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Transportation History

The Graveyard of the Pacific

Shipwreck Tales from the Depths of History

by (author) Anthony Dalton

Heritage House Publishing
Initial publish date
May 2010
History, 20th Century, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13
  • Grade: 8


On January 22, 1906, the passenger ship Valencia lost her way in heavy fog and rain and rammed into the deadly rocks at Pachena Point on the west coast of Vancouver Island. As the wreck was shattered by the pounding waves, the survivors clung desperately to the rigging. Few made it the short distance to shore through the frigid and turbulent waves—117 of the 164 souls aboard perished. A year earlier, the King David had been wrecked on Bajo Reef near Nootka Sound. The fate of her sailors was much more mysterious.


Today, the magnificent Pacific coastline of Vancouver Island draws hikers, surfers and storm-watchers to marvel at its natural splendour. But the ghosts of the Valencia, King David, Janet Cowan, Pacific, Soquel and dozens of other lost ships still haunt the rugged shores of the Graveyard of the Pacific. Anthony Dalton tells the incredible stories of many of these ships and their courageous crews, who often discovered that their nightmares had only begun once they made it ashore. These true tales of disaster and daring rescues are a fascinating adventure into British Columbia maritime history.

About the author

Anthony Dalton is an adventurer, author and public speaker. Between 1970 and 1980 he led regular expeditions across the Sahara, through the deserts of the Middle East and into the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. In 1984 he travelled hundreds of nautical miles along the Arctic coast of north-western Alaska alone in an inflatable speedboat. In 1994 he joined twelve members of the Cree First Nation on a traditional York boat voyage on the Hayes River between Norway House and Oxford House. While canoeing the second half of the Hayes River from Oxford House to York Factory in 2000 he participated in a television documentary on great Canadian rivers for the Discovery Channel.

Dalton has written five non-fiction books and collaborated on two others. His illustrated non-fiction articles have been published in magazines and newspapers in twenty countries and nine languages. He is currently working on two television documentaries based on his books.

Anthony Dalton is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Explorers Club, a Member of the Welsh Academy and National President of the Canadian Authors Association.

Anthony Dalton's profile page

Librarian Reviews

The Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwreck Tales from the Depths of History

The Graveyard of the Pacific tells the story of shipwrecks along the west coast of Vancouver Island, from the time of the European explorers, through the era of sailing ships, to 1972. It is estimated that there is a wreck site every mile north from Victoria to Cape Scott. This horrendous situation led to the development of a telegraph line and trail, and eventually to an upgraded a Lifesaving Trail, which became the basis for the present-day West Coast Trail that caters to hikers, surfers and storm-watchers. These accounts of tragedies and intrepid rescues reveal an interesting facet of BC maritime history.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

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