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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.

17 March 2014

The Crew Was Too Green

Postmark date of  1908
An amusing tale of a master's troubles with green sailors is told by the Port Townsend Call concerning the Chilean ship OTHELLO, 1414 tons, Captain Welsh. The OTHELLO loaded a cargo of lumber at Port Blakeley for the west coast and started for sea Sunday. She returned to Townsend Monday and the Call says:
      "Captain Welsh has a job-lot of dry-land sailors which he would like to dispose of at a bargain for decorative purposes. Several of the men were secured from up-Sound before the OTHELLO reached Townsend and, fortunately for Capt. Welsh, he was not outside the Cape when he discovered that landscape gardeners and sowing machine agents predominated. Not caring to attempt the voyage with a crew of passengers the OTHELLO put back. It was when the OTHELLO was off Pt. Angeles in tow that the captain made his first important discovery.
      "Get the wheel," he commanded a forecastle occupant. The man started aft with alacrity. In about ten minutes he returned and informed Capt. Welsh that he could not find it.
      "Find what?" demanded the surprised captain. 
      "Your wheel," blandly replied the mariner, adding "you must have left it on the dock at Blakeley, for I saw a fellow riding one there."
      In despair Captain Welsh turned to another, "Go aft and take the wheel," he said and the man went on a run. A few minutes later the mate was called. "I can't keep this up long," said the sailor "it turns too hard, and besides I can't see the use of using the propeller when that steamboat ahead is towing us fast enough." He afterwards said he supposed that was the way the propeller was run, for he hadn't seen any steam appliances such as engines aboard to turn it.
      Feeling it would be unkind to take such a crowd out where the water was too deep to walk ashore whenever they decided to quit, Captain Welsh came back, and will get a crew of sailors at this port before proceeding on his voyage again.
Tacoma Daily Ledger, 24 October 1901


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