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Maritime Heritage: Field Research
Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada
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)

Field Research led by National Marine Sanctuaries is planned during 2010, including a dive survey and site characterization of the wreck site.

Related Links
Visit the following web sites for more information on the Sierra Nevada:

To view the West Coast Shipwreck Database, see:
http://channelislands.noaa.gov/shipwreck/dbase/mbnms/sierranevada.html

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/maritime/frsierranevada.html    Reviewed: March 04, 2014
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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