In 1918, Canadian Pacific steamshipPrincess Sophia ran aground on Alaska’s Vanderbilt reef. She sat there for two terrifying days before sinking in a raging snowstorm. Seventy-six years later, a cruise ship called theStar Princess was sailing in the same stretch of water — and Alaska’s worst maritime disaster nearly repeated itself.
The sinking of the Canadian Pacific steamship Princess Sophia was Alaska’s worst maritime disaster — until it nearly happened again.
In 1918, the Canadian Pacific steamshipPrincess Sophia left Skagway, Alaska, on her last trip of the season to Vancouver. She never made it. Battered by a raging snowstorm and sent dangerously off course, she ran aground on Vanderbilt Reef, a rocky shoal in Lynn Canal, North America’s deepest and longest fjord. She would spend two days high and dry on the reef, with rescue ships standing by, unable to help, before she finally slid to her watery grave.
Seventy-six years later, another ship — the modernStar Princess — finds herself off course in Lynn Canal, and history nearly repeats itself. Weaving together events past and present, Aaron Saunders tells the story of two very different ships that set sail from Skagway at opposite ends of the century. Their common bond — the unassuming and often treacherous stretch of water known as Lynn Canal.
Chapter One: The Rush to Skagway
Chapter Two: “A Slow Trip Through Alaska” —Princess Sophia
Chapter Three: TheStar Princess Sets Sail
Chapter Four: The Storm —Princess Sophia
Chapter Five: The Turn —Star Princess
Chapter Six: The Accident —Princess Sophia
Chapter Seven: The Turn —Star Princess
Chapter Eight: Stranded On the Rocks —Princess Sophia
Chapter Nine: Beaching theStar Princess
Chapter Ten: Those Last Minutes —Princess Sophia
Chapter Eleven: Aftermath — Confusion and Chaos
Chapter Twelve:Star Princess Sails On
Notes on Sources