View Full Version : Wrecks on the Sacramento River

Michael D. Storey
06-19-2013, 05:17 PM
So a while ago I asked for help in finding some wrecks that I mistakenly remembered Karl Kortum to have said were on the Russian River. One voice here urged me to call the library at the National Collection in S. F. Ca., which I did, and got a little help. It was suggested that the wrecks lay near Antioch and Pittsburg which are at the confluence of the San Juaquin and the Sacramento Rivers. I then started calling around. 44 calls later, I got to the Antioch Historical Society, and a real nice lady said, 'you need to talk to Gordon. He's only in on Wednesdays (which it was) So Gordon gets on the farhensprecher and says that when he was a kid, he used to jump off of one of these wrecks into the river, a blind date with death, if there ever was one. He said that there were only three ships. Well, I reckoned if Gordo remembered three, there were at least a dozen, so I went to google earth, and spotted 12. You can get coordinates to six digits right of the decimal, which is pretty accurate. It was possible to plunk the coordinates into the California shipwreck data base, and even identify some of them, right down to size and where and when they were built.

Wait. It gets better.
Max an Jesse were in California for Jakie's graduation from Stanford last Sunday, so we decided to go look at the boats. I rented three kayaks. (You can not, in good faith, say 'chartered' when it's only kayaks) We, along with Max' lovely and curveacous wife Lori paddled our way across the mighty Sacramento River, to Sherman Island. Jakie and I were together. We pulled near one wreck. Jakie did not see it as a ship until we were eight feet away, for the vegetation. Well, come to find out that there were more than 30 of these wooden monsters, all burned to the water line over 70 years ago, but brimming with a storey to tell, each of them. We took metal parts, some hand made, most not.
There are probably a lot more than 30.
It was one of the best days of my life, a life studded with adventure.
Suggest you go see for yourself.

Bob Myers
06-19-2013, 06:00 PM
I think I know the area you are talking about. I lived in the delta for 28 years, near Bethel Island. My old neighbor had a cabin on Sherman Island for years. He referred to the slough as Cabin Slough. It was across from Antioch. I went over there several times with him and remember a lot of sunk, abandoned boats. This was in the early seventies. On the Antioch side of the San Joaquin, I believe you can see the remains of the ferry boat Solano, which burned during the eighties. I can remember seeing some old abandoned wooden hulks around Bethel Island when I moved there. The delta is an interesting place and we spent a lot of time on the water when we lived there.