Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lupatia

Crossing The Bar~

Sunset and evening star,
     And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,
     When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
     Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out 
the boundless deep
     Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
     And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,
     When I embark;   

For though from out our bourne 
of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face
     When I have crossed the bar.

~Alford Lord Tennyson

Though the above poem may have been referring to Alford Lord Tennyson’s mortality and his own ‘final’ crossing, the poetic stanzas speak to practical roots as well.

I'm acquainted with many fisherman, family, and friends alike, who have more than a healthy respect for the Columbia River Bar. This, with good reason, for the infamous bar is nicknamed 'The Graveyard of the Pacific', and since 1792, approximately 2,000 ships have met with disaster near or on the bar itself, leaving 700 souls lost to its silvery gray waters.

In Captain Robert Gray’s time, the mighty Columbia River, 1,214 miles long and swift, didn't meet the Pacific Ocean quietly. Instead the fast flowing river collided with the sea's steep cresting tide like a mini nova. Thus, the fallout of sand and silt created the bar, and over time the Pacific's offshore currents formed tricky shifts within the bar's landscape.

While the advent of electronic equipment, buoys, dredging of channels, and the building of jetties, has improved navigation of the Columbia River Bar over the twentieth, and into the twenty first century, lives are still lost each year in and around the bar.  

The Lupatia, a British Bark, met such a demise on January 2nd, 1881. According to accounts from the construction crew of The Tillamook Head Lighthouse, otherwise known as 'Terrible Tilly' (which was just short of completion when the Lupatia clashed with the unforgiving rocks) the lighthouse crew lit lanterns and large fires in hopes of guiding the struggling ship in her passage, but alas their twelfth hour efforts were in vain.

Unfortunately for the Lupatia, a bitter southeasterly tempest had it's way with the ill fated ship and she crashed into the reef, claiming all aboard, save for, a one year old Australian Shepherd. 

A British Bark not unlike the Lupatia... 

Twelve men's bodies were recovered from the treacherous waters of the Pacific in the days following the shipwreck of the Lupatia. Carried inland, each of the Lupatia's crew were given a proper burial.

It is the four crew members of the Lupatia, never accounted for, who in part, inspired my story, The Lycan Moon. Did the fickle ocean carry these souls out to the infinite sea, or could another more interesting explanation be in order...

***Giveaway*** Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Leave a comment with your email addy, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a $20.00 Muse It Up Bookstore Gift Certificate, or to win an e-copy of The Lycan Moon!

*Note: If you have tried, and are unable to figure out how
to leave a comment on blogger (believe me I've been there) simply drop me an email at: s.durham49 at gmail dot com, with your comment and email address, and I will add you to the potential winner's list.

A drawing from the names will be held on Wednesday, August 1st and posted by Midnight.


Jacki C. said...

Enjoyed the write-up on the Columbia River Bar. I spent many summers in Astoria.


S. Durham Author said...

Hi Jacki,

Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes Astoria is a wonderful place to visit, and so rich in history.


J Q Rose said...

You gotta love these old poems. It was fun to re-visit Tennyson and to get some history on the writing. Yes, it does make great fodder for your story.

S. Durham Author said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for taking time to stop by for a look! Nice to see another Muse author here:)


Conda Douglas said...

Wow, what fascinating history, Sara! Also interesting to see hints of another author's inspiration. Please also enter me in the drawing, I'm conda_d (at) yahoo (dot) com.


S. Durham Author said...

Hi Conda! Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes I love shipwreck history. You are entered!