On Friday morning, March 22, 1895, Frederick Adams sat down and wrote out his will. For the last two years, he had been overseeing the construction of the Legislative Buildings in Victoria, engaging in a cantankerous relationship with the hot-tempered architect Francis Rattenbury. Adams, in his mid-fifties, later that night would board the steamer Velos, with the barge Pilot in tow, and start a 250-mile journey to Haddington Island, near the northeast corner of Vancouver Island to procure a load of stone for the buildings. It would be his last day.
The weather had turned sour, and Captain James L. Anderson of the Velos suggested they delay the trip until the storm cleared, but, being behind schedule, Adams was anxious to get under way.
At 9:30 p.m., Captain Anderson, Adams, and five crewmen aboard the Velos, and twenty-four men, mostly laborers and stonemasons, on the Pilot left Victoria Harbour.
Around 10:00 p.m., as they entered Enterprise Channel between Oak Bay and Trial Island, they came up against a fierce southeasterly gale meeting the flood tide. Captain Anderson, thinking the weather too rough to proceed, attempted to turn back to Victoria. In the process of turning, the sea struck the rudder, causing the rudder chains to break and the Velos went broadside in the violent current. Almost before the crew realized the chains were broken, the sea thrust the steamer onto rocks lying out from the mainland, and she quickly sunk, stern first, leaving just a portion of the bow above water. The crew attempted to use the lifeboats, but the steamer filled so quickly, it was impossible to lower them.
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