With the morning tide Jake finally got the plane out of there and we proceeded on with the search for the Tonquin. We wanted to locate the cannon where it had been sighted previously. Every time we went back to the area where it had been located there was too much stone covering the area. Without digging for several hours we would not be able to re-locate the cannon.
We continued the search for another week or so and then everyone seemed to get really discouraged because of the cold weather, and being wet and dirty all the time. So we said to hell with it let’s go to town, have some fun and re-think our situation.
It took us a day to pack up all our equipment and we arranged for Jake to come in the following day to pick us up and fly us back to Vancouver.
We all got up early the next morning with huge hangovers as we had spent the night drinking up all the beer so we wouldn’t have to pack it out with us.
George Solomon said he was going to go for a swim to clear his head and we all thought that a good idea while waiting for Jake to come. The day was beautiful with the sun shining and a clear sky so we all put on our wet suits and grabbed snorkels and hit the water.
George had been diving a few hundred feet away from Vic and me and after a while he yelled over to me. He was holding up a handful of small ax heads for me to see. He said there were hundreds of them on the bottom where he was diving. I said Ya there’s probably tons of that stuff around here from old logging camps because you could still see the old logging equipment that had been left on the hillsides after they had logged the area many years before.
Jake finally arrived with the plane and we spent the next few hours loading our equipment aboard. We taxied out into the water and took off for Vancouver.
This is where the story gets interesting:
After a few days of getting drunk and chasing the ladies in Vancouver we settled down to discussing the expedition and what, if anything, we had learned. We had been cold, wet and uncomfortable most of the time we were there and had no desire to go back too soon. We all agreed, but George mentioned that he had been thinking about those ax heads he had found and the fact that they were very small and were actually hatchet heads. He noted that they did not have a hole machined into them for a handle, as is normal for hatchet heads we see today. Were these trade goods?
Back to the research. We realized we had discovered one of the items that were being traded to the Indians, they had barrels of these aboard the Tonquin these were metal hatchet heads.
None of us were too anxious to go back but we were positive that George had discovered the area where the Tonquin had exploded and spread her cargo around the bottom for probably several hundred feet in each direction. So in essence Bob Edwards had financed the expedition to recover this historical shipwreck and George Solomon had found the remains of the Tonquin. George also brought up a very important point to consider concerning the spot in the bush where we had set up our campsite. There were a lot of large mounds about ten feet long and three or four feet high covering a large area and we used several of them to lean against as we were around our campfire. George thought they could be Indian burial plots as there were a lot of Indians killed in the explosion. Food for thought – we couldn’t come up with another reason for those mounds in that area.
We promised each other that we would eventually go back when it warmed up and have another look at that area where George had found the hatchet heads. As time went by Vic headed off for Montreal and George found himself a new girlfriend and none of us wanted to go out in the cold wilderness looking for treasure anymore so we shelved the project.
I have not heard from George or Vic for over 40 years now and I got lost chasing shipwrecks and land treasures all over Mexico and South America. I am now working several treasure sites in the USA, but would be willing to supply the information to anyone who has the expertise and can equip a professional expedition in Canada to go in and recover the remains of the Tonquin. They would need to keep good records, so a writer could explain what happened to her in a book or short movie.
A short two or three day expedition is all that will be needed to prove or disprove this as the actual location of the Tonquin as there are plenty of metal objects on the bottom in this area that can be identified as coming from this era in time or not and once the material has been identified as coming from a shipwreck of that time span a permit can be applied for and the work begun. We made the mistake of setting up a land camp but the proper way to work this shipwreck is to have a good sized work boat offshore that can sleep half a dozen people with gear.
We also found evidence in the area that these people were not just trading furs with the Indians, but were involved in a very sophisticated mining project or this was done at a later time span. We found the almost paper remains of a very old log cabin and mining tools so maybe they were using Indian labor for mining and smelting copper bullion as there was plenty of surface copper showing in the surrounding area. That may have had something to do with getting themselves blown up, along with the insult to the Indian Chief. Anyone interested in forming an expedition to go into the area where we were diving can contact our friend Larry Warner for a charter into the area, Larry lives in Lund BC on Vancouver Island and is well known as a tug boat captain, once we tell you where all the cannons are it will all make sense, several of the cannons were salvaged in later years and I’m sure there must be some mention in written records of their salvage and continued use.
I’ve always meant to get back and finish this one but I’m getting too old for that cold British Columbia weather now so it’s time to sit in the sun and let someone else have all the fun. It’s time to put this Tonquin shipwreck to bed.
Tim Brodie CEO