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More of N. Oregon Coast's Wreck of Peter Iredale Showing Than Ever Before: Astoria / Warrenton Surprise

Published 12/03/23 a 6:35 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

More of N. Oregon Coast's Wreck of Peter Iredale Showing Than Ever Before: Astoria / Warrenton Surprise

(Warrenton, Oregon) – To say this is stunning is a bit of an understatement. Not many have seen it this way, except perhaps decades ago. Big tides and crazed waves have scoured out a lot of sand at Fort Stevens State Park and now the Wreck of the Peter Iredale is in a fairly unprecedented state. (Photo Angela Orth)

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You can see the entire length of the Wreck of the Peter Iredale.

At least that was the case last week, and this week may be something different. Sands can go in and out.

A host of stunningly revealing photographs were snapped recently on social media, showing essentially all of its length and in some areas a few feet in depth of its skeleton. The old masts area showing, parts of its hull, and many of the steel beams that were the foundation of its deck – along with other parts of its structure that are unfamiliar to those who aren't mariners.

It's a rare treat for the Oregon coast.

Angele Orth of Washington was one of those who caught the moment during some of those coveted fairweather days on the coastline. She talked to Oregon Coast Beach Connection and echoed what many have said: they had never seen this much of it.


Photo Angela Orth

“I heard the sand had shifted and more of the Iredale skeleton was exposed but I didn't expect to see the whole thing,” she said. “I have been there many, many times in my life growing up, camping as well as day trips. I have never seen the whole ship ever. I thought it had eroded away not realizing it was just under the sand.”

A video of the waves rolling over the Pertrr Iredale this morning at low tide. For those of you who come out on a regular basis, you know that it's usually quite different in the summer. #peteriredale #oregoncoast #angidwildtphotography

Posted by Angi D Wildt Gallery on Sunday, December 3, 2023

Indeed that misconception seems to be a common one, as many people on social often lament that “more and more of it is disappearing.” It's not necessarily that parts are falling off – although that's quite possible. It's simply a matter of it slowly sinking further into the sands.

However, today – Sunday, December 3 – Angi Wildt of Angi D Wildt Gallery in Astoria took to the stormy sands of Fort Stevens and snapped these shots and video. The wreck of the Iredale is under gray skies and it's raining sideways. Even at low tide this morning the seas are in a bit of a rage and it's rather covered up.


Photo Angi D Wildt Gallery

These storms may simply move more sand around and cover it again, but more likely this wave action that's predicted through Wednesday will reveal even more of the famed shipwreck.

It was built in 1890, part of a British shipping firm called Iredale & Porter. See Wrecking the Peter Iredale: How Oregon Coast History Played Out in 1906 

The Iredale came here on Oct. 25, 1906. Another victim of the Graveyard of the Pacific along the Oregon coast and Washington coast, the vessel fell prey to stormy conditions on its way from Mexico to Portland. As it made the Columbia Bar, it sat for awhile waiting for a bar pilot to ease it over. However, big winds kicked in and soon the Iredale and crew found themselves stranded on this stretch of beach.


Photo Angela Orth

A couple of months later, regional news reported the Iredale had broken her back in the sand and was now a total loss. “During the past two weeks, the bark has been sinking by the stern in the quicksands, leaving her bow unsupported and the pounding received by the heavy seas in the recent gale snapped her keel,” a reporter wrote (according to the Clatsop Historical Society). See When a Japanese Submarine Fire Upon Fort Stevens

By January 8, its shell was for sale, with the hopes someone would break it apart and salvage the materials, then haul them off the sand. That didn't ever entirely take. See More to Peter Iredale Shipwreck Than Mere History

Meanwhile, down on the southern Oregon coast, the other major shipwreck here – the Sujameco – is not showing much. Sands of Horsfall Beach near Coos Bay have not vacated in a large way, leaving the mesmerizing wreck still covered up.

This past spring, it was surprising people by still showing prominently through early June. See Slow But Epic Oregon Coast Drama, Coos Bay's Sujameco Wreck Still Visible

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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