Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Recent storm exposes maritime history

By Gary Chittim
February 09, 2006

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. – The powerful wind storm that ravaged the Washington coast left a pleasant surprise behind.
The storm sent wind and seas over a state park near Ocean Shores and exposed a piece of maritime history – the wreck of a once-proud cruise ship.
As a fresh layer of giant driftwood lies tossed like twigs over the old road, a relic from the past is emerging from its tomb.

It's the wreck of the cruise ship Catala, and for the first time in decades, you can make out her rotting hull, the lines of her deck, and her port holes.

She's like a fossilized creature making a comeback, and she's worth a closer look.

Park ranger Jim Schmidt calls the resurfacing of the Catala an unexpected remnant of last weekend's big wind storm.

But the storm did more than just blow the dust off the old wreck, it didn't just change the shape of Damon Point, it moved it.
It was also a storm that ran the Catala aground back in the 1960s. She had been brought to Ocean Shores as a floating hotel for the World's Fair, and subsequent storms entombed her in the beach.

The Catala has become our own little ghost ship that comes and sails in and out of view with the most powerful of our winter storms.

It wasn't just high winds that whipped the sands of Damon Point Park, rangers say the seas themselves swept over it scouring out channels and exposing the ship.


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