Story of the Aleutian
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Discovery of the S.S. Aleutian

In 1998 Anchorage-based author and shipwreck historian Steve Lloyd resurrected the story of the lost ALEUTIAN while researching another Kodiak shipwreck story, the FARALLON wreck of 1910. Lloyd visited the National Archives in Seattle and obtained a copy of the transcript for the Marine Board of Inquiry hearing that had been conducted after the ALEUTIAN sank in 1929. He learned that the steamer was reported to have sunk in very deep water—perhaps 300 feet or greater—and that salvage had never been attempted.

A chart of Uyak Bay shows depths approaching 400 feet near the reported site of the sinking, a depth Lloyd knew would place the wreck effectively out of reach, even for experienced deep-wreck technical divers. From testimony given 70 years earlier by the ALEUTIAN’s captain, pilot and first mate, Lloyd reconstructed the bearing, course and speed of the ship in the moments before she impacted the hidden pinnacle of rock. Using this information, Lloyd organized a search team that included Joshua Lewis and Victoria Becwar-Lewis, owners of the Kodiak-based vessel MELMAR.

In August 2002 the team utilized side-scan sonar and a magnetometer to search the seafloor in a large V-shaped grid beginning at the rock that had claimed the liner—now marked with a navigation aid and renamed ALEUTIAN Rock in honor of its victim. Making calculations for the speed of the ALEUTIAN, the state of the tide on the morning of her loss, and a variety of other factors, the searchers located a very large target on the sea floor more than 200 feet below.

Every member of the search group was filled with excitement, but the discovery could not be confirmed until a diver had descended for a visual inspection of the target. Steve Lloyd donned scuba equipment and followed the MELMAR’s anchor line down into the icy darkness of Uyak Bay. There on the bottom, with her masts still standing as if reaching for the light she would never again see, lay the proud steamship ALEUTIAN. On August 14, 2002, Lloyd became the first person to visit the resting liner since that morning 73 years before when she plunged into the depths.

Click here for a story about the discovery of the ALEUTIAN.



Shoreline Adventures LLC co-founder Steve Lloyd

The S.S. Aleutian was the palatial flagship of the Alaska Steamship Co.

Scuba diver explores the aft mast of the sunken S.S. Aleutian

A brass cage lamp lies on the boat deck of the sunken steamship Aleutian

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