Cheslakee Memorial

Went to see the location in Van Anda on Texada Island where the Cheslakee steamship memorial is erected. Here’s the Wikipedia snippet:

On Monday, January 6, 1913, Cheslakee departed Union dock in Vancouver at 8:45 pm bound for Van Anda, on Texada Island. The ship, under the command of Capt. John Cockle, (d. 1917) had embarked 97 passengers and loaded 45 tons of cargo. Cheslakee arrived at Van Anda at 3:25 am the next morning, January 7. Eight passengers disembarked, and some cargo was offloaded. Twenty minutes later, in stormy weather the ship departed Van Anda bound for Powell River. About ten minutes later, with the ship about 1.5 miles from Van Anda, a heavy squall struck the vessel, with a wind speed estimated at 65 miles per hour. This caused the vessel to heel over on the left side at an angle of about 25 degrees. Two heavy seas struck the vessel at about the same time, causing some cargo to break loose, which made the vessel more unstable. The pilot, First Officer Robert Wilson, turned the ship around to head back to Van Anda, with the wind striking on the left side of the vessel. This helped bring the ship somewhat more upright. When Captain Cockle reached the wheelhouse, he concurred in the decision to return to Van Anda, and he ordered Chief Steward G.J. Booth to have all passengers prepared to disembark immediately upon arrival.[7]

When the ship reached the dock, Captain Cockle tried to bring the left hand side of the ship alongside the wharf, so that if the vessel rolled, it would strike the wharf rather than go into the water. However, the ship lost power before this could be done, and it was the right side of the ship that was laid against the pier, even though the ship was leaning over sharply to the left. A gangway was run out on the right hand side onto the dock, and passengers disembarked. Eventually the lean became so sharp that the gangway could not reach the dock, and it had to be supplemented by a long plank. The ship started flooding and began to sink. According to a report, all the officers remained calm. Captain Cockle personally rescued three loggers who were trapped on board. However, not everyone was able to get off, and seven people drowned. This was the only loss of life on a passenger vessel in the 70-year history of the Union Steamship company.


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