Posted by – November 17, 2013
December 20, 1886
A FLOATING COFFIN.
The Wrecked Whaling Bark Atlantic a Mass of Rotten Timbers.
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 20.-Thousands of people visited the wreck of the whaler Atlantic on the ocean beach yesterday. None of the twenty-five sailors still missing have been found, although the beach has been searched for miles. The investigation of the causes which led to the disaster will be interesting. The Atlantic was a fair sample of the vessels composing the large whaling fleet which sails out of San Francisco; she looked as seaworthy as any of the fleet, but as she lies on the beach here, broken into match-wood, it is plain that she was a floating coffin.
The surf on the sandy beach beat her into pieces as if she had been stuck together with glue. One can pull the ringbolts out of her rotten timbers. Her shattered boats show the same criminal disregard of life. The boards of which they are made are of the poorest material, loosely tacked together with the cheapest nails and painted over to hide the defects. A prudent man would not select the boats for a duck hunt on a pond, much less for a whaling expedition in the Arctic.
From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
The 1886 Morbid Scrapbook