Santa Cruz was built by Matthew Turner in Benicia, California
and is the only vessel from the yard of this most prolific of West
Coast builders to have wrecked within the sanctuary and park. A
gas engine was evidently installed after 1906, since the license
for this year refers to Santa Cruz as a schooner, while the
1907 and succeeding papers mention a gas schooner. New gas tanks
were installed in 1927. In 1937 Dr. Stanton replaced the gas engine
with a Buda Diesel, which was replaced in 1942 with a Caterpillar
diesel. A year later the mainmast and bowsprit were removed.
following article gives a brief picture of the service of Santa
Cruz and her kindred vessel, Santa Rosa.
the islands is in full swing at the present time, notwithstanding
the rough weather. This morning unless there is a turn for the
worse in the condition of the channel, will begin the shipment
of cattle to Santa Rosa Island, the first consignment of Arizona
stock for Vail and Vickers island rangers having arrived. The
cattle were taken on the wharf last evening, and will be loaded
on the Santa Rosa schooner early this morning, about 200 head
being carried at each trip.
Cruz island schooner came in yesterday with a cargo of wine, walnuts,
and almonds, products of the island ranches, and returned in the
afternoon for a cargo of sheep" (SBMP 23 Nov 1906).
The log entries show Santa Cruz carried a wide variety of
cargo and all sorts of visitors, including soldiers during WWII.
The vessel was truly a sea going pickup truck, just like the ships
serving the islands today.
Cruz stranded while running in the fog at Rincon Point, due
to a defective compass on September 19, 1913. Captain George Nidever
and two crew rowed all night to reach Santa Barbara, having no idea
of their location. Several salvage attempts resulted in success
on December 19 when the vessel was winched off the rocks and towed
to San Pedro for repairs. It was the following spring before Santa
Cruz returned to service. The long history of this vessel ended
when the ship was caught by a Santa Ana wind, a link in the anchor
chain parted, and Santa Cruz was driven onto the western
shore of Prisoner's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island on 6 Dec 1960.
submerged in shallow water near the western edge of Prisoner's Harbor
has been tentatively identified as pertaining to Santa Cruz.
The readily available wreckage apparently is a pile driver carried
by the vessel during its last days. Much of the wreckage remains
hidden. The flat sandy bottom at this locality holds the promise
of reasonably good preservation of wooden portions of the vessel.
Morris and Lima