"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.

24 November 2017

❖ LAMENT OF A TOWBOAT ENGINEER ❖

Steam tugs ROCHE HARBOR (L)
and MARY D. HUME
at Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA.

Undated photo collected by J. Williamson.
Photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
For tug ROCHE HARBOR admirer, Ron Burke.

"At twilight when nights swift approach lays shadows o're the waters,
We yearn for home and loved ones, our wives, our sons, and daughters.
Some sing a song of the open sea and a sailor's life Yo! Ho!
But set me down on a plot of ground with just a plain old hoe.

How we sweat our way to Panama; then pitched and tossed to Hilo.
We're Northbound now, but Lord only knows we may next depart for Rio.
We growl about our lot, of course; the old lube leak and the roast beef's horse.
And when the Skipper plots a course, that he comes out
where he wants to be, is a never-ending mystery.


The engine's worn; we should have sails; to us, the miles go by like snails.
We always get there, never fear, but it makes each week seem like a year.
The water's rusty, the bunks are hard, all cooks are fiends and
should boil in lard.

The mates! well anyway, when at last to her home pier the ship is fast,
Each one departs with a solemn vow, ne'er to return to that ol' scow.
But when the dawning's bright and clear, comes our fervent cry to the bossman's ear.
Are we sailing soon? Oh! why not now, and what's delaying us anyhow?"


Composed by William House. Piling Busters Yearbook. Seattle, WA. Mitchell Pub. 1951.

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