The Sunken Ship at Castro Point

Sunken ship off of Castro Point

Sunken ship off of Castro Point

Have you noticed the sunken ship sticking out of the water at Castro Point, near the Richmond Bridge?  Last week the tide was scheduled to be extremely low, -2.68, so we knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get out and see the abandoned ship up close and personal.  So we grabbed the drone and our cameras and headed out to Pt. Molate.

Once we parked we were able to see our destination.  The hike out to Castro Point wasn’t long, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. With the exception of walking on a few planks through the mud, the terrain was fairly flat and easy to navigate.  Just around the bend we spotted an abandoned building, full of bright colors with the bridge behind.  To our right was the resting USCGC Hermes, standing proud and tall, a home to a variety of birds and barnacles. As we approached, we noticed other objects in the water: was it an old pier?  A part of the Hermes?  Junk? 

Sunken ship at sunset

Photo by Krista Miller

Because the tide was so low we were able to get close.  The ground was wet and sloshy (oh, if I only had my Salmon Sisters Legacy Boots with me!) and the sun was making its way towards Mt. Tam, casting a pre-setting glow on the water.  

It looked like there was a second boat in the water, one that isn’t normally visible.  

My husband’s drone quickly takes flight, aware that the sun was threatening to set.  We immediately see through the footage that there isn’t just one sunken ship, not two, not three…but…at least 7 or 9 different ship carcasses, making what appeared to be a ship graveyard.  

Photo by DeAnna Tibbs

Aerial view of the sunken shipyard

Photo by Krista Miller and Ryan Smith

We came home and started to look up the history of the area.  

The USS Hermes launched in 1932, served in WWII, decommissioned in 1948, and sold a decade later to Alameda CA for scrap, then towed to Richmond where she was sunk as part of a breakwater.  By the 1970’s, parking lots for condemned WWII warships were being scrapped for money.  Additionally, two vintage aircraft carriers broke their moorings and drifted into the sandbar, which were quickly secured by tugboats.  

And so it seems, the sunken ship at Castro Point, the one we can all see while driving on the lower level of the Richmond Bridge, is not just one ship, but a mecca of historical treasures, and visible when the tide goes low. 

And so it is: a graveyard of ships.  Another great reason to visit Richmond.

Aerial view of the sunken shipyard facing east

Drone footage by Ryan Smith