Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In Middle of Bay Whale and Fast-Ferry Boat Meet -- February 26, 2013

North Pacific Coast ferry San Rafael sank on 30-November-1901 when she was rammed by ferry Sausalito on a foggy day. 

From the 02-August-1907 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. A passenger on the San Rafael, he is mentioned in the story.  Click on the image to see a larger version. 


Leviathan Sullenly Places His Back in Opposition to Floating Rival and Shock Creates Panic Among Passengers.

CAPTAIN McKENZIE and Chief Engineer Jones of the ferry steamer San Rafael had many a quiet little laugh over the story of the Bonita and the whale. The jolly old skipper insisted that the sinking of the pilot schooner by a. leviathan was a fish story of giant proportions, while Jones was of the opinion that the tale  was a "pipe dream."

Both gentlemen changed their tune yesterday, and are now willing to swear before a notary public that a whale did really and truly wreck the Bonita. Incidentally a whale nearly sent the San Rafael to the bottom on the 1 p. m. trip yesterday and gave the passengers and crew a scare that they will not get over in a hurry.  The firemen and coalpassers rushed up to the deck, thinking the ferry-boat had gone ashore, while the captain and mate were of the opinion that the vessel had run over a cluster of submerged piles.

When the whale came up astern of the ship, however, the mystery was explained.  "We left Sausalito on time and were about a mile out in the bay," said W. A. Coulter, the well known marine artist, who was aboard the San Rafael. "The whale has been in the bay for nearly a week, but whether it is the one that sunk the pilot boat Bonita or not neither I nor anybody else can tell. The leviathan rose in front of the ship about twenty yards away. Not a thing could be done, and before the wheel could be swung over we struck the mammal. The shock felt exactly like that of running into a mud bank. Our progress was not retarded to any great extent. We must have passed clear over the whale, as it came up astern, spouted and disappeared."

Captain McKenzie says that it felt as if the San Rafael struck the whale twice, while Chief Engineer Jones says the vessel will not require to go on the drydock for a year to come, as the whale must have scraped all the barnacles off her bottom.


Colby Thompson said...

Joe Thompson, My name is Colby Thompson. I saw your article on the Ferry boat system in San Fran. My Great Grandfather Jens A Thompson was a ferry boat captain for that system for 31 years. I would like to talk more in depth about the Perralta. How can I get a hold of you?

Joe Thompson said...

Hi Colby. I'd be interested to hear about your grandfather. Follow the link to my ferryboat page and you'll see an email link at the bottom. Send me one and we'll arrange to talk. I'll see if I can look Jens up in a couple of books.