Modern Day Boating Disasters, Tragedies and Calamities along the California Central Coast
By Captain Joseph R. Rodgers
Names of places have always fascinated me. Especially names of points along our rugged and at times treacherous California seashore. We all know that Pigeon Point was named after the sailing ship Carrier Pigeon that missed the Golden gate in 1853.
The clipper ship Carrier Pigeon was 129 days out of Boston when she struck the rocks of what was then referred to then as “PUNTA de la BALLENA”. A navigational error of just 60 miles. The ship along with its beautiful figurehead of a pigeon became a total loss as well as a small tugboat named the Seabird that came down from San Francisco to be of assistance. A lighthouse was erected on the point that bears the name of Pigeon Pt.
But what of Franklin Pt. the point just south of there and located within the Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area. This site receives very low visitation compared to Pigeon Pt. Most of us just drive by without giving it a second look. This moderately sloping site consists of extremely uneven terrain, containing many deep cracks and folds. But what happened here? And who was Franklin?
While searching for San Francisco in 1865, the American clipper, Sir John Franklin, lost her way in a dense fog and mountainous sea. When the weather cleared some 24 hours later, the captain viewed the breakers ahead with great alarm….but it was already too late. Download the full chapter here.