When the new regime of Sun Yatsen took over China in 1912, a member of the old Ch’ing Dynasty, Yuan Hsi knew he would have to get his two sons and his immense treasure out of China. Contacting the captain of the “Christopher,” a four-master schooner, Yuan made a deal to have his twin sons and several million dollars worth of art treasures moved out of the country.
After terms were reached, the large treasure and two boys were loaded on the “Christopher” at Shanghi, China for the trip to the United States. During a storm the “Christopher” was forced to try and make it to Hawaii. As they approached the group of islets of western Hawaii the storm increased and swept the ship onto the submerged shoals of Maro Reef. The “Christopher” washed off the shoals and quickly sank in deep water, taking her incredible oriental treasure with her. Ten members of the crew survived and made their way to Laysan Island, where they were later rescued. These men related the experience, exhibiting jade ornaments they had pilfered before the sinking to prove their story.
The waters off Maro Reef and Laysan Island can be treacherous at best, and are shark infested. There is no known record of the wreck or treasure ever having been found.