As part of its monthly lecture series, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to present Disaster at Devil’s Jaw, a new film about the Naval disaster at Honda Point. The film screening will take place at SBMM on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. Producer and Director Lee Abbott will speak about the film, which is 115 minutes, while also sharing photographs and stories, and answering questions. The cost is free for SBMM Navigators Circle members; $10 for all other members; and $20 for the general public. SBMM members will enjoy a pre-lecture reception from 5:15-5:45 p.m. Space is limited; reservations are required. Register at: https://bit.ly/Disaster-at-Devils-Jaw. Learn more about becoming a member here: https://sbmm.org/santa-barbara-maritime-museum-membership/.
“Honda is the largest tragedy that very few people know about,” said SBMM Executive Director Greg Gorga. “But while many mistakes were made, once wrecked on the rocks, our sailors displayed amazing acts of courage and bravery. And we have a lot of local connections to this disaster.”
Just up the California coast from Santa Barbara, north of Point Conception, there is a location known locally as Honda Point. To mariners, this area has been known as “the graveyard of the Pacific” and to 16th-century Spanish explorers it was known as “La quijada del diablo”…. the devil’s jaw. It was here, 100 years ago this year, that the largest peacetime disaster of the U.S. Navy occurred on September 8, 1923.
On a cold moonless night, in thick coastal fog, 14 new ships of Destroyer Squadron 11 were sailing at a record pace from San Francisco to San Diego under radio silence and in close formation. The ships turned hard east into the Santa Barbara Channel – or so they thought. Seven destroyers, and 23 sailors were lost to the jagged shore. Was it human hubris? Natural phenomenon? Foreboding omens? This film is their story.
“I’d really like to thank Greg Gorga and SBMM for their incredible contributions to getting this film made and made right,” said Lee Abbott. “Greg’s knowledge and introductions to key interviews was absolutely invaluable to the final quality of the film.”
This event is generously sponsored by Marie L. Morrisroe.