Hawaii shipwreck discovery revives unusual survival tale

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The ocean has revealed a secret 120 years old on the most remote island in the Hawaiian chain. In July, state workers happened upon the wreck of the full-rigged ship Dunotter Castle, vintage Falls of Clyde, in 25 feet of crystal clear water off Kure Atoll, the last island beyond Midway.

The wreck made headlines in 1886 after seven survivors sailed 52 days and 1,200 miles in an open boat and were picked up off Kaua'i. A voyage to rescue crew members remaining on Kure set out the next day via the steamer Wai'ale'ale.

King Kalakaua himself came down to see the Wai'ale'ale off. The ship carried an artist, lumber to install a shelter with water catchment for future castaways on Kure, and a flag to claim the island for the kingdom.

Today, underwater archaeologist Hans Van Tilburg, who was at Kure with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says Dunotter Castle is the best-preserved wreck of a 19th-century ship he's ever seen.

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