February 27, 1931 – The steamer Sea Foam broke into two pieces on the south reef of the harbor at Point Arena. Most of the cargo washed out to sea, and the ship was a total loss. She had wrecked six days before, while battling a heavy sea.

Boat broken in two on beach. People are viewing the wreckage.

The Wreck of the Sea Foam at Point Arena, 1931. People identified in the photograph are: Eiler C. Oppenlander, John Ottoson, Fred Jones, Edna Oppenlander, Eileen Oppenlander Gummerus, John Gummerus.

The wreck was described by the Beacon, “Captain A. K. Simonson, of the ill fated craft, was on the bridge as they were entering the harbor and decided that owing to the rough water inside he had better put out as he could not tie up in any event. It was when he was bringing the boat around that she was caught by a heavy tow and carried over against the south reef; the first impact crashed and disabled the propeller, leaving the vessel helpless; the second crash tore a huge hole in the hull and she was then lifted bodily on top of the reef and settled down high and dry.” The Point Arena Coast Guard immediately sent a rescue boat and evacuated the crew of 20. After the ship broke into two pieces, the wreckage washed up on the beach.

Built in 1904, the Sea Foam had been a familiar sight in Mendocino. In 1916, she began making two trips per week between San Francisco and Mendocino, carrying cargo and up to 70 passengers. Passenger service ended in 1920. During the years before the wreck, she had been carrying cargo between Eureka and San Francisco, with occasional stops in Point Arena. The Beacon reported that many locals drove to Point Arena to view the wreck, and “the loss of this familiar old boat will bring a feeling of regret to many along the coast.”

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