Wreck Of The Annie Smale
By James Donahue
The four-masted schooner
Annie E. Smale was laden with 1400 tons of coal, sailing from Australia to a Pacific coastal port in the United
State when it grounded on the rocks off Point
The accident happened
while the ship was picking its way through heavy fog at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, 1910.
According to newspaper
accounts, the Smale had been at sea for 100 days and was just completing its long journey across the Pacific. A fog horn at
Point Reyes was sounding that morning, and Captain J. E. Anderson said the crew had just
started to hear it only moments before the wreck.
Anderson said there was too little wind for him to successfully
change course. Realizing the ship was dangerously close to shore, he said he ordered the anchors dropped to hold the vessel
in deep water.
The anchors failed to
hold and the rolling seas drove the Smale into the rocks. The schooner struck broadside and the force of the impact opened
the hull. Anderson had the life boats lowered and gave the
order to abandon ship.
Aboard of Smale were
First Mate H. Kroger; the cook, J. Goki; R. Van Gordon, steward; seamen E. Cerb, J. Wenner, A. Ltensa, C. Heinz, P. Utilik
and W. Richards. Second Mate C. W. Erickson chose to stay aboard the wreck. The captain also had his wife and a nephew, E.
C. Gardiner, aboard as passengers.
The wreck was close enough
to shore that he said he believed he could get ashore more safely by climbing over the rocks.
Help was quick to arrive.
The fog lifted enough that the lookout at the Point Reyes lighthouse saw the wreck and sounded
emergency blasts on the horn. The steamer M. F. Plant was in the area and heard the signal. The skipper of the Plant, Capt.
S. H. Burtis, and stopped to take everybody aboard.
A rescue boat also was
sent to the wreck to save Erickson, who was still on the poop deck. They said the Smale was breaking up under his feet as
The Annie E. Smale was
declared a total loss.
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