Getting Underway

May 6, 2022

The Star of Bengal search party

We have the Endeavour tied up at the dock in Wrangell. It’s 7:03 in the morning, and its dead calm and overcast. I’m on the aft deck, waiting for half our crew to show up. They spent the night in town. We need to be out of here in 20 minutes to catch favorable tides for the 82-mile run west to Coronation Island. We’re heading out to find the wreck of the Star of Bengal.

The Star of Bengal – a 264 schooner – left Wrangell in September 1908 and went down with 15 of the white crew and almost all the 111 Asian laborers drowning. We have a description of the wreck and the mission on the Alaska Endeavour website. A few divers have found the wreck before – one of them, Gig Decker – is in the group I’m waiting for. But they found it before GPS and in a region where Loran didn’t exist, and somehow the exact location has never been recorded. Still, we have a pretty good idea where to look.

We took a photo of the expedition crew last night – attached here. From the left, its Ray Troll, me, Patsy, Shawn Dilles, Tessa Hulls (holding Bella), Gig Decker, Jenya Anichenko, and Sean Adams. Shawn and I are holding the Explorer’s Club flag.

After we took this photo we moved the boat over the loading pier and used a crane to put Gig’s 479-pound compressor on our foredeck. A 332-pound tub of dive tanks went next to it. I’ll weld a set of pad eyes to the steel deck and we’ll strap down both loads.

We’ve scheduled a live webinar for our return, on Friday the 13th at 9:00 AM Alaska Time (10:00 AM Pacific). Tune in to see what we found and hear from the each of the crew. It’s free. The link is here. Hope to see you then.

Our missing members aren’t here yet, but I’ve got to go and help Patsy with the last-minute items -- check the engine and the generators, start the compressor, top off the water tanks -- and I need to get to that welding.

Wish us luck.

Click here to register for the free live session on Friday, May 13, 2022!