Torrent, Dangerous Cape

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Torrent, Dangerous Cape

by | Apr 13, 2020

Dangerous Cape Reef extends west for 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from Dangerous Cape, a headland that shelters Coal Cove at the north entrance of Port Graham, 22 miles (35 km) southwest of Homer and 4 miles (6.5 km) northwest of the community of Port Graham, Alaska. Torrent was a three-masted wooden sail ship, built-in Bath Maine, that wrecked on Dangerous Cape Reef on 15 July 1868. In 2007, a team of divers found the remains of the ship, possibly the oldest American shipwreck ever found in Alaskan waters.

Port Graham is on the southwest coast of the Kenai Peninsula, about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Seldovia. The bay was originally named “Grahams Harbour” by Captain Nathaniel Portlock in 1786. The Russians called this bay “English Bay”, probably because of the English mapping and visitation there in the late 18th century. Coal Cove is a small bight, about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide, on the north shore of Port Graham that was named “Coal Bay” by Portlock who found coal there on July 25, 1786. This was the site of a small Russian coal mining operation until 1867.

Shortly after the Alaska Purchase of 1867, the U.S. Army dispatched several batteries of soldiers to Alaska to protect American interests in the former Russian territory. Battery F of the Second Artillery sailed for Cook Inlet aboard the chartered, civilian-owned sailing bark Torrent with instructions to scout locations for an army fort near Kachemak Bay. Torrent carried approximately 125 Army officers and soldiers, plus a civilian crew of around 12 sailors. Also aboard were passengers that included women and children. While attempting to enter Coal Cove, the Torrent struck the reef extending off Dangerous Cape and began to take heavy seas. Everyone aboard escaped in the ship’s boats, but the vessel broke apart and sank. Read more here and here. Explore more of Dangerous Cape here:

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