Eagle

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Eagle (# ) ( -1923), 35-foot fishing boat in which Captain Frank Nidever was lost at sea during a heavy northwest wind on January 29, 1923 off the east end of Santa Cruz Island. The Eagle reportedly had engine trouble on its way out to Santa Cruz Island while trying to avoid a storm. Captain Colis Vazquez speculated that Nidever was run down by a large ocean liner passing in the vicinity of the disabled Eagle. Nidever's body was never recovered. Some two weeks later, the February 14, 1923 captain’s log of the schooner Santa Cruz reported: “picked up wreckage of boat Eagle.” At a sheriff’s inquest held on February 26, 1923, Captain Libbey said pieces of both the Eagle and the O.K. were found near Castle Rock [Cavern Point] on Santa Cruz Island’s northeast end.



In the News~

December 28, 1914 [SBDNI]: “Following the theft of two five-gallon demi-johns of wine and a box of cartridges from the fishing boat Eagle, of the Larco Fish Company, late Saturday night, and several other recent attempts at theft, also the killing by unknown parties of several sheep for food on Santa Cruz Island, rumors are in circulation here today that a mysterious band of pirates, using a powerboat, have established headquarters at Friars’ Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, and are using the island as a rendezvous from which to carry on their nefarious trade. The rumors come from various reliable sources, and people in touch with the movement of vessels in and out from ports in this vicinity. The pirates are said to be youths, and to have started their practical career in the last week, using a powerboat either rented or stolen from ship owners in San Pedro or Long Beach. The theft of the wine and cartridges from the fishing boat Eagle Saturday night has served to concentrate attention on the depredations of the alleged pirates, and the fact that a government official has been investigating the rumors for the last several days lends strength to the belief that important developments will soon be made. Friars’ Harbor is an inaccessible spot except by boat. It is several miles from the Santa Cruz Island Company’s wharf and offices, so that the sheep which roam the island could be killed for food without the company finding it out for some time.”


January 2, 1915 [SBMP]:Eagle’s good catch. Captain Frank Maglio came in from the islands yesterday morning with 1800 pounds of fish, mostly halibut. This was the largest catch of fish to be brought in by any boat in a long time.”


January 5, 1915 [SBMP]:Eagle in with fish. Captain Frank Maglio’s powerboat, the Eagle, came in from the islands yesterday morning with a large catch of halibut.”


January 26, 1915 [SBMP]: “The same day the Eagle brought in 1000 pounds of halibut and sand dabs, the Sea Wolf came over from the islands with two tons of whitefish and rock cod, the largest catch made in these waters in a long time.”


January 26, 1915 [SBDNI]: “After being as scarce as hen’s teeth for several weeks, fish are plentiful. Local fishing boats have been bringing in heavy catches the last few days. The Bear brought in a bog load of barracuda, while the Eagle came into port with 1000 pounds of halibut and sand-dabs.”


February 6, 1915 [SBMP]: “The power fishing boat Eagle came in from the island yesterday with a very small lot of fish.”


June 9, 1915 [SBMP]: “Frank Maglio’s power fishing boat Eagle came in yesterday morning with a load of halibut, caught off shore in the channel Waters.”


February 1, 1916 [SBDN]: “Two men, one of them Peter Kruz and the other an unidentified Italian crawfisher, are believed to have been killed in a landslide which destroyed a crawfishers’ camp at Blue Bank, on the south side of Santa Cruz Island. The time of the camp’s destruction cannot be placed, but is believed to have occurred some time during the recent storms. The camp, which was occupied by Kruz and his companion, was completely wiped out by the slide. According to a report brought in this morning by Captain Frank Maglio of the boat Eagle, the Italians who were in camp cannot be found. Maglio went to the camp early this morning to collect the catch of the crawfish, which the Italians usually had waiting there for him. He found that the bank under which the crawfishers’ camp once stood had fallen into the ocean and that the skiff which the fishermen had used to tend their trap was filled with mud and rocks from the slide. No amount of shouting in the neighborhood of the camp succeeded in getting a response from the men who had occupied the camp. Maglio came to Santa Barbara with all possible speed and reported the matter to the coroner. Shortly before noon a search party composed of friends of the lost crawfishers and men who know the islands thoroughly, set out for Blue Bank. This boat is expected to return with definite news of the men’s fate this evening. This morning Captain Maglio was prevented from landing and searching the island because of a heavy wind. He had no skiff with his powerboat. There are yet many chances that the missing crawfishers may still be alive and well on some other part of the island. They may have realized that their camp was unsafe before the slide occurred and have tramped to some other fishing camp on the island or to the main ranch house on the island. However, reports from the island are that the last storm there was severe and under the best of conditions the lost fishermen must have suffered privations for a day or two.”


February 2, 1916 [SBMP]: “Two fishermen die in slide on island. Peter Cruz and Chris Gunderson meet disaster in crawfish camp. Frank Maglio, joint owner with the Larcos of the powerboat Eagle, came over from Santa Cruz Island yesterday afternoon after finding at Blue Bank on the south shore of the island, the bodies of two fishermen named Peter Cruz and Chris Gunderson, FINISH


February 3, 1916 [SBMP]: “The bodies of Peter Cruz and Chris Gunderson, the two fishermen who were killed in a landslide at Blue Bank, on the south shore of Santa Cruz Island, last Monday, were brought over to the mainland yesterday afternoon. The expedition of recovery was made up of Stephen Valenzuela, who had been deputized by Coroner Ruiz to act in his place in this case; Frank Maglio, skipper of the powerboat Eagle, in which the party crossed the channel; Chris Holland of L. E. Gagnier’s force of undertakers; and the mate of the Eagle. The bodies which had been discovered last Tuesday by Captain Maglio, were brought to this side of the channel in the Eagle, arriving at 5 P.M…”


July 13, 1916 [SBDN]: “Captain Ira Eaton of the launch Sea Wolf has completed arrangements for summer visitors at Santa Cruz Island by erecting a most complete camp. Already visitors are flocking that way. The fishing is said to be unusually fine.”


July 24, 1916 [SBDP]: “Captain Ira K. Eaton took a party of forty young people to Fry’s Harbor Saturday night on the Sea Wolf. A dance was enjoyed there and return was made the same evening.”


August 3, 1916 [SBDN]: “Porpoise hunting promises to be real ‘honest to goodness’ and exciting sport to be developed in the Santa Barbara channel. Captain Ira Eaton will start out on the first hunt about the middle of next Barbara sportsmen. Porpoise are now plentiful in the channel and the Captain reports that he has not made a trip across in the last few weeks when the boat has not passed through two or more schools of the big fish. It will be porpoise hunting — not fishing. A hand-thrown harpoon attached to 1500 feet of the stoutest kind of line and with a couple of kegs attached as floaters in case the big fish gets away from the rod, will be used. Captain Eaton has been practicing lately with a gaff and has hit several fish so that he believes it will be possible to strike the porpoise, which run close to the boat, for awhile, after a school of the big fish have been struck. The fish in the Santa Barbara Channel that are called porpoise are more correctly named seahogs, from the long piggish snout that is characteristic of them. They are not the true porpoise nor are they the dolphins that some people call them. A good specimen weighs about two hundred pounds and is one of the strongest pulling and fastest swimming fish known. Captain Eaton believes that the first few porpoise hit will get away with 1500 feet of line before the hunters learn how to handle the fast swimmers. Where porpoises are caught in any numbers the oil is valuable and the hide may be made into razor straps and other articles. The harpoon used is a small affair that hardly penetrates the fat of the fish. The skin is, however, tough enough to hold the strain when the barb opens the fat.”


November 1, 1916 [SBMP]: “Shipments of crawfish, smelt, and fat cattle came from the islands by various routes. The launch Eagle arrived from a tour of the crawfish camps with eighteen crates of these California lobsters, a shipment somewhat better than average since the season opened…”


December 30, 1916 [SBMP]: “Yesterday, the big fish day of the week, saw a veritable fish famine in the local markets. No local fish has come in for about a week… Captain Maglio of the Eagle is expected from the islands this morning with the crawfish from the camps there, but there is not much hope that his cargo will afford material relief in the present shortage, as there is a disquieting rumor that a number of island camps have lost their traps in the gale that has been raging for the past few days.”


August 6, 1917 [SBDNI]: “Fishermen, both wharf and deep-sea, place Sunday as one of the best fishing days this year. The catches made were unusually large and of the finest fish. This morning the fishing boat Veritas Unitas came in with 2500 green-backed mackerel. A record was also made by the fishing boat Eagle. The Eagle came in this morning with over five tons of halibut.”


September 2, 1917 [SBMP]: “Larco and Company's three boats, the Eagle, Seal and Santa Ana, were yesterday chartered to a San Pedro cannery to carry fuel oil to supply this company's boats engaged in hauling the fish to the cannery during this run of albacore, the continuance of which is entirely uncertain. It might last for several weeks yet, and it might end within a few days.”


October 20, 1917 [SBDN]: “Youth drowned in windswept ocean. Launch Marguerite founders off Anacapa and Bryan Schafer is lost. Bryan Schafer, 20 years old, a native of Santa Barbara, was drowned Wednesday morning when a fishing boat, the launch Marguerite, foundered off Anacapa Island, during the terrific windstorm that swept the ocean and sections of the mainland. Schafer’s companion, Jack Carrillo, owner of the boat, saved his life only after a hard battle with the sea, when he swam for seven hours, finally reaching Hungry Man’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, seven miles distant from the scene of the disaster. Jack Carrillo reached home late last night, and this morning broke the news to the bereaved mother of the drowned boy, Mrs. Minnie Schafer, who lives at 417 Santa Barbara Street. How young Carrillo lived through the thrilling battle with the sea he does not know. His face, hands and body bear the gashes and bruises that mutely testify to the hard fight and frightening ordeal through which he went. At the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Morrow, at 121 Anacapa Street, the young fisherman told the story of his remarkable experience… ‘So I swam on. At first I thought I wanted to die too, but almost without thinking I swam and swam, and for three hours or more I fought with the storm and sea. I could not go back to Anacapa, for the storm was driving me toward Santa Cruz Island. Finally after nine hours or more since the boat sank under us, I pulled myself up on the rocks of Hungry Man’s Harbor. I could hardly put one hand before the other, in dragging myself forward. I was picked up time and again by the swells and hurled helpless about, and cannot understand how I escaped being dashed to death on the rocks. Finally I began to call for help. My calls were heard at H. W. Tom’s fishing camp. Mr. Tom fishes for Larco. He came down to the shore and helped me to his camp. There I was given hot coffee and something to eat, and remained with him until the fishing smack Eagle arrived yesterday. On the Eagle I came to town…”


June 21, 1919 [SBMP]: “The fishing boats Eagle and Santa Ana arrived in port yesterday with about three tons of halibut. The roughness of the channel waters continues to interfere with the industry.”


Thursday, September 21, 1922 [SBMP]: “Fishermen will aid big cruise. Five boats coming from Port San Luis for trip to Santa Cruz [Island] and barbecue September 30. Five boats of Larco Brothers fishing fleet, now operating off port San Luis, will steam to Santa Barbara on Saturday, September 30, to aid in conveying the 250 men invited to participate in the cruise October 1 to Santa Cruz Island and the barbecue at Pelican Bay, in the interests of a protected harbor for Santa Barbara. The boats, as announced yesterday by the special committee of the yacht club in charge of arrangements for the outing are: the Seal, Captain Jules Valdez; Ladinanne, Captain Muchattee; Larco Brothers, Captain Sebastian Castagnola; Eagle, Captain Frank Nidever; and North America, Captain J. Nocti...”


February 14, 1923 [SBMP]: “Larco loses all hope for Nidever. Beloved captain of fishing boat was lost during storm in channel. ‘We have almost given up hope of finding Captain Nidever,’ said U. Larco, employer of Captain Frank Nidever, last night. Since the fishing boat Supreme returned to San Pedro after having been given up for lost, hope persisted that Captain Nidever was still alive, probably drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Visko Karmelich, captain of the Supreme, reported that the seas and wind were so heavy in the channel on the day Captain Nidever sailed, it was a wonder his ship was not swamped, and he believes that a ship but with one man on it (his had eight) could hardly survive the storm... Members of Larco’s fleet which sailed a few hours after Captain Nidever, said the Eagle was headed for China Bay on Santa Cruz Island, the first cove below Prisoners Harbor. It may be a week or more before any wreckage is washed ashore.”


February 15, 1923 [SBMP]: “Planking from Eagle is taken as evidence of seaman’s death. Fishermen friends of Captain Frank E. Nidever have found what they have persistently looked for ever since the veteran fisherman and mariner disappeared during a storm on February 1, and dreaded to find — wreckage from Captain Nidever’s fishing boat, Eagle. The wreckage consisted of a section of the deck of the Eagle and bits of the pilot house. It was found by fishermen on the south side of Anacapa Island. The find was made four days ago, but word reached here only yesterday. It was brought up by I. Steen and Charles Hanson, San Pedro fishermen, to the Larco Brothers, employers of Captain Nidever.”


February 20, 1923 [SBMP]: “Launch hunting Captain Nidever not located. O. K. not heard from since beginning search one week ago, Larco says. Fishing launches working about the Channel Islands have failed to sight the missing launch, O. K., of the Larco fleet in which Big Jerry Shively and Isaac Newton set out a week ago Saturday to aid in the search for the ill-fated Eagle in which Captain Frank E. Nidever is believed to have gone to his death, it was stated yesterday by U. E. Larco. Mr. Larco said he knew nothing of the report that the O. K. was in San Pedro for a new coat of paint. The fishermen have been asked to keep a lookout for the O. K. and inquiries have been made at various ports along the coast. No organized search for the launch has begun.”


February 25, 1923 [SBMP]: “The mystery of the disappearance of Captain Frank Nidever, in the boat Eagle, and of Big Jerry Shively in his O.K., remains unsolved, while one of the Larco brothers returned yesterday with a heavy catch — but no tidings of the missing ones, and with no discoveries of the wreckage of either of the boats. The return of the fleet, however, caused an indefinite postponement of a voyage by representatives of the district attorney’s office with the Larco brothers to seek further information in the strange disappearance of the two men, and in the death of Isaac Newton, picked up dead floating in the water off Santa Cruz Island. When the officers will take the trip is not now announced, but that a search for the bodies of the missing men will be continued is certain.”


March 2, 1923 [SBMP]: “Frank Nidever’s boat crushed by liner is believed. Captain Valdez, companion, says Eagle was having motor troubles. Huge vessel nearby. Theory of being run down is gaining favor with late investigations. Captain Frank Nidever was run down and his boat cut in two by a liner. This belief is growing. Captain Nidever sailed from Santa Barbara in the boat Eagle February 1, running ahead of a storm for the island anchorage and has never been heard of since. The belief was strengthened today by the declaration of Captain Valdez of the schooner Santa Cruz. Captain Valdez, who lives on Santa Cruz Island, says he sailed out of Santa Barbara with Nidever and was close to him all the way across until within ten miles of Santa Cruz, when the motor of the Santa Cruz went dead as it was getting dusk. Nidever, according to Captain Valdez, had also been having some motor trouble. The Santa Cruz drifted before the wind for some time, and Captain Valdez lost sight of the Eagle. About that time, a liner passed within 300 yards of the Santa Cruz without seeing Captain Valdez’ boat. ‘I believe,’ said Captain Valdez yesterday, ‘that Frank Nidever’s boat was run down by that liner in the storm, and he was sent to the bottom.’ Traces of the wreckage of the Eagle strewn along the island beaches and scattered for miles lends strength to the theory that the Eagle was run down and crushed like an eggshell by the big liner, far enough out from the island coastline to make the wreckage spread over a long stretch of shore, as it would if so wrecked. Further support of this theory of the prominent mariner’s mysterious disappearance is added by the fact that Larco Brothers, Captain Clarence Libbey, and other salt water men, declare that if Captain Nidever drowned in deep water his body would never be recovered because after a body sinks to a certain depth it is held suspended by water pressure until it is completely disintegrated.”