"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.

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 December 2014


Tall donation by four timber companies and turned by the 
Cascade Pole Co. of Tacoma.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Note Mr. Vallentyne swinging from the hook.
Cropped from an original 10"x14" photo dated 1966
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Three New Masts for WAWONA

Save our Ships member, James D. Vallentyne*, swung from the hook of a Port of Seattle crane at Pier 46 in October 1966, as he began preliminaries for replacing the rotten 103-ft masts of WAWONA.
      Foss Launch & Tug Co donated the towing, Port of Seattle donated use of its crane, and Longshoreman's Union (Local No. 19) paid the salary of the crane operator.
      In May 1968, three new masts for the schooner were taken off a flatcar at Pier 46. The sticks were donated by four timber companies and turned by the Cascade Pole Co., Tacoma. The WAWONA, berthed at the north end of Lake Union, needs some work before the masts are stepped; Hunter Simpson, president of Save Our Ships, which owned the schooner was quoted as saying the group is hoping to make her into a museum ship.
      The WAWONA, built in 1897 by Hans Ditlev Bendixson, distinguished herself as a codfisher on her maiden Bering Sea voyage with Captain Charles Foss, for bringing home the largest catch of cod surpassing records on the Atlantic coast to 1914. The enthusiastic Captain Foss was quoted, "the staunch vessel could not have performed better if she had been built especially for codfishing."
      Being unable to get a towboat after arriving in the Strait of Juan de Fuca that year, she sailed into Anacortes and slid in next to her wharf, without the aid of a tug. Highliner was Second Mate Emil Isakson with a catch of 17, 036 fish. An Anacortes reporter noted she was discharging at Robinson Fisheries, Anacortes.
      The famous Capt. Ralph "Matt" Peasley, hero of Cappy Ricks sailing yarns, was WAWONA's skipper from 1900 to 1906.

Author Ernest K. Gann:
"WAWONA lives still and she is not going to die tomorrow or even the day after because her heart and physique are both mighty. And because she was created the old way when things were built to last.
      WAWONA will survive for a few more years even without your help. But then she will be gone. Forever. Not for you to see. Not for our kids to walk her decks and at least dream of voyaging under sail. Never.
      We are going to lose WAWONA to time and in her final weakness to the elements which she defied so bravely for so long."

WAWONA was scrapped in 2009.
Notes from The Seattle Times, 1966 and 1968.
Two photos from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

*In the following year of 1967, Mr. Vallentyne, a past president of the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and owner of Vallentyne's Marine Repair, was lost off the Columbia River Bar in a storm, while bringing a vessel up the coast to Seattle.

Book search here
Pacific Schooner Wawona 

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