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Monday, August 10, 2009

Ghost Story - Maritime Disaster on Puget Sound

Right down there. Under that water. Quietly rests a 1904 wreck.

Here is a tale of a ghost ship. One that went down so fast nothing was found. No life rings, no wooden rail, nothing. It is called the worst (worse?) maritime disaster on Puget Sound. About 39 people died. This was in November 1904. The little passenger steamship ferry was called the SS Dix. No one has been able to visit the wreck since it sits in 600 feet of water. And, of course, there was no gold on it, no one 'of merit' in the national sense perished so there has not been alot of modern interest in specifically locating it on the sea floor. But a whole community shut down in grief after this happened. No one residing in Port Blakely, Bainbridge, at the turn of the 20th century, went unaffected by this tragedy. The only female to survive was a young lady who the tale is told her pleated skirt filled with air and she floated. (Let's keep in mind sensational journalism is not new to our current media) Every other woman perished, since they wore heavy wool and corsets, and were downstairs in the warm interior room next to the steam engine. The ship went down in 6 minutes. About 35 other boys and men survived, along with the Captain of the ship.
The current Washington State ferry system floats dozens of times daily over the wreck. Sometimes I look in the water and get the heebie jeebies. It is down there and none of the 300-500 passengers know it. Well, except for me and the ferry captain.

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