Pender Island Art Society
Pender Island Art Society

Quadra to the rescue

'Quadra to the Rescue'

Artist: Malcolm Armstrong

Medium: Oil

Size: 24" x 36"

Price: $2500

To inquire of the artist directly about this work please email:

or call: 250-629-6571

Quadra to the Rescue

On January 6, 1906, the Canadian Government ship QUADRA rescued the entire crew of the American sailing vessel COLOMA.

This rescue would not have taken place if it had not been for the bravery and determination of Mrs Minnie Paterson.

Gale force winds and huge seas hit the wooden barque COLOMA as she battled her way out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Her deck cargo was washed overboard, her sails blown out, her rigging badly damaged and she was partially dismasted.

The lighthouse keeper and his wife at Cape Beale saw COLOMA. Thomas Paterson could see that the ship was in danger of foundering and was getting dangerously close to the rocks. There was no radio and the telegraph lines had been brought down by the storm. The only hope for saving the old ship and her crew was to get word to the QUADRA, anchored at Bamfield 6 miles away.

Thomas Paterson had to stay at his post to operate the foghorn so Minnie set off on foot overland. The six miles through bush and forest and over rough terrain took Minnie four hours but she kept going and at Bamfield she found a friend – another woman - to help her to row a boat out to the QUADRA and alert the Captain of the situation. Captain Walbran immediately weighed anchor and proceeded towards Cape Beale. QUADRA too was in danger and could not approach close to the sailing vessel, but a boat was lowered and rowed towards the COLOMA. By very fine seamanship the crew were rescued from the COLOMA and taken on board the QUADRA. Within a few hours of the rescue the barque was dashed ashore and totally wrecked.

The two flags flown by the QUADRA are International Code flags of the day “D C” meaning “We are coming to your assistance”.