Events: Nautical Nights Speaker Series

Events: Nautical Nights Speaker Series

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Join the Museum for a drink and discussion on our unique maritime heritage, culture, and environment! Each month features a new speaker and topic.



1808 Shipwreck, St. Nikolai

The Pacific Northwest Coast is littered with the remains of shipwrecks that together tell a story of exploration, discovery, resource-extraction, and conquest that’s spanned hundreds of years. One of those is the 1808 wreck of the Russian brig, the St. Nikolai. After it ran aground on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, near La Push, the 22 Russians on board were forced to shore, and for one-and-a-half years, were taken in by the Indigenous people of the Makah, Quileute and Hoh nations. Among those Russians was eighteen-year-old Anna Petrovna Bulygina who was the wife of the ship’s navigator.

Drawn to Anna’s story and the possibilities it presented for exploring contemporary issues, novelist Peggy Herring spent years researching the historical record of this event and late 18th century Russian imperialism on the coast, as well as consulting with Indigenous communities to write a book that recounts the story of the St. Nikolai wreck through Anna’s eyes. During her presentation, Peggy will show images and discuss her research, the historical implications of the shipwreck, and position the events of this episode alongside other better-known history of the region. She will also talk about her research and writing process which will be of interest to readers, writers and aspiring writers of historical fiction and non-fiction.


Peggy Herring is the author of the novels Anna, Like Thunder (2018) and This Innocent Corner (2010). Her award-winning short fiction appears in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and India. She’s lived in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, England, and Japan, working as a radio and print journalist, editor, international development consultant and volunteer, documentary film writer, and teacher. Before her time overseas, she was a producer and broadcaster for CBC Radio in Newfoundland and British Columbia. She now lives with her family in Victoria, BC.  For more information: