Steve Lloyd with a bridge compass recovered from the SS Aleutian (1929)
On the many pages of this web site, I hope to share some of my love and enthusiasm for history, Alaska shipwrecks, technical diving, and exploration of all kinds. Whether you are an armchair adventurer or a hard-core wreck-diver in your own right, I think you will enjoy the stories I have to tell.
Beginning here, you can meet some of my friends whose participation and support has been invaluable in allowing me to pursue my passion of diving on historic shipwrecks, sunken airplanes, lost mines, flooded caves, and other underwater mysteries that lie hidden beneath the icy waters of Alaska. Follow the links below to learn more about the skilled and dedicated adventurers who make up the LostShipwrecks team!
The original version of this site was started in 2006 by Steve Lloyd, an Alaska-born entrepreneur, shipwreck researcher, writer, and technical scuba diver. I originally envisioned it as a sort of blog where I could talk about my various exploration projects around Alaska, and post historical documents and photographs that others could find and use for their own research.
I earned my basic scuba certification in 1998, and enthusiastically began learning everything I could about the sport. Although some Alaskan divers only pursue the sport while vacationing in the tropics, I rapidly gained experience with the specialized equipment and techniques needed to safely explore my home waters.
As I seized every opportunity to go diving, I continued my reading and expanded it to include everything I could find on the subject of wreck diving. I devoured the books of wreck-diving pioneers like Gary Gentile, Brad Sheard, Henry Keatts, and Brad Skerry. From them I learned about research techniques, gear configuration, diving protocol, and the many ways that shipwrecks can kill or injure a careless or unlucky diver.
Bit by careful bit, I extended my diving to include deeper excursions since so many wrecks lie at depths that exceed recreational scuba diving limits. In early 2000, I was very fortunate to be invited on a small private expedition to dive the SS State of California (1913) in southeast Alaska, and it was on this trip that I experienced my first dives on a passenger vessel that had gone down in Alaska waters. It was deep, and dark, and ice-cold, and terrifying, and thrilling all at once. If I hadn't known it already, this was an experience that I would seek out again and again in the years to come!
Steve Lloyd with the anchor of the bark Torrent (1868)
As my research intensified, I spent increasing amounts of time on the "Torrent" and other shipwreck projects, at the expense of updating and adding to the web site. Seven years later, web site technology has advanced to the point where development tools are available that even non-technical folks like me can use effectively. I am embarking on a complete revamp of LostShipwrecks.com with the goal of including information about the many shipwrecks, research projects, and diving expeditions I have led or been part of over the past 15 years. This web site is the result of that initiative.
Over the course of 8 months in 2006, I created a number of detailed pages covering the major diving adventures I had been involved with up to that time. I was not (and still am not) a web site developer, so the original site was clunky and not very polished, although it did include a lot of material that had not previously been available on the Web.
In early 2006, I began an intensive research project into the loss of the U.S. Army transport bark "Torrent" which sank in Cook Inlet on July 15, 1868. With my project partners Ken Koga-Moriuchi and Nicholas Teasdale, that summer I launched the first of what would eventually become six expeditions to locate and document the "Torrent" shipwreck.
After a number of dives on the State of California, followed by another trip to explore two wrecks near Juneau--the SS Princess Sophia (1918) and the SS Princess Kathleen (1952)--I returned to thinking about finding a shipwreck of my own. As thrilling as it had been to explore these Alaska shipwrecks, each lost under tragic and unexpected circumstances 50 to 90 years ago, it would be even more exciting to sleuth out a wreck that had gone down without a trace. Could there be such a shipwreck in Alaska, still waiting to be found? Would I ever experience the discovery that every wreck-diver dreams about, to descend into the depths and glimpse a sunken wreck that has lain undisturbed since the day it went down?
As it turned out, yes. Not just once. To date I have achieved this "once in a lifetime" experience FOUR TIMES.
Steve Lloyd with the SS Aleutian's bell in 2003
I came upon my interest as a kid, reading the classic of American literature that tells the story of a sailor shipwrecked on a desert island--Robinson Crusoe. There was something captivating about the hopelessness and desolation of someone cast upon an uninhabited coast, forced to rely on his own ingenuity and resourcefulness for survival.
From there, I started devouring books that can generally be described as "survival voyages", stories of people cast adrift in an open boat or raft after some disaster at sea. I was riveted by the stories of brave souls who suffered terribly after being shipwrecked, but lived to tell the tale. Exposure, thirst, hunger, sharks, despair--What lessons could be learned from their terrible ordeal?
After reading dozens of accounts of shipwreck survivors, my reading followed the events backward--What had happened to cast these poor wretches adrift on the open ocean? How did their boat or ship come to grief? And what secrets could be told by the wrecks themselves, lying forever hidden beneath the waters that had claimed them?
I read everything I could find on the Titanic, the Lusitania, the Morro Castle, the Sultana, the Eastland, the Princess Sophia, and a hundred other vessels that went down as a result of collision, fire, sabotage, torpedo, storm, or ineptitude. The more I read, the more fully I became immersed in the idea of learning to dive, so that I could one day descend into the ocean depths and explore for myself the rusting remains of ships that had once bravely plied the waters that now held them in a silent embrace. I even dared to dream that perhaps some day I could even discover a shipwreck than no one else had ever dived, and explore the underwater resting place of a ship that had remained lost and forgotten by everyone except me.