Mural by the famous Anacortes artist/historian Bill Mitchell.
Photograph by Mary Matzek, 2006.
I recall one day while returning to Orcas Island from Bellingham aboard the vessel; we encountered some very stormy weather off the point of Lummi Island. Waves were washing over the boat, and the cabin had water up to the seats. I was the only passenger aboard and was sitting with my feet propped up on the opposite seat, scared to death. The next big wave flooded the engine and it stopped. I could hear Captain Kasch in the engine room pounding on some iron, gasoline was floating around on top of the water, and Capt Kasch was singing. I nervously glanced around to see if there were any life preservers. "Why did I decide to return home this morning?" I wonder to myself. It hadn't seemed to be very windy at the dock. But then I remembered hearing Capt Kasch calling out just before we left the dock, 'all aboard for the San Juan Archipelago, if you don't care where the Hell you go!'
Breaking over the bow came another big wave. Everything that was loose was banging and floating around. The little old pot-bellied stove that furnished the heat was smoking. Another clanking came from the engine room and suddenly the engine started. The door of the engine room swung open and Capt Kasch, covered with grease and oil, poked his head through the door singing––"Nearer My God to Thee."
At that time I was too frightened to think that it was a joke. But after all, the mail must go through!
Above text from: They Named it Deer Harbor, Covering the Period of 1852 to 1912. McLachlan, Edith. Deer Harbor, WA. (1972.)
Search for the McLachlan book here.