Shipwreck and Survival on the Alaska Shore
Steve K. Lloyd
On a snowy
morning in January 1910, the Alaska Steamship Company liner Farallon ran aground on Black Reef in lower Cook Inlet, Alaska. Thirty-eight
men escaped in the ships lifeboats and reached the barren,
ice-strewn shore of Iliamna Bay where they huddled under make-shift
tents constructed from the Farallons sails. The ship had no
wireless, and the men were stranded on a desolate, wilderness coastline
in the full grip of winter with meager provisions, inadequate clothing,
and little hope of rescue.
Six of the
men took to the open sea in a 12-ft. lifeboat in a daring attempt
to reach far-distant Kodiak Island and arrange for a rescue. They
set out into vast Shelikof Straitone of the most dangerous
bodies of water in the North Pacific. These brave mariners, given
up for lost, were finally rescued more than two months later.
The Farallon incident
is particularly unique in that a compelling photographic record
of the wreck and the stranded partys travails was
made at the time. John E. Thwaites, an amateur photographer and
the ships mail clerk, took more than 50 high-quality images
of the stranded steamship shrouded in ice, the frostbitten men
burlap wrapped around their feet, and the barren, treeless lagoon.
These stark pictures vividly illustrate the desperation felt by
the stranded passengers and crew during their ordeal when temperatures
dropped as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. After 29 days, they
were rescued by the steamship Victoria.
Steve K. Lloyd, personally investigated the wild, storm-swept beach
where wreckage from the Farallon remains visible today. Lloyd brings
to life a riveting tale of hardy seafaring men who survived hunger
and despair against incredible odds.
is an amateur shipwreck historian and avid scuba diver. With his
wife, Julie Drake, he owns a bookstore in Anchorage, Alaska, dealing
in rare and out-of-print books.
trying to function . . . on an exposed and desolate beach, day after
day, night after night . . . Imagine trying to sustain a fire of
green willow and alder branches as a blizzard howls for days without
ceasing, and, with smoke in your eyes, watch the last of your salvaged
stores dwindling, dwindling. Just imagine . . . and read on."
From the Introduction, by Jeff Richardson, Homer, Alaska
maps, notes, bibliography, index
224 pages (2000)
in Canada through