The Shipwreck to See

Words & Images by Kristin Agnes

I recently heard about an abandoned ship that had crashed into the coast of Los Angeles. Due to its location, it was unable to be successfully removed from the rocky shoreline, leaving its broken pieces behind. When I heard the news from a close friend, I perked up and asked way too many questions in immediate succession:“Wait, where exactly is this?” “Can you still see the ship?” “How long has it been sitting along the coast?” And, of course, “How have we never talked about this?!”



Oddly enough, this abandoned ship lies just below the cliff of my favorite get-away spot: Palos Verdes. After years of taking day trips to the peninsula and picking out my future home, I was surprised to hear about a part of the city that I had never seen. Well, dear Exploresses, I have news for you. The deed is done. I visited the stranded ship. And I researched the history of the ship, as well. Supposedly the crash happened in 1961, when the SS Dominator was en route to Los Angeles with food supplies. 

Due to poor navigation and untimely fog, the ship crashed into the rocky waters west of Flat Rock Point in the Palos Verdes Estates. After being abandoned, the remains were strewn across the lovely coastline and are still there for your viewing pleasure. To reach the ship, you will have to hike down the steep cliff from the Bluff Trail towards Flat Rock Point and head north. The entire coastline is made of rocks, so the trip to the ship—each way—can take about 2 hours. However, the sights are breath taking and totally worth the trip—be sure to bring your camera. And if you really want to be California chic, pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in the small surfer shack right at the bend of the point. Looking north you can see the gorgeous queue of Los Angeles beaches, which extend well into Malibu.