Darling River, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

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Darling River, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

by | Jul 21, 2019

The Darling River flows from the heavily logged interior forests of southwestern Vancouver Island, through the coastal strip of the Pacific Rim National Park Preserve and crosses a narrow beach about 8.5 miles (14 km) southeast of Pachena Bay, British Columbia. At the coast, the well-hidden Darling Falls pours over a cliff about 10-13 feet high (3-4 m) into a pool, and from there to the ocean in a narrow torrent. The pool is a popular stop for hikers on the West Coast Trail.

The mouth of the Darling River is well known for the wreckage of the Russian ship Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan was a steel steamship of 2,569 tons, built in 1937 in France as part of the lend-lease program during World War II when the U.S. shipped war materials to Russia. On April 1st, 1943, Uzbekistan departed from Portland, Oregon for Seattle to pick up a load of war materials destined for Vladivostok and encountered stormy weather and bad visibility. The crew mistook the light at Swiftsure Bank for the light at Umatilla Reef and steered toward what was thought to be the Juan de Fuca Strait, but because of the strong northerly current, she was far north of her supposed location.

At 11 pm Uzbekistan struck the rocky shelf just south of the Darling River. The entire crew made it to shore safely and the next day walked to Bamfield and was eventually picked up by a Royal Canadian Navy ship. The wreck was abandoned and eventually broke up and pieces were scattered along the shoreline. Today, the ship’s boilers and parts of the propulsion machinery can still be seen at very low tides at the edge of the reef, and pieces of steel can be found around the mouth of Darling River. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Darling River here:

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