PT Boat Wreck – Dismal Nitch, Washington

PT Boat Wreck – Dismal Nitch, Washington

I know nothing about this boat, or why it’s here. The best guess I have is that it was brought here to be broken up into scrap. There seemed to be a lot of other scrap metal in the area so that is most likely.

Despite the no trespassing signs that litter the area, this old boat makes a good picture opportunity from the road.

PT Boat Wreck - Dismal Nitch, Washington

To get there, head over the Astoria-Megler Bridge between Oregon and Washington, then turn right. The boat is hidden behind a small cape, so watch the rear view mirror.

Another question though, is “Dismal Nitch?” Yes that is this area’s real name. First used by Lewis and Clark in November 1805. Clark writes on November 10th, 1805:

“Rained verry hard the greater part of last night and continues this morning. the wind has luled and the waves are not high; we loaded our canoes and proceeded on passed Several Small and deep nitch on the Stard. Side, we proceeded on about 10 miles Saw great numbers of Sea Guls, the wind rose from the N. W. and the waves became So high that we were compelled to return about 2 miles to a place we Could unload our Canoes, which we did in a Small nitch at the mouth of a Small run on a pile of drift logs where we Continued untill low water, when the river appeared calm we loaded and Set out; but was obliged to return finding the waves too high for our Canoes to ride, we again unloaded the Canoes, and Stoed the loading on a rock above the tide water, and formed a camp on the Drift Logs which appeared to be the only Situation we could find to lie, the hills being either a perpendicular Clift, or Steep assent, riseing to about 500 feet— our Canoes we Secured as well as we could— we are all wet the rain haveing continued all day, our beding and maney other articles, employ our Selves drying our blankets— nothing to eate but dried fish pounded which we brought from the falls. we made 10 miles today—”

But it was not until the 15th that the name stuck:

Rained all the last night, this morning it became Calm and fair, I preposed Setting out, and ordered the Canoes Repared and loaded; before we could load our canoes the wind Sudenly Sprung up from the S. E and blew with Such violence, that we could not proceed in Safty with the loading. I proceeded to the point in an empty Canoe, and found that the waves dashed against the rocks with Such violence that I thought it unsave to Set out with the loaded Canoes— The Sun Shown untill 1 oClock P M which afford us time to Dry our bedding and examine the baggage which I found nearly all wet, Some of our pounded fish Spoiled in the wet; I examined the amunition and Caused all the arms to be put in order.

About 3 oClock the wind luled, and the river became calm, 〈we〉 I had the canoes loaded in great haste and Set Out, from this dismal nitich where we have been confined for 6 days passed, without the possibility of proceeding on, returning to a better Situation, or get out to hunt, Scerce of Provisions, and torents of rain poreing on us all the time— proceeded on passed the blustering point below which I found a butifull Sand beech thro which runs a Small [NB?: river from the hills] below the mouth of this Stream is a village of 36 houses uninhabited by anything except flees, here I met G. Shannon and 5 Indians. Shannon informed me that he met Capn. Lewis at an Indian Hut about 10 miles below who had Sent him back to meet me, he also told me the Indians were thievish, as the night before they had Stolen both his and Willards rifles from under their heads, [NB: they threatened them with a large party from above which Cap. Lewis’s arrival confirmed] that they Set out on their return and had not proceeded far up the beech before they met Capt Lewis, whose arival was at a timely moment and alarmed the Indians So that they instantly produced the Guns— I told those Indians who accompanied Shannon that they Should not Come near us, and if any one of their nation Stold anything from us, I would have him Shot, which they understoot verry well. as the tide was Comeing and the Seas became verry high imediately from the Ocian (imediately faceing us) I landed and formed a camp on the highest Spot I could find between the hight of the tides, and the Slashers in a Small bottom this I could plainly See would be the extent of our journey by water, as the waves were too high at any Stage for our Canoes to proceed any further down. in full view of the Ocian from Point Adams [NB: or Rond /see La Payrouse] [5] to Cape Disapointment, I could not See any Island in the mouth of this river as laid down by Vancouver. [6] The Bay which he laies down in the mouth is imediately below me. This Bay we call Haleys bay from a favourate Trader with the Indians which they Say comes into this Bay and trades with them Course to Point adams is S. 35° W. about 8 miles To Cape Disapointment is S. 86° W. about 14 miles 4 Indians of the War-ki a cum nation Came down with 〈pap-pa-too〉 [NB: Wappatoo] to See &c. The Indians who accompanied Shannon from the village below Speake a Different language from those above, and reside to the north of this place The Call themselves Chin nooks, [7] I told those people that they had attempted to Steal 2 guns &c. that if any one of their nation stole any thing that the Sentinl. whome they Saw near our baggage with his gun would most certainly Shute them, they all promised not to tuch a thing, and if any of their womin or bad boys took any thing to return it imediately and Chastise them for it. I treated those people with great distance. our men all Comfortable in their Camps which they have made of boards from the old Village above. we made 3 miles to day”

Anyone who has been to Astoria and the Oregon Coast this during the winter months knows exactly what Lewis and Clark went through. To make matters worse, they accidentally picked one of the worse places to camp weather wise. Directly on the river and with little cover. The area is now a National Historical Park, and served as a ferry landing for several decades, but it is very hard to imagine a party of 30 men, one woman, and one child sheltering here in any way for any length of time.

5 Responses to “PT Boat Wreck – Dismal Nitch, Washington

  • Rick, that’s not a PT boat but a very early Hydroplane boat that the US Navy christened the USS Plainview (AGEH-1)

    • Oh really? Do you by chance have any information about it? That’s really cool!

  • It was an experimental Hydroplane that was developed by the Navy during the Viet Nam War. It never worked out so was decommissioned and sold for scrap. A friend purchased the dedication pamphlet when it was first commissioned and began its trial runs. The pamphlet listed its skipper and crew.

    I have going past it for about twenty years and have walked down to it some what. For a long time there was a crane also at the site. It looked like someone was going to scrape it on the cheap, but gave up it and walked away. I believe the crane as since been pulled away. It is an all aluminum boat making its scrapping difficult. So it is still there.

  • Just found your post, and stuck on one of my Facebook sties. I had an instant reply about that this is:

  • Plainview wasn’t a “hydroplane”, but a Hydrofoil. We used to see her in Puget Sound in the early 70s, and at PSNS, along with another, smaller hydrofoil that sat on a dock by the ferry terminal:

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