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1. The First Voyage of Cameo

Even while Josiah Gregg and his companions were fighting their way across the Coast Range and through the redwoods, another expedition from the Trinity mines was endeavoring to reach the same goal, via the Pacific Ocean. These miners left the diggings in November 1849, crossed over to the Sacramento Valley, and traveling via Sutter's Mill reached San Francisco. There they chartered a brig, Cameo, and on December 9 sailed through the Golden Gate and up the coast. This attempt failed. Soon after the vessel returned to San Francisco with a report that Trinidad Bay was a myth, the survivors of the Gregg party arrived with news of their discovery. [1]

2. The Second Voyage of Cameo

The San Francisco newspapers played up the bay's rediscovery and interest in the Humboldt Coast soared. In early February 1850 two vessels sailed from San Francisco in an unsuccessful effort to pinpoint from the sea the elusive bay. In the San Francisco Alta California for February 22 appeared this advertisement:

For Trinidad Bay . . . New Gold Diggins . . . The Brig Cameo will be dispatched on or about the 27th inst. for Trinity Bay. For particulars of freight or passengers, apply to A. J. Cost, head of Central Wharf, 2nd door from Montgomery Street. [2]

Cameo in March resumed the search, to be followed within the month by 11 other vessels. After a trying cruise up the coast, the brig hove to on March 16 near Trinidad Head, where she put ashore a four-man landing party. Because of foul weather she was compelled to beat her way up the coast, without those on board knowing that those put ashore had located Trinidad Bay. On rounding a point, the shore party sighted the bay, and near the headland they found an inscription carved into a tree:

Latitude 41 degrees 3 minutes 32 seconds
Barometer 29 degrees 86 minutes
Thermometer Fah. 48 degrees at 12 noon
December 7, 1849.

J. Gregg

This inscription confirmed the story told by the overland party on their arrival in San Francisco. [3]

Meanwhile, Cameo had continued to beat her way up the coast, as far as Point St. George. Ten men were landed at Rocky Point, and the brig returned to San Francisco.

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Last Updated: 15-Mar-2006