"The cure for anything is salt water––sweat, tears, or the sea."
Isak Dinesen


About Us

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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

23 February 2017

❖ KEHLOKEN ❖ The Death of a Friend.

ON 225772
Built 1926, Alameda, CA.
3 Diesel engines coupled to 2 Westinghouse 
electric motors developing 950 HP.
RL 226.8' x 44.0' x 15.9'
Photo by James A. Turner, Seattle,
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
To The Herald editor, October 1979,

"An old friend of mine died early on the morning of 19 Sept.1979 in a fire. 

      She was 53.
      Probably the majority of people now living on Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap will not recognize her name, but there was a time years ago when she figured prominently in all our lives.
      It was a time when this area was as close to paradise as I ever expect to get. Dirt roads, rolling farmlands and strawberry fields, mile upon mile of forest; houses and people few and far between. It was a time before bridges and super ferries, before developers and zoning ordinances, and this lady was a vital part of it all.
      Oddly enough, I was thinking about her just before I learned of her demise.
      She had already been a professional lady for a dozen years when she migrated here from California in 1938 with three of her sisters.
      When she moved to the Northwest, this lady changed her name to the beautiful Indian word for 'aquatic bird,' KEHLOKEN. She was of course, not a human lady, nor even alive in the strict sense of the word––except to those of us who knew and loved her.
      She was a ferryboat.
      Today's residents would scoff at her if they had met her. She had none of the glamor, the glitter, the garishness of those huge floating restaurants to which we have grown accustomed.
      She was a plain wooden ferryboat, 240-ft long and 50-ft wide.
      She glided through the water at a modest, lady-like 11 knots. Her time on the Seattle-Winslow run, dock to dock, was 40 minutes. Her passenger cabin was furnished with hard, straight-backed wooden benches. Her windows were small, square and usually flecked with white paint. Always there was a strong odor of disinfectant emanating from the men's lavatory, which permeated the entire ferry.
      There was a separate compartment for men, another for women, a third one for card players and smokers, and a fourth that housed the coffee shop––where the accommodations were not fancy but the foo
d delicious. She didn't even have an open deck for fresh air fiends.
      On the other hand, you could scarcely hear her smooth running Ingersol-Rand Diesel-electric engines even on the car. deck. She never vibrated or rattled, even when making the turn into Eagle Harbor. She never had mechanical problems; she absolutely never broke down.
      I can recall one instance when she was out of service for two or three days with a bent tail shaft, and another occasion one summer when the tide in Eagle Harbor was too low to permit her to dock at Winslow. Otherwise, she seldom missed a trip, except for regulation maintenance, that was also minimal.
      As a matter of fact, she was the most cost-effective ferryboat in the history of Puget Sound transportation.
      Her record of economy efficiency and reliability will certainly never be surpassed by her monstrous steel replacements. We depended on her and she never let us down.
      It was the KEHLOKEN that inaugurated ferry service from downtown Seattle to Suquamish and Indianola in 1938, but several years later, she arrived on the Bainbridge run and served as our boat for a decade, working alongside a variety of running mates, including her sisters, ELWHA and KLAHANIE, and the familiar SHASTA, CHIPPEWA, BAINBRIDGE and QUINAULT at various times. 
      During her years on the Winslow run, high school boys working aboard her for the summer got permanent jobs as deckhands, became mates and then captains, eventually retiring.
      When the Agate Pass Bridge was opened, bringing 'progress' to Bainbridge and North Kitsap, the tremendous increase in traffic necessitated bringing in larger faster ferries. So the KEHLOKEN moved to Vashon Island, where the commuters there depended on her for another decade.
      After that, she was relegated to the status of a spare boat, but even then, she was almost continually in service, and frequently it was on the Winslow or Kingston runs.
      State ferry officials seem to have regarded the old boats with undisguised derision, preferring to build large, gleaming, new, steel monuments to their bureaucratic tenure to replace the good old ferries (which are always labeled as 'expensive to maintain' or 'overdue for retirement.')
      So, back in 1973, with an over abundance of large, new vessels in the fleet, the KEHLOKEN was put out to pasture, even though she was still in first class condition.
      I bet they would have given their eye teeth this past summer to have had her back to help haul some of these long lines of cars waiting at Edmonds and Port Townsend!
      As I said, I was thinking of the KEHLOKEN only recently. At the time, I was aboard the crippled KALEETAN, and for the first time I can remember, enjoying a quiet, leisurely voyage across the Sound, instead of the usual noisy, vibrating, ear-splitting Teddy Roosevelt-like charge.
      I was reminded of that the other day, in the summer of 1968, during the period when the newly arrived super ferries were being broken in. There just simply weren't enough super ferries in running condition to maintain the scheduled Winslow service. The KEHLOKEN was tied up at the maintenance yard, awaiting her afternoon rush-hour service at Vashon Island.
      So ferry officials called on Good Old Dependable KEHLOKEN to step into the breach. She did. She cleared the Winslow dock of the waiting, impatient travellers, carried them smoothly across to Seattle (in the usual 40 minutes running time), deposited them and picked up a fresh load, that the broken down KALEETAN had stranded there.
      I had the great pleasure of being onboard that trip back to Winslow. It was my last ride on the KEHLOKEN. 
      But I remarked to someone this morning, as we pulled into Winslow exactly 40 minutes after we left Seattle, "this is almost like being back on the good old KEHLOKEN."
      A few days ago I sat down in front of my television to watch the early news and beheld the KEHLOKEN, my dear old friend, being consumed by flames. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I burst into tears and wept with the same kind of grief I would have felt had I been watching the death of a long time human friend.
      My apologies to Katy Warner for usurping her usual privilege and writing this obituary, but I was afraid this longtime Bainbridge Island personality might be overlooked.
Bon Voyage, KEHLOKEN. Sail on down the line. Alki."
Above letter signed, Bob Whithed, Bainbridge Island. The Bainbridge Herald. October 1979.

1937: The KEHLOKEN (ex-GOLDEN STATE) was one of 6 former San Francisco Bay ferries put out of work by the completion of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges. The GOLDEN STATE was towed north by the Puget Sound Tug and Barge Co.'s COMMISSIONER. 1937-1938: Capt. Walter Clarence Beachum was one of her skippers.
1983: KEHLOKEN was intentionally sunk off the southern tip of Whidbey Island.The artificial reef is popular for diving and one of the richest dives in Puget Sound. Check out this site––The Possession Point Ferry. 

20 February 2017

❖ ❖ OCTOPUS WEEK ❖ ❖ Seattle until Sunday 26 Feb 2017

Seattle Aquarium until 26 February '17

This antique postcard with a giant Pacific Octopus has no
publisher listed, but verso includes some out-of-date information
on what was commonly called a "Devilfish" in the Pacific NW.
A highly intelligent Enteroctopus dofleini grows bigger and
lives longer with it's three hearts, than any other Octopus species.
There will be one waiting to see you this week at
the Seattle Aquarium.

18 February 2017


Viewing Lummi Island from Chuckanut Drive,
Bellingham, WA
Photo by Clyde Banks, undated.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
June Burn published this piece in February 1930, from mail she received from one of her readers on Lummi Island. 
One of the lovely views on which the Lummi Islander writes.
Photo by E.I. Jacobson from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"I would love to tell folks about Lummi Island. On the west one can see the San Juan Islands and Juan de Fuca beyond them. Over this wide strait, our beautiful sunsets that no artist can paint. On the east we can see Mt. Baker robed in white with the waters of Hales Pass and the foothills in between.
      To the north of us lies the Gulf of Georgia, and on clear days, across miles of water, we can see Point Roberts with the Coast Range in the background. The south end of Lummi is mountainous and there people love to spend the day hiking, following trails and climbing through nature's forests. Often they see wild game, that adds to the thrill.
      At night we can see our nearest city of Bellingham all aglow and Chuckanut Drive with the headlights rounding the curves. It is a beautiful sight.
Carlisle Cannery, Lummi Island, WA.
With broadside view of fish tenders moored to
offload salmon catch. Dated 1911.

The bottom photo mailed by Lummi Island's 

Fannie Winslow Granger (1860-1921)
states this view as the boarding house where the
Carlisle Cannery bosses live. (photo undated.)
Click image to enlarge.
Original photos from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      We have three salmon canneries and six families who are engaged in chicken raising as a business, a blue fox farm, a few large and several small ranches. We have an $18,000 school house and a township hall adjoining it. This hall is used for business meetings, basketball and dancing. We also have a Congregational Church, the basement being used for a Grange hall.
      Our roads are good graveled roads and are being widened. In summer the traffic is as bad as on the highways. You will wonder at this, but our summer hotels explain it.
      The Hotel Grange was known years ago as Mother Grange's home, and a wonderful place it was to spend happy days. Since her death, the hotel has been run by her son and daughter, the Austins.
      Then comes the Lodge run by Mr. and Mrs. Granger. This hotel can take care of two or three hundred people. Mrs. Granger does the cooking, and talk about fried chicken and all the goodies that go with it! A four-piece orchestra entertains here twice a week. There are dancing, cards, pool, tennis and horseshoe games with a lovely sandy beach close by where marshmallows are toasted at bonfires.
"The Willows"
Lummi Island, WA. 

Lower photo of three cabins by Clyde Banks.
Original photos from the archives of the S.P.H.S.© 
From the cosy living room of "The Willows,"
Lummi Island, WA.,
this notation was written on the bottom photocard:
"It was too hot to do anything but lie in the hammock.
Weather is gorgeous."
Both photos by Clyde Banks from the archives of the S.P.H.S.© 

"The Willows", kept by [founders,] Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Taft, is the garden of flowers. Here are a dozen cabins where guests spend the nights, each with flowers of its own, and here every kind of amusement, including a weekly picnic for those who love to spend the day in the beautiful places on Lummi.
Ferry Landing on Lummi Island
for the Gooseberry Point route.

The Post Office was officially named Beach
honoring the first Postmaster, Wade H. Beach,
and not changed until 1946.

Two original photos from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      You can motor to Gooseberry Point and ferry across in about five minutes. The ferry makes nine trips a day, so don't forget the route!"
      Thank you, T.K., for the story. I'll be over on that ferry some of these days just to see one of your sunsets out across de Fuca way! See you tomorrow. June.
Puget Soundings. Feb. 1930
For some history notes about Lummi Island, WA., please click here

16 February 2017


Steam Schooner DIRIGO
Built in Hoquiam, WA. 1898.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S©
"In the Gold Rush days of 1897, as a temporary measure, the Alaska Line joined forces with the Washington and Alaska Steamship Co., each contributing a boat to the Skagway run. The ROSALIE and the CITY OF SEATTLE alternated each week with sailings from the Northern Pacific Dock in Tacoma and Schwabacher's in Seattle. By July 1898, the Alaska line had chartered a second ship, the DIRIGO outright. 
      The DIRIGO was a steam schooner built at Hoquiam, WA. She was 165' x 35' x 13.50' and 843 Gross tons overall. Immediately after completion she was place in the Alaska trade by J.S. Kimball and Co. She was noted for her hard luck. In April 1898, she left Skagway and put in at Juneau because of condenser troubles. When she tried to come alongside the steamer CZARINA at Peoples Wharf, her engine room signals got crossed and she rammed the other vessel, badly holing her side. The CZARINA had to make a quick run for the beach at Douglas.
Undated original photo from the S.P.H.S.©
      On 9 March 1899, the DIRIGO was stranded with 100 passengers off Midway Island, south of Juneau, during a heavy snowstorm. She was on the rocks for 46 hours  before she was re-floated. The steamer was commanded by two well-known officers Capt. George Roberts and Chief Engineer George Lent. On 12 March the DIRIGO was towed to Juneau and was later brought to Seattle. She was so badly damaged she required a new keel and garboard strakes. Repairs ran to about $30,000, more than a third of the vessel's value. Eventually Alaska Steam had her back on the run with the ROSALIE on a regular schedule.
      The DIRIGO figured in a more cheerful news story the same year. The 18 Oct. 1899 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described her return to Seattle with the largest single shipment of gold up to that time, sent by way of Lynn Canal. The metal was valued at more than $1,064,000 and weighed two tons. It consisted mostly of gold bars, melted at Dawson, that were enclosed in wooden boxes bound with steel. Two officers of the North West Mounted Police accompanied the consignment, all together there were six armed guards standing six-hour watches. Also on board were two leather trunks containing $90,000 in gold dust from one bank and another box containing $37,000 shipped by the Alaska Commercial Co. The vessel also brought 7,500 cases of canned salmon and 78 passengers on that trip."
Above text from Alaska Steam. Lucile McDonald & the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. Seattle. 1984.
Some of the officers who served DIRIGO:
Capt. Gus Soderman, Capt. Charles L MacGregor, Capt. George Roberts
Chief Engineer John H. Bragdon
1914, 11 April. Owing to increased activity in the Cook Inlet district, officials of the Alaska Steamship Co., announced they had decided to establish a regular freight and passenger route from Seward to that section of the country. To that end, steamship DIRIGO will be commissioned and pressed into service. The DIRIGO is being overhauled and will begin service in May. 
Above news clip from: The Progressive. Petersburg, AK 11 April 1914.
1914, 16 November.  Foundered while in tow of the CORDOVA off Cape Spencer. The US Merchant Vessels publication lists DIRIGO was lost 40 miles east of Cape Elias.

14 February 2017


24 November 1931
home from a circumnavigation
on his 32-ft ketch SVAAP.
Photo by International Newsreel Photo
Original from the S.P.H.S.©
Here's a nice Valentine's Day kiss for all my history helpers. 
      This was published in November 1931 when author, explorer, William Albert Robinson, 29-yr old Boston sailor was being heartily greeted when he concluded a trip around the world consuming three and one-half years. He sailed out of New London, bound for Bermuda. He liked the trip so much he decided to continue on around the world. In all, Robinson traveled 30,000 miles and visited 435 small villages and ports, at all points of the compass. His entire crew consisted of 'Etera', a native of Tahiti, and himself.
      The news reporter for the day decided this was Robinson's mother, but something makes me believe that might be an alternative fact with the name of Florence Crane.

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