Real life ghost ship – a fantastic location to set a story

6 Jun

From the ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ file, comes the story of SS Baychimo.

The Baychimo was a steel hulled ship, abandoned in arctic ice in 1931.

She was spotted again, still floating along, in 1933.

And 1934.

And 1935.

And 1939.

Amazingly, after more than three decades, she was seen again in 1962 and again in 1969.

No one knows whether she is STILL floating out there!

There’s a short article on wikipedia, and the following article from Popular Science in 1936:

Locked five years in the grip of the polar ice pack, the steel trading ship Baychimo still defies the ravages of towering masses of pressure ice somewhere off the northwest coast of Alaska. Once the pride of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fleet, the ill-fated steamer regularly transported valuable furs from the Arctic Ocean around the Alaskan coast to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In 1931, the 1,300-ton boat became lodged in the grinding ice pack and was abandoned by its crew. High winds and a phenomenal rise in temperature broke up the ice and carried the ship off, and it was only after weeks of search that the Baychimo was located again. At the risk of their lives, the crew transferred most of the million-dollar fur cargo to dog sledges, and left the ship to the mercy of the arctic. Although no vessel had ever been known to withstand the grinding polar ice for more than two winters, Alaskan natives recently sighted a ship believed to be the Baychimo, still miraculously riding the frozen seas. When last boarded, in 1933, the derelict appeared to be practically unharmed. Aboard the vessel there lies a priceless collection of anthropological specimens gathered by Richard Finnie on a Canadian scientific expedition.


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