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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.

07 July 2015


ON 225166
Photo image from King County Snapshots,
University of WA Libraries.
Photographer and date not listed.
"A few years ago I was the skipper on the tug NEMAH. My cousin came out here from Montana that summer and asked me for a job. We were in need of a deckhand so I gave him the job. I figured he couldn't be any worse than some of my previous so-called deck hands.
      We had just installed a new engine and were doing most of our towing from Olympia to Everett at the time. The first trip with our new deckhand I made him steer a lot of the time and when I gave him a course I gave it to him in degrees so he would understand what I was talking about.
      On our second trip out it was a nice evening but blacker than Satan. We were rounding Johnson Point when I gave him a course for Devil's Head. I was working down in the engine room and every so often I would come up and see how things were going. Everything okay, so back to the engine room.
      Either I was awfully busy or we were moving as fast as a short beer down a tall Swede (and that's fast) because the next time I looked out we were around Devil's Head and heading for Balch Pass.
      Now if you come around Devil's Head pretty wide you steer 32 degrees for the pass. I looked at the compass and this new deckhand was right on course. I asked him how he knew what course to steer. He replied that was easy, he got it off the chart. I looked at him in mouth-opened amazement. Finally I asked him to show me how he arrived at the course. I thought maybe my cousin had more on the ball than  had given him credit for.
      He taked down the chart table and takes the rules and lays it for Balch Pass. (At one time he had seen me use the rules but hadn't asked any questions so I hadn't told him anything.) It went right through the middle of a 32 fathom mark. There he says, is your course.
Words by Captain Walter (Yobby) Torgesen.
At the time of this writing for Piling Buster Yearbook 1951, Stories of Towboating by Towboat Men Torgersen was master of tug CROSMOR for Olympia Towing Co. Source: Library of the Saltwater People Historical Society.
NEMAH was a 120 HP Diesel built for Nemah Towboat Co of Raymond, WA. 
27 G.t. / 18 N.t.
49.9' x 15.2' x 5.4'
Home Port: Seattle in 1935.
US List of Merchant Vessels, published by the US Gov't lists building year as 1925 at Hoquiam, WA.
McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Newell, G. editor, lists her date of building as 1929.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I immediately recognized this from one of my Dad's 'Piling Busters Yearbooks'


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