British Columbia Tofino Wrecks

Mackaydon

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Granted, Drake was on the West Coast of South America in 1579, having taken the Cacafuego in March or April. And granted he was trying to get back to England but could not return by going south where the Spanish were waiting for him. What I've read is that he got as far north as California (Drake's Bay??) (after possible dumping 40 tons of silver at Cano Island, Ecuador) then turned West and....the rest is history.

I think he ventured north along the coast to either find the Northern Passage back through America OR to find the right current on which to sail to the west. I don't think he was exploring for added riches, per se, after the Cacafuego. He was desparately attempting to get back to England. He was already overloaded with bounty.

Drake in Canada! That would truly add another page to history.
 
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Cash

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This is absolutely outstanding what a healthy post this has turned out to be. Nice work from both Mackaydon and Mariner. I firmly believe that this part of the continent has not been as explored historically as others from a shipwreck point of view as the focus of the dawn of shipwreck hunting came out of Seville and was based on Florida and the Caribbean (dont shoot me for my opinion) there is a feasible idea that Drake did make it this far and why not others, it has currents and wave action which as we all know can carry a vessel for a distance before one finds themselves way off course and in this finds a new place worth returning to, thank you for the map, its great just room for more thought, regards Cash
 

mariner

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I don't want to divert the thread too much, but just some further comments about Drake.

Queen Elizabeth I would be pleased and surprised that her Royal plot to disguise Drake's movements is still working well enough to fool a smart cookie like Cornelius.

If anybody still believes that Drake did not search for the Northwest Passage and that he went anywhere near San Francisco, they have not examined the evidence clearly enough. Let me point you in the right direction.

Drake's voyage was shrouded in secrecy from the start. His crews and most of the officers were recruited for a trading voyage through the Mediterranean to Alexandria in Egypt. It was only later that they found at they were in for a somewhat longer trip.

Then when Drake returned to England, the secrecy continued. All his logs and charts were confiscated by the Queen and never seen again, his crew was sworn to secrecy about their movements under pain of death, and no accounts of the voyage were allowed to be published, even though this was England's greatest maritime achievement to date.

When an official account was published some time after 1589, by Richard Hakluyt, who worked for the Queen's devious Secretary of State Sir Francis Walsingham, it was deliberately falsified in several places for political reasons. This is easy to demonstrate.

For example, when Drake first entered the Pacific, he was driven south by a storm and found that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans joined below Tierra del Fuego. No mention of this in the official account: far too important a discovery to share with Spain!

Then when off Costa Rica he came across the ship belonging to Rodrigues Tello, the account says that Drake took a few items from her before leaving her to go on her way. Not so. We know from Spanish interviews with the crew that Drake took the ship with him, saying that his need was greater than theirs, and left them, instead, with one of his pinnaces. We also know from statements hiscousin John made to his later Spanish captors that Drake left this ship at New Albion when he returned to England. No mention of this in the Hakluyt account.

There are two, almost identical versions of the Hakluyt account. One written circa 1589 and the other slightly revised in 1600. You need to look at both for this next, very important, piece of evidence. both versions say that when Drake left Mexico, he considered only two ways of returning to England. The first was to re-trace his route through the Magellan Strait, the second to sail home west via the Moluccas. The account says that he chose the latter, but in the 1589 version, there is a (printed) marginal note that reads "A purpose in Sir Francis to return by the North West Passage." This is the exact opposite of what the text says. These marginal notes occur throughout Hakluyt's works, and are summaries of the main text. Therefore, at one stage the main text must have reflected this marginal note, and said that Drake decided to search for and return to England via the Passage. When the text was changed, almost certainly on the instruction of Walsingham, Hakluyt simply forgot to change or delete the telltale marginal note as well. He deleted it when he issued the 1600 version.

During the course of his voyage, Drake took many Spanish prisoners, and when they were interviewed by the authorities, several said that Drake had produced a map which showed the Northwest Passage, or Strait of Anian, and told them that was how he intended to return home. It was probably the 1570 Ortelius World Map. Tudor England was heavily focused on discovering this supposed searoute through or around North America, which would have offered a much shortened route to the rich new trading areas of China and the East Indies. When Drake left, Frobisher had just completed the second of his three voyages to find the Atlantic entrance, and reported that he had found it in what is now Canada, but that he could not go through it because the water was semi-frozen and there were large icebergs, and this in mid-July. Also, Sir Richard Grenville had argued that it would be better to search for the Passage from the Pacific side, sailing through the Magellan Strait and up the west coast of the Americas, just as Drake actually did. Queen Elizabeth had actually granted Grenville a license to do this, but withdrew it, supposedly because she did not trust him not to attack the Spanish settlements on that route. Instead she secretly gave the contract to Drake, and this was the purpose of his voyage.

Back to the voyage. On Tello's ship was a pilot who had his charts for sailing between Mexico and the East Indies, so Drake would have known that to reach the Moluccas, you sailed south west, then west along the equator for several thousand miles, and then north. Instead he headed north, supposedly to "take a Spanish course" but actually to reach the Pacific North West, where he could search for the Passage, as the Marginal note implies and the main text originally stated.

Hakluyt says that when they reached 42 degrees (the California-Oregon border) they encountered extremely cold weather, and were forced to run back to the American coast, where they found a "good and faire harbor" at 38 degrees, which is in the region of San Francisco.

However, the only two detailed, handwritten account of the voyage, which are preserved in the British Library, were unpublished in Drake's time and therefore not subject to the same kind of censorship, tell a different story. They say that Drake went in search of the strait, but being afraid to spend too long looking for it (remember Frobisher's warning that the eastern end of the Passage was frozen by mid July) so he turned south and sailed as near to the coast as he could, until he came across a suitable harbor, where he stayed until the end of August. Both these accounts say he went up to 48 degrees (as opposed to Hakluyt's 38 degrees) and both say that his anchorage was at 44 degrees (not 38 degrees) which is on the mid-Oregon coast. Te Hakluyt account says that Drake stayed at New Albion from early June to mid July, but these handwritten account place it six weeks later. The Hakluyt account was altered to disguise the time Drake spent looking for the Passage. Both of these accounts are unsigned, but I have matched the writing of the longer 17 page account, and established that it was written by Reverend Philip Jones, who assisted Hakluyt in compiling his accounts. Indeed, it is the main source for that part of the voyage from when Drake entered the Pacific until he left Mexico, but not for the part where he was at New Albion. I think the other, three page account, was written by John Marten, Drake's senior steward.

So, do you choose to believe the official account, which is known to have been falsified in other places, or believe the handwritten accounts, when it comes to the location of Drake's anchorage.

And what about Drake himself? In 1592 he wrote to the Queen asking permission to publish his own account of his voyages. He refers to other accounts "whereby many untruths have been published, and the certain truth concealed, as I have thought necessary myself." Out of the horse's mouth!

All sorts of rumors filled the vacuum of information created by the Queen after Drake's return, some of them fueled by Drake himself. Within months of his return,he was planning a new voyage to the Pacific, offering investors seven pounds for every one invested and saying that he would be back within a year as he had found a new way home. We know this only from a letter sent by the Spanish Ambassador to his King.

So what was so important that the Queen should go to all this trouble to keep Drake's movements secret? It obviously has something to do with the things that were altered in the Hakluyt account. Drake's search for the Northwest Passage was one element, but the other was the fact that Drake had left Tello's ship behind at New Albion. We know from reliable Spanish reports that Drake had 85 people on board when he left Mexico, and that he only had 50 when he got to the Moluccas. The only place he had been in between was the west coast of America. My theory is that he went as far as the British Columbia coast, sailed into the Juan de Fuca Strait and mistakenly thought that it was the start of the Northwest Passage, could not find the next section (because it does not exist) and then left Tello's bark and a crew of about two dozen to man her, and to resume the search for the Passage after wintering on the Oregon coast. He and the Queen wanted keep Drake's search and supposed discovery of the passage secret from arch-rivals Spain, and also did not want them to know that there was still an English presence on the American west coast.

So now you know the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

Sorry it was such a long post. If I had known it would take so long, I probably would not have started it!

Mariner
 
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Cash

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That is good reading and much appreciated, history is the key. I owe you several cold frosties. Cash
 

hmmm

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;)HMMM funny thing, drake pulled into a bay called port desire, [google it]named by magellin some 57 years ealier, i park my sail boat in port desire.hmmm the gaff boat in my profile picture is leaving the bamfield harbour and the entrance to port desire. the boat is robert lewis stevensens boat. hmmm. barkly sound is hi defination on google eatrh, military uses the sound and knows more then we give them credit for.. my oldest coin is from 1428 , minted befor columbis set foot on america. know about the area, that i do. hmmm
the stern light came from port desire ans was probobly from the swan.
not to be confused with the black swan.
 

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hmmm

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cash did you know tofino is on the manila trade rout.
 

mariner

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Hmmm,

Where did you get a daft idea like that ? The Manila Galleons kept south of about 40 degrees, so that the prevailing winds and currents would take them south along the California coast to Mexico. Above that, the Japanese drift currents would take them north along Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

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hmmm

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they would sail past japan and take the west winds on the 40, van island is on the 48, like i said they sail near the island.
 

Daryl Friesen

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Hey,

I dont know of any wrecks near Tofino but I do know there is supposed to be a Spanish Wreck near the head of Bute Inlet which I have lots of data on and there is also supposed to be a Spanish Cannon in the Harrison river. Also there is a old Spanish mine near the head of Harrison on Silver Creek. Contact me for more info if interested.

Daryl
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http://www.bc-alter.net/dfriesen/mineintro.html
 

ivan salis

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potters - the treasure divers guide--- list the wrecks -- the beeswax wreck and others near there - Ivan
 

mariner

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Ivan,

The beeswax wreck is at Nehalem, Oregon, which is about 400 miles south of Tofino.

Mariner
 

ivan salis

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opps sorry I'm over on the east coast --- didn't think distance was that far, minds a bit fuzzy been a long time since I went up to bellingham and played at the casino there --- but the old potters book is a good source of info still --- Ivan
 

Dive Corps

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Cash,

There is a bay near the northern tip of Vancouver Island called San Josef Bay. I met somebody a couple of years ago who had worked in a logging camp not far from the Bay in the 1950s, who said that he had gone there once with a friend and found a bronze cannon sticking out of the sand. They could not dig it out because the sand kept backfilling the hole, and in any case, they would not have been able to move or transport it. He got moved to another camp shortly afterwards, so never went back. He had earlier met a US recluse called Earl Lincoln, who had lived in a small cabin in the area for many years. On the wall of Earl's room was a metal breastplate, which he said he had found in a cave just North of the Bay. Earl said that the cave had a pit in its floor, in which there were a number of headless skeletons, with full body armor, including breastplates, and arm and leg guards. He had fished the one breastplate out. He drew a map showing the location of the cave for my informant, but this map had been lost when he and his wife split up.

I have checked on Earl Lincoln, and he did exist. I have photographs of hm and other information.One of his diaries is in the Port Hardy museum, but it contains nothing related to this story. After he died, his cabin was left to ruin and finally burned down. I have a map showing its location. I have not been able to find any record of the breastplate, and although I have spoken to other people who had visited his home,none of them remember a breastplate on the wall.

Although the story of the headless skeletons sounds bizarre, we do know that the Indians on the west coast of Vancouver Island did behead captives, both from neighboring nations and white visitors. I forget the name of the boat, but Chief Maquina from Nootka Sound once captured a trading ship, about 1800, and beheaded all but two of the crew. One of these was the blacksmith called Jarrett, and he later wrote an account of the two years he spent as a slave of the tribe. Maquina laid all of the heads on the ship's deck so that Jarrett could identify them and tell him if any other crew members were missing. Also, there is some folklore among the Kwakwakawakwa Indians who used to occupy the northern area of the Island about a rattle used in ceremonial dances that was made from a European helmet containing a skull, with a handgrip consisting of another bone that went through holes drilled through both sides of the skull and helmet. About a hundred years ago, anthropologists from the Smithsonian found three skulls in a cave just south of San Josef Bay. After examination, they were declared to be Chinese. They are somewhere in the Smithsonian collection. There might, or might not, be a connection between these skulls and the headless, armored skeletons. There is the wreck of a schooner in San Josef bay, but it will not be connected with the supposed bronze cannon, because it only wrecked there about 1920. I cannot remember its name off the top of my head.

Another place in BC where there is almost definitely some kind of wreck is at the north end of the Queen Charlotte Islands, probably in the region of Parry Passage, which runs between the northern island and Langara Island. There are stories among the Haida Indians of two early wrecks, and a couple of years ago, I was told that two guys from Prince Rupert had found two bronze cannons on land in that area, carrying dates of 1586 and 1587 plus the Spanish coat of arms. When I contacted the two guys, they absolutely denied it, but they would, wouldn't they, as Mandy Rice Davies once said. At the time, I thought that the guns could only have come from the San Antonio, a Manila Galleon that went missing in 1704, but I could not make any progress in finding further evidence, and got nowhere with the two guys, but all the indications are that the Haida were the first BC Nation to start using copper sheets, which might have come from an early-ish wreck.

I also know somebody who is convinced he has located two sunken ships containing gold at the far end of the Butte Inlet, which is north of Vancouver Island, but I know of no historic context for the story he tells about how they came to be there, and did not think his story worth pursuing. He was willing to share the wealth with somebody who had the equipment and was willing to try to recover the supposed wrecks, and I suppose I have his contact details somewhere. He lives on Vancouver Island.

A friend of mine also told me about information he had been given about another early wreck on the southeast of Vancouver Island, but he died without giving me the details, and there was no information among the papers he left to his daughter.

An interesting place, the British Columbia Coast.

Good luck with your plans to live there.

Mariner

Mariner.... I would like to discuss this post with you
 

Sweepguy

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The spanish manila fleet lost many galleons , two weere located near the mouth of the columbia river , google the beezwax mound , this is ware my trail started to search for my spanish mound in the b.c. interior and also the harrison lake losts gold mines
 

CoinFetcher

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Sweepguy,
Welcome to treasurenet and for reviving this thread.
Can't believe my entries were nearly 15 years ago.
Don......
As a Mariners in the straights of Juan de fuca just today (it was not fun out) - this post had my Imagination spinning! Great old post
 

Sweepguy

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Good day , it has been a long time scince i posted on this great site , my research has taken me inland to the okanagan valley following the legend of the spanish mound, i am getting very close to finding my life goal with the help of great historians and archeologist and first nations friends.The sword of Keromeos, found in the area of the first battle , we have dated this sword at 1741
 

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