John Vonderlin: 1900: Encore in trouble off Point Montara

Story by John Vonderlin

Email John: [email protected]

Hi June,
This small article is notable mainly for the nice illustration accompanying it.
It appeared in the July 3rd, 1900, issue of the “San Francisco Call.” The “Junin” region is a highlands region in Peru. The nitrates referred to, is probably sodium nitrate, also know as “Peruvian saltpeter,” to distinguish it from ordinary saltpeter (potassium nitrate)  Sodium nitrate was used as an ingredient in fertilizers,  pyrotechnics and explosives, as a food preservative, in ceramic and glass manufacturing, and other industrial processes.
This was considered such a valuable commodity that the “War of the Pacific” or the “Saltpeter War,” as it was also known, had been fought just twenty years earlier between Bolivia, Chile, and Peru for control of the sources. Chile won, Bolivia became landlocked and Peru’s economic growth was greatly delayed. Enjoy. John
The Barkentine Encore in Trouble Off Point Montara.
Captain Atwood Was Dangerously Ill and There Was No One
Left Aboard to Navigate the Ship.

The four-masted barkentine Encore has had an eventful voyage from the nitrate ports. For thirty-two days the captain has been sick with heart trouble and kidney disease, and the navigation of the ship was left to the mate, who depended on luck to reach port safely. The British Bark Brussels was spoken in latitude 32 north, longitude 132 west, and that vessel did everything possible under the circumstances. The captain went aboard the Encore and not only gave the mate his sailing course, but doctored the master of the vessel to the best of his ability. Captain Atwood was taken sick a month after the bark left Junin, and from that time on he has had a fight with death. Early yesterday morning the Encore was at anchor off Point Montara, and no one seemed to know just where she was. The tug Reliance was sent out and picked her up a short distance below the Cliff House. The Encore left Junin sixtyfive days ago, and the passage was an uneventful one until Captain Atwood was taken sick. She brings 7948 bags of nitrate for this port. Captain Atwood was formerly on the Webfoot, and later was master of the Puritan. Before that he was mate of the ship St. Francis when she was burned to the water’s edge during her trip from San Francisco to New York.