Pelican 1 Shipwreck
The Pelican 1 was laid down as the wooden freighter MV State of Oregon but was launched by the Alaska Pacific Construction Company as the Oregon at Seattle on March 30, 1917. She measured 215′ length by 41.9′ width by 20.5′ depth of hold.
The operational history shows her license stated she was engaged in the coasting trade. The few records that exist for her suggest she carried freight between Seattle and waypoints in Alaska for most of her working life.
At the end of the Second World War, Bill Dixon of Victoria formed a small company called Fiushermabn Bay Limited. It was Dixon’s intention to build a ship’s ways and other services for the North Vancouver Island fishing fleet at Fishermans Bay, near Cape Scott. Fisherman Bay was two or three hours closer to the fishing grounds than Port Hardy. Upon arriving there in the fall of 1945, Dixon and his associates found it was difficult to land at Fisherman Bay because there was always a sea running. He purchased the Pelican 1 from Gibson in the spring of 1946 to be used as a breakwater. In July of 1946, the Pelican 1 was loaded with gravel and towed by Island Tug and Barge to Fisherman Bay. Upon arrival in August of that year, the ship was positioned across the entrance of the Fisherman Bay and the bottom was dynamited to sink it.
Fisherman Bay is very exposed to northerly winds. Wind and waves worried the vessel loose from its position and carried it ashore in October 1946. As there was no capacity to refloat the vessel, it was abandoned where it lay. In time, winter storms took their toll and the vessel slowly broke into several pieces.
For more information on the Pelican 1 and other shipwrecks of Southern Vancouver Island, go to: UASBC.Com. You can order the publication Historic Shipwrecks of Northeastern Vancouver Island from the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia publications.