the late 1800s and early 1900s, logging was prevalent
on the Mendocino Coast. Trees were cut in the forest,
then moved to rivers and floated down to mills where
they could be cut into lumber; however, some of the
logs sank and were left there. These "sinker" logs
remained submerged for a hundred years or more. You
might think that they'd rot, but most of them didn't,
in fact, the waters preserved the tight-grain, first
growth redwood to perfection. In some cases, the wood
absorbs minerals and silt from the river, taking on
burgundy, purple, blue, black and yellow hues. When
local salvage operators realized that a treasure trove
of perfectly preserved redwood lay under the murky
waters of the river, they set about "reclaiming"
it. Using barges, like the one shown below,
salvagers popped the sinker logs from the murky river
...and towed the
barge, logs and all, with a small outboard boat.
Here, the small boat is pushing the hefty barge
Smith, owner of Mendocino Superior Redwood, spent
hundreds of hours in a wetsuit, diving for "sinker"
logs in Mendocino County rivers.
the cut logs that didn't sink were abandoned along the
riverbanks. During our winter storms, the rivers
rise high enough to free these "floater" logs. Salvage
operators captured these logs on their way out to sea,
and anchored them at the riverbanks. When the waters
abated, the logs could be retreived.
Here's David now, "riding" a
floater log down Navarro River to the landing:
The logs are loaded onto
And after David is done
celebrating (shown below), they'll be taken to his