Maritime Heritage: Field Research
|Sidewheel Steamer Sierra Nevada approaching the Golden Gate (Credit: Harper's Weekly, 1857)|
October 16, 1869 the Sierra Nevada left San Francisco for San Luis Obispo. Monterey was left the next day in a thick fog, which lasted all thru the day. She was feeling her way at six and one-half knots speed when at 10:30 PM she grounded with moderate force. While trying to back off a heavy swell picked up the steamer, carried her farther over the rock and then dropped her with such force that the bottom was stove in and her boilers were lifted off their beds. Life-boats were at once launched and occupied, remaining near the wreck until the fog lifted in the morning.
The Sierra Nevada was grounded about three-quarters of a mile off shore and three miles distant from San Simeon. The boats all rowed to San Simeon, where they landed. Both Sierra Nevada and her cargo were a total loss, being quickly reduced to kindling by the heavy surf. However there was no loss of life among her forty-two passengers and crew. (Heyl)
In September 2010, National Marine Sanctuaries intiated field research of the wreck site, including a dive survey and site characterization. Due to poor weather conditions and low visibility, dive operations were not possible.