FV Norseman, Princess Royal Channel

Princess Royal Channel is located on the North Coast of British Columbia, separating Princess Royal Island from the mainland. The southern half of the channel is also called Graham Reach, and the northern half Fraser Reach. The southern half of the channel was first charted by Captain George Vancouver in 1793 with his ships Discovery and Chatham, which anchored about mid-way up the channel. James Johnstone, one of Vancouver's lieutenants, charted its northern half the same summer.

The Norseman was built in 1973 as a crabber/tender for the Bering Sea. The vessel sank in Graham Reach in June 1978, while in transit to the Bering Sea through the Inside Passage. The helmsman allegedly fell asleep and the big steel crabber ran into the rocky east shore of Graham Reach just north of Asher Point. The stunned crew managed to get ashore, and while they looked on, the Norseman quickly filled with water and slid stern first down the steep slope into deep water and disappeared.

Doug Anderson had earlier raised a vessel of 65 feet (19.8 m) from 195 feet (60 m) of water using railroad tank cars for buoyancy. With the profits from that salvage job, he purchased a used tug, and set out to raise the Norseman perched precariously on a rocky pinnacle 400 feet (122 m) down the steep eastern slope of Graham Reach. The job took five months, due mostly to bad weather and the remoteness of the site. After the vessel was brought to the surface, they patched the hole in the bow and towed her to Seattle where she sold for a hefty profit. The Norseman eventually returned to fishing and became well known as a highliner. In 2005 she was converted into a charter research vessel shown in the picture. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Princess Royal Channel.

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