"Graveyard of the pacific" is a nickname given to the wild, windswept west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. More than 240 vessels have died on the rocks off the island since 1803; the often-violent currents and weather in the area have often ensured that most or all of their crewmembers and passengers died with them. One of the most famous wrecks occurred in 1906, when the steamer Valencia ran aground and was slowly battered to pieces; rescue ships watched, kept at bay by the storm, while 117 people perished. The government built a manned lighthouse at Cape Beale in 1874 and a telegraph between Cape Beale and Victoria B.C. in 1890 in an effort to warn ships away and to ensure that aid would quickly reach the stricken, but the area remains a navigation risk to this day.

In addition, Vancouver Island is directly in the path of the Alaska Current, a fast-moving division of the Sub-Arctic Current which flows across the width of the Pacific Ocean before colliding with North America. As a result, the island's western shore is also the graveyard of all manner of debris caught in the currents. Everything from shipboard garbage to crates of consumer merchandise torn from the decks of freighters make their way to the beaches. Beautiful hand-blown glass fishing floats from Japanese nets used to be a common sight, although they have grown increasingly rare as their use has declined. Not all Asian arrivals are so pleasant, however - early in the 20th century, a Japanese fishing vessel reported missing months earlier drifted aground off the graveyard. On its deck were 10 dessicated corpses; two more were found virtually mummified in the cabin below. The final entry in the ship's log read "Our attempts to fix the engines have failed and we continue to drift. We are out of food and water. There is no more hope."

The sea is a harsh mistress.

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