Book Review: Stranded: Alaska’s Worst Maritime Disaster Nearly Happened Twice

Stranded: Alaska’s Worst Maritime Disaster Nearly Happened Twice

by Aaron Saunders

Dundurn Press
October 2015
Status: Available
144 pp
ISBN 978-1-45973-154-7
8.5 x 8.5 in

A very thorough and well-written account of the grounding of the 1918 Canadian Pacific’s SS Princess Sophia on Vanderbilt Reef in the Lynn Canal in Alaska waters and almost disaster with Princess Cruise’s Star Princess in 1994.

Princess Sophia spend 40 hours hard aground on Vanderbilt Reef before tragically taking all passengers and crew to their death when the ship foundered. 76 years later, the same tragedy nearly happened again with the modern Star Princess.

Encyclopedia Britannica says:

Lynn Canal, narrow scenic passage, 3 to 12 miles (5 to 19 km) wide, in the eastern North Pacific Ocean, southeastern Alaska, U.S. It lies within the Alexander Archipelago and extends north from Chatham Strait for 60 miles (100 km). It is the northernmost fjord to penetrate the Coast Mountains, which rise on its eastern side. The canal was named (1794) by Captain George Vancouver for his birthplace, King’s LynnEngland. Just south of Haines, the navigable canal divides into two inlets, the westernmost to the mouth of the Chilkat River, the easternmost through Taiya Inlet to the port of Skagway, terminus of the Inside Passage (Alaska Marine Highway) from Washington state. The canal is home to many fish and mammals, including humpback whales and northern, or Steller, sea lions.

Photo: Winter and Pond Collection Alaska State Library ASL-P87-1702

This book is well worth reading and a great addition to US and Canadian Pacific Coast nautical history.

For further information on Princess Sophia, see this website.

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