Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lost Hawaiian Chieftain Figurehead Found in a California Garden

Every once in a while, we hear an amazing story that demonstrates how small our world has become. In 2006, exactly five years ago, the Hawaiian Chieftain was sailing off the northern California coast on her way from Eureka to Brookings, Ore. She encountered a terrible storm with waves so powerful, they tore the figurehead off the boat. We all thought the carved image of a Hawaiian king was lost forever.

Then we heard recently from Stephanie Morrissette of Eureka and her friend Kevin Staples, who had sailed with us during our stop there earlier this month. Stephanie and Kevin sent us the above photo, thinking we might recognize it. Sure enough, it's the lost figurehead. Stephanie says she found it about five years ago on a beach near Arcata, missing its right shoulder and part of the jaw. It's sitting now in the garden of her Eureka home, "casting a watchful eye from his position under the rhododendron," as she puts it. Thanks to Stephanie for telling us about her discovery.

Hawaiian Chieftain received a new figurehead with a similar design in 2008.

1 comment:

Steph said...

And thanks to my boyfriend Jason who identified the figurehead of the Hawaiian Chieftain. He suggested that it probably broke off of the ship during one of its journeys to Humboldt Bay, thus solving the mystery for me.