"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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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.

01 May 2014

Ashes Overboard––100 Years Ago

FLORENCE K. at Eagle Harbor, WA.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"When the steamer ATALANTA was built in 1914, there was a hot argument over her fuel. My father held out for diversity but he lost out to his senior brother, Arthur, who built her to use fuel oil only. He had a long-term contract at a favorable price in order to promote the use of fuel oil, which then had some problems.
      The ship got her supply during the war years, but when the contract expired the oil price skyrocketed and we had to raise the rates just when competition again reared it's ugly head in the form of a subsidized county ferry. The ATALANTA was sold in 1919 and father took his share in the sole ownership of the FLORENCE K. She was promptly equipped with a supply of coal grates for the boiler; her hold on either side of the boiler and engine room were lined and equipped for coal and her cargo space was arranged to store wood, if necessary. He played the fuel market very well––coal when the supply and price were right––oil when the supplier listened to reason––and cordwood if that was indicated. The grates came out for oil but went back in for wood and coal.
      The coal was the dirtiest, of course, and it seemed to me we hoisted out as much ash as fuel originally went in. When you dumped ashes on the lee side the soot, etc. went swirling all over the ship, so there had to be a lot of cleaning. The old craft left her night mooring at the People's Dock near the entrance to Gig Harbor at 6 am. The fireman and I devised a scheme of getting aboard somewhat earlier and dumping ashes and clinkers over the side in the quiet of the harbor.
      This went along quite well until one day, with a rather low tide, Captain Fred Sutter, hit bottom while trying to make a landing. Capt. Fred was a very kind man and a great teacher to me. After he got clear of the dock he had a good talk with yours truly about homemade reefs in front of dock space and we promptly went back to dumping ashes on the run.
      Capt. Arda Hunt never would listen to any talk about Diesel engines. He wouldn't consider putting himself in the position of dependence on one source of fuel, and besides, he wanted the warm boiler room for his crew to dry out in wet weather."
Above text by Reed O. Hunt, Gig Harbor, WA. 
Published by The Sea Chest, Puget Sound Maritime Society, Seattle, WA.

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