason.
Could she be the “Wilhelmina,” or any of 13 other wrecks known to be in the area?
A fifth wreck is known to be lurking in Siletz Bay, waiting to re-surface, and researchers are eager for that occasion so they can determine the origin.
This spate of stories leaves one to wonder about what is still buried in the sands, or preserved in the chill waters off the Oregon and Washington coasts, waiting for the right time to be discovered.
The Pacific Graveyard is far from done collecting its due, but it is always providing us with volumes of intriguing stories, and clues to our history, in exchange.
What else might we discover as time passes and the wind, sand and sea roll over the remains of our hidden maritime history?
Whatever that may be, it’s clear that shipwrecks have cast a spell over all our imaginations, and captured our attentions.
Links to news stories and sources:
Shipwreck stories at World Link
Shipwreck resurfaces in Bandon
Two New Shipwrecks Have Emerged
One Shipwreck Mystery Solved, Two More Appear
Awash With Mystery
Shipwreck Mystery Intrigues Ocean Shores
Experts wonder what’s unearthing coastal treasures (Eugene Register-Guard
Tall Ships of San Francisco