Sunday, August 14, 2011


Arkadia, October 1910.

The "steamer Arkadia, of over 2,200 tons, which left Louisiana in October 1910," allegedly vanished in the Bermuda Triangle. (Quasar, p. 57.)

A new name was added yesterday to the list kept at the Maritime Exchange of vessels lost at sea. It was the name of the steamer Arkadia of the New York and Porto Rico Navigation Company. On the list the Arkadia is posted simply as "missing," but "missing" on the Maritime Exchange list reads "lost" to every seaman who scans the record, for the entry of the steamer's name means that all hope for her has been abandoned.

Richard D. Wrigley, acting manager of the steamship company, conceded as much in the company's offices at 12 Broadway yesterday. He fears that the steamer was lost in the hurricane which swept the Gulf and the Atlantic off the Southern coast last October.

"The Arkadia was stanch, and on our lists we had no more capable skipper than Capt. Richard F. Griffiths, but I am certain now that the hurricane proved too much even for his skill," said he. "The only hope for those on board is that the steamer may have gone down far out of her course and yet within reach of some sailing vessel. Had she foundered anywhere in her course it seems as though we must have got some word of the accident through other steamers. If a sailing vessel rescued her crew and passengers, however, it may be that they now are being carried to some out-of-the-way port, and in such an event it might be weeks still before we could get word from them. The chance is remote, however, and one on which we, at home here, have ceased to count."

The Arkadia carried four passengers, and forward and aft she had a crew of thirty-seven men. All forty-one have been lost, so the company officers here believe.

"SS Arkadia, New Orleans, Oct. 11, for San Juan, missing," is the way the notice at the Maritime Exchange reads, for it was from New Orleans that the Arkadia set out, and it was to San Juan that she was bound. She sailed on Oct. 11, and since that day not a word has been heard of her.

It was bright and cloudless, so the Weather Bureau records show, when she sailed out of the Mississippi River from New Orleans on what should have been a short cruise. Her holds were packed with a cargo of flour, rice, and other food products. From her decks her crew and passengers waved to friends ashore as the steamer drew away from New Orleans, and pointed down into the Gulf, and then the Arkadia dropped out of sight.

After Oct. 11 not a single vessel spoke the Porto Rican liner. A day before that the hurricane which swept away many ships had begun to blow over the Gulf, but its force was not even suspected when the Arkadia sailed. Off shore, however, shipping men here think now, the Arkadia probably encountered its full force, and after a time went down before it, perhaps within a few hours, perhaps not until the steamer had been blown miles out of her course and out of the course of any other vessel.

For five days the storm continued, and when it finally died down it had cost scores of lives and caused thousands of dollars of damage to shipping. From every Southern seaport came reports daily from Oct. 10 to 15 of damaged vessels creeping into port, many of them with news of some less fortunate craft that had foundered. One of these, her owners now believe, must have been the Arkadia.

But Capt. Griffiths had passed through more than one hurricane, his wife declared yesterday, and that is why she refuses to believe that he met death in the October storm.

The Arkadia was a steel steamer, schooner rigged, of 1,636 tons. Her length was 280 feet, her beam 41.1 feet, and her depth 21 feet. She was built in Stockton, England, in 1895, by Craig Taylor & Co., and was considered able to outlive the strongest seas and winds. ("Steamer Missing with 41 Aboard," The New York Times, December 10, 1910.)

Again, Quasar "forgot" to tell us about the hurricane. It's called the 1910 Cuba Hurricane or the Cyclone of the Five Days.

"James Bond. You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season."

— Hugo Drax

"Curses! Foiled again!"

— Snidely Whiplash

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