USCG Pterodactyls come to see the Graveyard

(reposted from The Daily Astorian’s website):
Astoria hosts Coast Guard’s Pterodactyl Roost
Annual meeting brings pilots and other flight-crew members to view the Graveyard of the Pacific

By KARA HANSEN
The Daily Astorian

About 200 U.S. Coast Guard aviators descended on Astoria as the annual Pterodactyl Roost began Thursday.

The annual meeting of the Coast Guard Aviation Association, a fraternal organization also known as Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl, brings together pilots and other flight-crew members for four days of sight-seeing at the Graveyard of the Pacific.

Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, will also attend part of the event. Second in command in the Coast Guard, Crea is the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. military.

Coast Guard Group Astoria competed against Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii for the opportunity to play host to this year’s Roost, said Lt. Adam Davenport, an Astoria pilot.

“We sold the Pterodactyls on Astoria by showcasing its scenery, charm and high probability of breathtaking search and rescue,” he said, noting Coast Guard members cross the country to train in the rough waters at Ilwaco, Wash.’s National Motor Lifeboat School and at Astoria’s Advanced Helicopter Rescue School. “We are a destination for SAR training and experience for the entire Coast Guard, both afloat and air assets.”

Those attending the Roost will visit historic sites such as Fort Clatsop and the Doughboy Monument and filming locations from the “Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop” movies, sample Oregon seafood and wine and explore Washington’s North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment, overlooking the treacherous Columbia River bar.

They’ll also get to check out some of the Coast Guard’s newest and recently updated aircraft: the new MH-60T Thunderhawk helicopter, the HC-144 Casa search plane, an MH-65 helicopter from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., a C-130 plane from Air Station Sacramento, Calif., and one of Air Station Astoria’s three HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters.

The event was coordinated by a committee of Coast Guard Lt. Rob Potter, Lt. Brooks Crawford, Rear Adm. Ed Nelson, Capt. Rod Leland, Cmdr. Ron Larsen and Cmdr. Malcolm Smith under the direction of Capt. Peter Troedsson, Coast Guard Group Astoria’s commander. It ends Sunday with a business meeting.

Davenport said the organization offers numerous benefits for members, mainly by helping them stay connected with Coast Guard aviation, enjoy camaraderie of former and current colleagues, network for future jobs “and promote recognition and historical preservation of all things Coast Guard aviation.”

All 19 pilots at Air Station Astoria have been members at some point. “We get invited to join upon receiving our wings,” Davenport said.

Links:
Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard at NW Limited…History in VogueTM
Article at Daily Astorian

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162 years ago, the USS Shark

sank (Sept. 10, 1846) on the Columbia River Bar after spending several weeks at Ft. Vancouver.
The crew survived, but the Pacific Graveyard consumed the 86 ft. Navy survey schooner.

Click to see where to buy the whole thing!

Click to see where to buy the whole thing!

Pieces of the wreck were salvaged as far south as Arch Cape and as recently as Winter, 2008. (click underlined links to see previous articles about the Shark with pictures posted on this blog)
The history of this one ship has captured global attention, and reminded us all of our long-standing fascination with shipwrecks and maritime history.
While the carronades which were uncovered by the 2007-2008 Winter’s ravages are yet to be restored or fully proven to be from the Shark, they are periodically displayed at Nehalem Bay State Park in Manzanita, OR and have been the topic of historic presentations at local museums.

Links:

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site featuring an article on the Shark
Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard at NW Limited…History in VogueTM
Columbia River Maritime Museum

Tales from the chart – The Erria (interview by D. Kanally)

The Fire Aboard the Erria – December 1951
An Interview with Don Fastabend by David Kanally.
This interview and additional information on the Astoria Marine Construction Company and Joe Dyer’s boats may be found at Columbia River One Design
Original archival materials are stored at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR.
Photos courtesy of Cliff West.

The Erria under Tow after the fire was put out

The Erria under Tow after the fire was put out

(Ed note: On December 20th, 1951, the Danish Freighter Erria caught fire while anchored in the Columbia River along the shores of East Astoria , Oregon . Eleven souls were lost in the fire. Don Fastabend, owner of Astoria Marine Construction Company (AMCCO), was a machinist lead for the firm at the time, working at their Tongue Point facility. He was called, along with many of his colleagues, to help fight the blaze. His account of the dramatic incident follows.)

“The Erria had been in Portland and was headed out to sea, but the Columbia Bar was rough that night, so they decided to anchor in the river near East Astoria until things calmed down. About 1 or 2 a.m. on December 20th, they started to pick anchor and something went wrong. Some people believe that the wiring to the motor on the anchor windlass caught fire. That wiring ran through the #3 hold, and that was the worst burned of the whole ship.In any case the fire was discovered. Erria was a combination freight and passenger vessel, so there were crew and passengers aboard. They immediately launched the lifeboats and rowed to the nearby Coast Guard station. The Coast Guard and the Navy responded and squirted water on the fire for a while, but pulled off by 4 or 5 o’clock the next afternoon. The ship had listed pretty badly, and the fire was still going strong.

Smoke is billowing not from the fire, but from an auxiliary motor used to power the anchor windlass. Bob West photo, 1952.

Smoke is billowing not from the fire, but from an auxiliary motor used to power the anchor windlass. Bob West photo, 1952.

A salvage company was called in, and their representative, Captain Whitmore, showed up in town and inquired at the Chamber of Commerce, looking for which companies controlled the local labor market. AMCCO had about 400-500 people working then, so was a prime labor source. The word went out at the Tongue Point facility, “Don’t go home tonight at quitting time.”

Whitmore arrived on the scene at Tongue Point and began asking where CO2 could be obtained. We knew that the Navy kept CO2 in a hangar at Pier 3 at Tongue Point . So Whitmore called the officer on duty…it was the end of the day and all the brass had gone home, so the duty officer was probably an Ensign. Whitmore introduced himself as Captain Whitmore (a rank possibly attained in the Merchant Marine), but the young Ensign took him for a Navy four striper!So the Ensign called out the duty section and the CO2 was promptly delivered to Whitmore. This worked so well, that our boss, Johnny Cederberg, thought Whitmore should try the same tactic to get a vessel to carry the CO2 and the crew out to the Erria.

It worked again, and before we knew it we had a LCM 6 (a 56-foot landing craft) with fire monitors and a Navy crew!

The Erria anchored just off East Astoria. Bob West photo, 1952.

The Erria anchored just off East Astoria. Bob West photo, 1952.

We rigged up a manifold arrangement for the CO2 tanks that allowed us to change out tanks and keep the CO2 flowing. We journeyed out and came alongside the Erria. The side of the ship was just glowing red with heat in the engine room, where the hottest part of the fire was. We played water with the fire monitor on the side of the ship ’til it cooled enough that we could hold the bow of the M boat against it.

We burned a 3” hole in the side of the ship and started dumping CO2 inside the ship. By morning the engine room fire was out. We came back ashore for a while at that point, to get more CO2. There wasn’t any more from the Navy supply, but we knew there was CO2 aboard Navy ships, so we began “acquiring” more.

By about 8:30 or so, the Lieutenant Commander in charge of repair operations at the shipyard came up to me and asked me what we were doing, so I told him about what we were up to. He also wondered who the hell Whitmore was, and pretty soon, Whitmore was gone and they took the landing craft back and we all went home and got some sleep.

The next day we all met at the dock of Arrow Tug and Barge and met up with Mr. Martinoni, who was the president of the salvage company. He stayed with us until the bodies were recovered and the fire was put out.

We used a barge to haul pumps out, and we pulled alongside the Erria and began pumping water into and out of the ship. We’d feel along for hot spots, burn a hole and pour in water. The fire was mostly between decks.

I found the first two bodies by the doorway on the main promenade deck, two young women crew members.

The other people who died were sitting in chairs in the lounge just off the boat deck. We figured, since there was no power to the davits that the crew had to lower the lifeboats down to deck level manually, and these people were waiting for that operation to take place, and were overcome by smoke and gasses. One of them was trying to get out on his hands and knees, but got trapped in a corner. Another guy tried to go back to his stateroom to get something, and never made it back. We pretty much swept him up with a broom.

The deck was all teak, and heavily oiled, and there were a lot of hardwoods used in the construction, and lots of varnish, so that would make for bad fumes and gasses.

We only saved one hold, hold #5.

Eventually we got a lot of the water pumped out and the ship leveled out.

The Erria was quite a ship. She even had a swimming pool. One of the holds, hold #4, was refrigerated and was full of apples. The fire got into the insulation of the refrigerated spaces and caused us to wonder what would have happened if all those apples would have burst at once!

We all worked day and night, with not very much sleep, to get that fire out. I’ll never forget that I earned $600 the week of Christmas. And our normal wage back then was $1.85 an hour, so $600 was very big money for that time.

The Erria being towed by the Zwarte Zee. Bob West photo, 1952.

The Erria being towed by the Zwarte Zee. Bob West photo, 1952.

Anyway, the Erria was eventually towed to dry dock in Portland , to be completely checked out to be sure she was seaworthy to be towed back to Europe for rebuilding . She was brought back down to Astoria, and anchored at just about the same spot where the fire happened, while she waited for her tow by the tug Zwarte Zee.

The Zwarte Zee. Bob West photo, 1952.

The Zwarte Zee. Bob West photo, 1952.

She was rebuilt as a freight-only vessel and made it back to the Columbia River once that I know of. I remember one more funny thing: When we got to the crew quarters in the aft section of the ship, we found a stash of Danish 9% beer, which was pretty darn good. When the crew came back and found out what had happened to their beer, they were pretty mad at us, so we went out and bought them some Lucky Lager. They gave it one taste and weren’t very happy. They said “This stuff is like Kool-Aid!”
Links:
(and thank you) The original story hosted on Columbia River One Design’s website
Columbia River Maritime Museum

218 years of “Semper Paratus” – The USCG

On August 4, 1790, the United States Coast Guard was established (as part of the US Treasury).
From the United States Coast Guard “About Us” web page:
“The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is a military branch of the United States involved in maritime law, mariner assistance, and search and rescue, among other duties of coast guards elsewhere. One of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and the smallest armed service of the United States, its stated mission is to protect the public, the environment, and the United States economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports, and inland waterways.”

Here in the Pacific Graveyard, many owe their lives and livelihoods to the “Always Ready” United States Coast Guard.

The United States Coast Guard rescues an unknown fishing vessel (image used by permission)

The United States Coast Guard rescues an unknown fishing vessel (image used by permission)

On our Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard shipwreck chart, they are honored in the form of an insignia depicting the official seal and the Cape Disappointment “Guardians of the Pacific Graveyard” where the National Motor Lifeboat School is housed (and with good reason, the Columbia River Bar is one of the world’s most deadly crossings).
A USPS stamp dated 1945 commemorating the USCG, and historic photographs are included in this gathering of maritime history.
We at NW Limited…History in VogueTM thank the USCG for their assistance in creating our chart, and for their continuing support.
Happy 218 years!
The Motor Lifeboat School at Cape Disappointment is getting a new boat to celebrate, and take them into the future of lifesaving and marine safety:
Links:
United States Coast Guard (official website)
History in VogueTM (our website, where you can order a shipwreck chart for your favorite Coastie!)
Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay celebrates 100 years
Coast Guard gloats over boat; birthday gift will boost safety at Cape D
Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast returns home

USS Shark Cannons-History in Cannon Beach Wednesday

Can you find the Shark on this small section of our chart representing the Columbia River Bar area and some of the shipwrecks there?

Can you find the Shark on this small section of our chart representing the Columbia River Bar area and some of the shipwrecks there?

On Wednesday, August 13, the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum will host a lecture by Greg Shine on the cannons discovered in Arch Cape in February 2008,/a>. Shine is the Chief Ranger and Historian at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute. This free, public program will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the History Center.
The cannons are believed to be from the wreck of a Navy ship named the USS Shark, which was surveying the Columbia River Bar when it struck a shoal and ultimately sunk in 1846.
For more information about the program, please call the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum at 503-436-9301.
As always, you can call the office (503-338-6056), or drop by Astoria’s Sunday Market to pick up a souvenir of your visit, our
Dead Reckoning shipwreck chart, the newest and most complete listing of shipwrecks for this region, presented in a beautiful lithograph on high-quality paper, and the ultimate which is framed and has photographs of the wrecks and other historic memorabilia such as lighthouses.

Links:
Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard shipwreck chart at NW Limited…History in Vogue
Hear the stories of the USS Shark
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: Arch Cape Cannons
Cannon Lecture on North Oregon Coast Beach Connection.net

Experience

 

 

the

 WOW!

(click on the “wow” for our gallery)

 

 

 

 

The HMS Bounty stopped in Astoria

The HMS Bounty was here July 15-17, 2008, and has now left headed south.
If you’d like to find out where the HMS Bounty is currently located, please click here: HMS Bounty Schedule (from their website) and HMS Bounty Locator (A locator also hosted on the HMS Bounty’s website)
If you’d like one of our shipwreck charts, please feel free to give a call or email: 503-338-6056 or bill@nwlimited.com

The HMS Bounty at anchor in the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon July 15, 2008

The HMS Bounty at anchor in the Columbia River near Astoria, Oregon on July 15, 2008-Bounty has stopped over on her way from Port Alberni, BC on 9 day trip to attend San Francisco Tall Ships celebration July 22-27.

The historic HMS Bounty had been scheduled to attend the Tall Ships event in Ilwaco, WA, last month, but could not arrive in time on her way from Bodega Bay, California though the crew battled a monstrous headwind for days to try and make the event.

Needless to say, better late than never!  

We Astorians, and those lucky enough to be in the vicinity, were treated to the sight of a historic “star” such as the HMS Bounty anchored up just north of the shipping channel. 
These photos were taken July 15, 2008.

The HMS Bounty moored at 17th street pier near the Columbia River Maritime Museum and alongside a US Coast Guard cutter

The HMS Bounty moored at 17th street pier near the Columbia River Maritime Museum and alongside a US Coast Guard cutter

The HMS Bounty was built in 1960-1961 in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia; she was christened on 8/28/1961.  Created for the movie starring Marlon Brando, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, she has also been featured in Pirates of the Caribbean-Dead Man’s Chest, Treasure Island, and Sponge Bob Square Pants the Movie! 
The helm is original, from the 1935 movie in which Clark Gable also starred.

 

Quote from www.tallshipsbounty.org: “Known for a maritime mutiny that took place over 200 years ago, Bounty remains famous and infamous. Thousands cross her ample decks during port visits wondering what life was like then and now. You know her from her modern movies as well. In 1960, it was Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty. Today, it is Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest. ”

The Bounty will again cross beneath the Astoria-Megler bridge on her way back over the Columbia River bar, also known as The Pacific Graveyard when she departs

The Bounty will again cross beneath the Astoria-Megler bridge on her way back over the Columbia River bar, also known as "The Pacific Graveyard" when she departs

 

 

After San Francisco, the Bounty is also scheduled to attend the Festival of Sail in San Diego, California along with the USCG Cutter Eagle, which was here last month.

 

We wish her well on the next leg of her journey, and hope that you enjoyed the pictures.

Links:
HMS Bounty homepage
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Columbia River Maritime Museum website

Love tall ships and sailing, maritime history in general?
Why not inquire about a Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard shipwreck chart for your own?
Information to the right, or click our logo to visit our site!

Today in History: The USS Ronald Reagan

Five years ago, July 12, 2003: The USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier named for a living president, was commissioned in Norfolk, Va.

Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan tribute...great gift!
33″ X 14″ framed, numbered and limited edition tribute to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier by NW Limited…History in VogueTM features the Feb. 9, 2005 postmark and stamp honoring Ronald Wilson Reagan. $200

“Peace through strength”

To purchase, see the link below, or email bill@nwlimited.com call 503-338-6056

USS Ronald Reagan at NW Limited…History in VogueTM
United States Navy website of the USS Ronald Reagan
Our USS Ronald Reagan page here at WordPress

Dead Reckoning July

Even in July, the waters of the Pacific Graveyard can be lethal.
July 11, 2008. The sun shines warmly, winds are calm.
The river is smooth like a peaceful lake.

Columbia River Bar Pilot boat Columbia

Columbia River Bar Pilot boat Columbia

Large ships glide along the channel which is now amply marked for safe navigaton.
Tugboats traverse around them, and swift pilot boats designed to deliver a different captain for every portion of the journey maneuver for fuel refills, now staged to fulfill their job.
Pleasure fishing boats also ply the waters and flit back and forth at a whim.
Presiding over them all, the relatively new Megler bridge which was finished in 1966.

The Astoria-Megler bridge spans the Columbia River from Astoria, OR to Megler, WA

The Astoria-Megler bridge spans the Columbia River from Astoria, OR to Megler, WA

The United States Coast Guard is also nearby with boats and the occasional helicopter, carrying out practice maneuvers, or just keeping an eye on the unusually heavy traffic.

Beneath this idyllic scenery, the miscellaneous remains of more than 2000 ships, boats, and many of their passengers, crew and cargo have become part of the unseen, the ominous reminders of epic losses, or chance misfortune.

Some July entries from “Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard:”

Curacao -7/12/1940- Steamer: A boiler explosion sends her to a river tomb”
Zampa -7/14/1904- Schooner: Dead Reckoning into the Pacific Graveyard”
Perhaps the most historic of them:
U.S.S. Peacock -7/18/1841- Sloop of War: “Clear that white water” orders young Lt. Hudson as a shifting channel sets the ship amiss and strikes the bottom hard. “Man the pumps,” Hudson barks as an ebb tide secures the wedged ship for a constant pounding! “Remove yourselves and all pertinent papers”. The Lieutenant fears the worst and within 24 hours the ship is gone and the sandy tomb is renamed Peacock Spit!”


Though these ships have passed into history, you will find recognition of them and hundreds more on NW Limited…History in VogueTM‘s shipwreck chart.

River and mouth of bar detail of Dead Reckoning

River and mouth of bar detail of Dead Reckoning

 

The Columbia River bar at sunset as a ship heads over a calm bar

The Columbia River bar at sunset as a ship heads over a calm bar

Links:
Purchase a Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard shipwreck chart
History Link Online Encyclopedia of Washington History
Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, Oregon

Grand Opening-Columbia River Coffee Roaster’s Company Store

Exterior of Columbia River Coffee Roasters Company Store (doesnt show the cool weathervane, but the signs up!)

Exterior of Columbia River Coffee Roaster's Company Store (doesn't show the cool weathervane, but the sign's up!)

 Grand opening day at Columbia River Coffee Roaster’s Company Store (July 5) was great fun:
Live music, the ability to sample a multitude of delectable baked goods, ogle some fresh art and of course the aroma of freshly-roasting coffee beans is intoxicating.
The weather may have been drizzly out of doors,
 
but the overall mood inside the Columbia River
Coffee Roaster is always cheery and bright.  
Smells great!

Smells great!

    If not, then we know what true “liquid sunshine” really is! THUNDERMUCK!

Dead Reckoning Shipwreck Chart...thanks for letting us hang!

Dead Reckoning Shipwreck Chart...thanks for letting us hang!