“The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River.”
“Sailing from Salina Cruz, Mexico, on or about September 26, 1906, the Peter Iredale was bound for Portland, Oregon with 1,000 tons of ballast and a crew of 27, including two stowaways.”
“The voyage up the coast was unremarkable until the night of October 25, when Captain H. Lawrence sighted the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse at 3:20 a.m. local time.”
“The crew altered course first east-northeast and then northeast to enter the mouth of the Columbia River in thick mist and a rising tide.”
“Under strong winds out of the west, an attempt was made to wear the ship away from shore, but a heavy northwest squall grounded the Peter Iredale on Clatsop Sands.”
“High seas and wind drove the ship ashore.”
“A lifeboat was dispatched from Hammond, Oregon and assisted in evacuating the sailors, who were tended to at Fort Stevens. No casualties occurred in the accident.”
“After several weeks waiting for favorable weather and ocean conditions, the ship had listed to the port and become embedded in the sands.”
“Captain Lawrence’s final toast to his ship was: ‘May God bless you, and may your bones bleach in the sands.'”
- Wikipedia, Peter Iredale
Spending a day with the Peter Iredale was a turning point for me.
It was almost like I could hear the voices of the past.
The tragic beauty struck me.
My birthday is on Saturday. This year has been a greater mountain to climb than I ever could have imagined. Seeing this ship, I thought I knew how it felt.
I wanted to read its story, and when I did, I was surprised. I had expected to read of men suffering and dying, and of great tragedy. But I didn’t. I read of help dispatched and of no casualties. I read of a Captain who gave his ship a parting blessing, as though the wreck were worthy of remembrance.
And here she stays, her bones still in the sand, like the life of her rose and went on and only the shell remained.
We all have wrecks and crossroads in our lives, where we can choose to leave what we once were behind, letting our bones bleach in the sand, and keep on. My new birthday goal? :)