"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.

16 August 2018

❖ Richardson, Lopez Island ❖ with Beryl Troxell Mason

Looking down the hill to Richardson on the
 coast of Lopez Island.
Photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
“One should not leave the decade of 1910-1920 without investigating the role of the Richardson store in the life of Lopez. Norman Hodgson had been the storekeeper and postmaster and dock owner for what seemed to me then a long time, since before my birth. He stocked staple goods, hardware, and yard goods. He had candy and cookies in glass-fronted bins near the entrance. His office and the post office were in the rear of the building that sat above the road on the top of the rock.
The Hodgson-Graham Store
Richardson, Lopez Island, WA.
L-R: Bertha Benson, hired staff,
Norman Hodgson, Jr, and Lottie Hodgson. 

Click image to enlarge.
C. 1908 original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      The front porch was high enough above the road so that one could step out of the wagon or buggy onto the porch. He even sold meat upon occasion: pork that had been slaughtered just down the hill beyond the store. I can still hear the squealing of the stuck pig that led this curious child beyond the store in time towards while a tremendous hog was scalded in a huge steaming vat with a roaring fire below it. Then the hog was hoisted from the vat and edged onto a platform where men worked with brushes to de-hair the hide.
      Along about 1915 or 1916 Norman Hodgson, then also the County Road Commissioner for Lopez Island and a farmer, sold the Richardson store-dock-post office to a partnership of Crawford and Lundy from Seattle.
The Richardson dock was the most southerly situated 
  port in the San Juan Archipelago & usually 
 the first stop for vessels coming north from Seattle.
The steamer MOHAWK (ex-ISLANDER),
built on San Juan Island,
 is in the center photo and the faithful steamer 

 ROSALIE is alongside in the bottom photo.
 Original photos from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
       Besides the food, hardware, and freight dock at Richardson another need became obvious and Standard Oil put in a huge gas tank to service the commercial fleet. The purse seiner fleet was immense. 
Standard Oil fuel tanks and
Richardson Store, Lopez Island, WA.
Click image to enlarge.
Photo of the store on pilings is dated 1958 

from the archive of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Not only couldn’t you count the seine boats fishing on the Salmon Banks in the Straits south of Lopez and along West Beach on the Whidbey shore, but when night fell these boats had to tie-up somewhere: as many 275 boats would stay at Richardson overnight. Mackaye Harbor was full too. 
These original photos depict Salmon Banks and
Hidden Inlet Canneries and some of the vessels
that fished for salmon in the area.
Some of the legible names of vessels––
Buffalo, Elsie, Glacier, Hennie, Salmo, Superior,
Supreme and Viking.
Click to enlarge.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society

There were nine men to a boat, each boat stayed out five days, going home to Bellingham, Everett, Anacortes, or Gig Harbor during the Friday four PM to Sunday at four PM closed season. Gig Harbor being such a long expensive run some of these didn’t go home during the closed season. There was more demand than there was supply in the Richardson store.
Camp life on shore for the fisherman during
the two days of the closed fishing season per week.
The clean, white canvas tents can be seen in
the center background of the bottom photo.
Click image to enlarge.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      In 1974 when we were at Richardson visiting friends, we found the old store had been moved down into an annex of the freight dock and the Lundy’s had an elegant view home up where the store had stood.
      A facet of our Lopez Island years was the celebration on August 12 of Mama’s birthday. The epic year must have been 1919. The KLATAWA gathered up celebrants from MacKaye Harbor and from Richardson Dock. We preceded by boat to Olga and from Olga we were to climb Mt. Constitution. Picnic baskets were not to be raided until we got to the top. We had a high old time and eventually, we all picnicked on top of the mountain."
Excerpt from:

John Franklin Troxell, Fish Trap Man 1891-1934. Mason, Beryl Troxell. Oak Harbor, Watmough Publishing. 1991. Beryl Troxell Mason (1907-1994)

1990: A favorite meeting place for one hundred years, the Richardson General Store, on the National Register of Historic Places was burned to the ground. It was owned by Ken and Sue Shaw. More of the sad day can be viewed HERE

07 August 2018

❖ S. S. CITY OF SEATTLE with fireworks and whistles ❖ 1890

1,957 G. tons / 246.6'
Launched in May 1890 in Phil; 

arrived in Seattle in Dec. 1890.
Photo inscribed as dated "c. 1907."

Click image to enlarge.
Original photo inscribed verso, the Williamson Collection,
from the Saltwater People Historical Society

The outstanding event of 1890 on Puget Sound was the arrival of the new steamer  CITY OF SEATTLE from Philadelphia. When the vessel steamed into Seattle Harbor on 26 Dec 1890, she provided a fitting climax to a year marked by tremendous growth in Puget Sound shipping.
     Twenty-four steamboats were launched on the Sound that year, while more than a million dollars was being added to the value of the inland fleet. No single event, however, impressed the people of Seattle as much as did the arrival of the steamer named for their city. A Seattle newspaper reported that some 27,000 persons boarded the ship in a single day, 28 Dec 1890, when she was opened for visitors. More were turned away, disappointed when visiting hours ended at 4:00 PM. Over in Tacoma, meanwhile, a reporter for the Tacoma Morning Globe wrote that "a stranger in the vicinity would have gained the impression that the CITY OF SEATTLE was the only steamer on Puget Sound.
      Capt D. B. Jackson, of the Puget Sound and Alaska Steamship Co, had ordered construction of the vessel; she was built at a cost of $225,000. Designed for the Seattle, Tacoma, and Whatcom route, she was built in Philadelphia and completed in May 1890.
      The same company had earlier purchased the CITY OF KINGSTON in Philadelphia. Capt Melville Nichols had brought that craft safely to Seattle in Feb 1890. He then returned to the East Coast to take charge of the CITY OF SEATTLE. With Capt Nichols on the CITY OF SEATTLE were Chief Engineer Robert Turner, First Officer Charles E. Ames, and Second Officer F. A. Woodman.
      Since the Panama Canal had not yet been built, it was necessary to make the long voyage around South America. On 9 Nov 1890, a cablegram from Valparaiso, Chile reported that the CITY OF SEATTLE had arrived there safely, but two days late. After taking on a new supply of coal at Valparaiso, she again put to sea.
      On the morning of 26 Dec, the CITY OF SEATTLE came to anchor in the bay of Port Townsend. The same morning, at 10:30, the CITY OF KINGSTON pulled away from Yesler's Wharf, in Seattle, bound for Pt. Townsend with a welcoming committee. On board were 250 excursionists. A military band occupied the bow of the steamer, and a large crowd gathered on the dock to see the vessel off. Cheers and music were mingled, as the KINGSTON backed from the pier.
      In Pt. Townsend harbor, the CITY OF KINGSTON circled the CITY OF SEATTLE, giving the guests an overall view, then landed at the wharf. The passengers then spent two hours in the town, as guests of the Pt. Townsend Chamber of Commerce. Later the group reassembled and boarded the CITY OF SEATTLE at the wharf. The 110 staterooms were then thrown open for inspection, and the entire accommodations of the vessel were placed at eh disposal of the guests. A banquet was served on board, while the steamer sped toward the city for which she was named.
      Her arrival was eagerly awaited, by hundreds of people on the Seattle waterfront. Presently, the brightly lighted outline appeared in bold relief against the dark background of the Olympic Mountains. As she came clearly into view, escorted by the CITY OF KINGSTON, she was saluted by whistles of all the craft in the harbor. The sawmills along the waterfront added their whistles to the din, and even the steam locomotives switching cars on Railroad Ave joined in, with their whistles.
Unknown photographer.

Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      Fireworks were displayed from the CITY OF SEATTLE, and her two signal cannons were fired. There was an answering salute from Yesler's Wharf, where the vessel was to land.
      On 6 Jan 1891, the CITY OF KINGSTON had to be laid up for repairs, after her propeller struck a submerged log, off Yesler's Wharf. The CITY OF SEATTLE then took over the Victoria run. On 10 Jan 1891, she made the trip from Pt. Townsend to Seattle in two hours and four minutes. The same day she made the run from Seattle to Tacoma in one hour and 29 minutes. These were not the fastest times ever recorded, but they rate high on the list.
      On the Victoria route, the CITY OF SEATTLE left Tacoma daily except Sunday at 8:00 A.M. On 17 Jan 1891, the Union Pacific steamer OLYMPIAN pulled out of Tacoma at the same time. It was evident to observers along the waterfront that there was going to be a test of speed. As the two vessels headed into the bay, the capt of the OLYMPIAN sounded his whistle, as a challenge. Capt Nichols responded, and at the same time rang the engine room bells for full speed. The CITY OF SEATTLE immediately shot ahead, in a burst of power that surprised everyone. By the time she passed Brown's Point, she was already more than a hundred yards ahead. This was a great surprise to waterfront observers, for the OLYMPIAN was thought to be capable of something like 18 knots an hour. No one had expected the CITY OF SEATTLE to make such a show of her.
      The CITY OF SEATTLE, both ship, and municipality, became part of the exciting new era in 1897, the era of gold discovery in Alaska. On 17 July, of that year, the steamship PORTLAND pulled into Elliott Bay, on a routine trip from the Northland. When she reached her pier, at 7:15 AM, it was revealed that boxes around her safe contained more than a ton of gold; and the value of this yellow dust was $700,000.
       Of the 68 passengers on board, not one carried less than $5,000 in gold dust. Dressed in ragged wool or canvas work clothes, these men came down the gangplank, carrying blanket rolls, brown grips, and black chests. Two men struggled off the ship, bearing between them, a sagging weight in a blanket. Richard Blake, of Dungeness, had a buckskin bag of nuggets. So did Jack Horn, a prizefighter from Tacoma, Harry Anderson, of Seattle, had sold a half interest in his claim on El Dorado Creek for $45,000, and the cash was in the safe on board.
      In twos and threes, the worn and weather-beaten men walked up the dock, into the streets of Seattle, streets soon to be packed with people and mountains of freight; as ship after the ship sailed for Alaska, in one of the greatest gold stampedes of all time.
      At the beginning of the Klondyke rush, in August 1897, the CITY OF SEATTLE was taken over by the newly formed Washington and Alaska Steamship Co. She was advertised as the fastest, finest, and most comfortable ship running to Alaska, and the only one able to make the trip to Dyea and Skagway in 70 hours.
      Capable of carrying 500 passengers, the CITY OF SEATTLE was a steel hulled vessel 246.6' x 40' x 15'. Her cabins were finished in cherry; the dining room was in the upper deck, over the stern, enabling passengers to enjoy the scenery while dining. Her engine was the double cylinder type, the low-pressure cylinder 64 inches in diameter, and the high pressure 32 inches in diameter. Her two boilers were 13' in diameter and 14' long.

She was called the 
"Alaska Lightning Express Steamer."
Two views of her grounding on  15 Aug. 1912.
Near Ketchikan, AK.

Original photos from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

      After long service on the Alaska run, the CITY OF SEATTLE was returned to the Atlantic Coast in 1921. There she was placed in service between Jacksonville, Florida, and Havanna, Cuba by C. L. Dimmmon and Co.
      In 1937, the CITY OF SEATTLE returned to Philadelphia, back to her birthing place to be scrapped.
Above text: The Steamboat Landing on Elliott Bay. Carey, Roland. Seattle, WA. 1962.
1904: The CITY OF SEATTLE struck a rock near Eagle Harbor, sustaining damage of $9,000. 
Aground on Trial Island, BC.
Sept. 1906. 
Click image to enlarge.
Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

1914: Completely remodeled and refurnished this year at Seattle Construction & Drydock Co. The cost was more than $100,000. New boilers, new cargo-handling equipment & replacement of wooden upperworks from main to upper decks with steel.

Some of her known officers and crew:

Capt. Melville Nichols brought the CITY OF SEATTLE around the horn to Seattle.
Capt. T.H. Cann, his first command was in 1903 on the CITY OF SEATTLE
Capt. Thomas Johnson. Served the steamer in 1914.
Capt. W. J. Rickards (d. April 1931)
Capt. Charles H. White (d. 1953.)
Chief Engineer Frank Tovey (1865-1942) in command for the gold rush service to AK.
Chief Engineer E. B. Stone
Chief Engineer Robert Turner
Chief Engineer C.B. Harlan
First Officer H. J. Allen 
First Officer Charles E. Ames
Second Officer F. A. Woodman
Purser H.D. Johnson

03 August 2018

❖ Captain Tarte Remembers ❖ 1930

Capt. Tarte's last paying work was on DANIEL KERN (r)
PEERLESS, LEWIS II, dated on verso 1914.
DANIEL KERN (ex-MANZANITA) was built in 1879,
in Norfolk, Virginia as a US Lighthouse tender.
She came to the Pacific Coast in 1885.
1905 she was rebuilt for towing rock barges to
the Columbia River jetty.
1918 she was bought by WA. Tug & Barge.
She had a compound (16,34 x 24) compound engine
with steam @ 100 pounds pressure from a single-ended
Scotch boiler, developing 300 HP.
Bellingham Tug & Barge of B.L. Jones purchased the
steam tug in 1924. She was burned for scrap at
Richmond Beach, WA. in 1939. 
"... he remembers Bellingham when it almost wasn’t. He watched our Sound cities grow from forests to forests of houses and skyscrapers. He has seen the baker’s dozen of folks who were here in the middle of the nineteenth century grow into hundreds of thousands of people.
      He says to all the goers and comers on the Sound, Bellingham is known as the livest town in the NorthwestIts incomparable Harbor is large enough for the whole fleet with a holding ground not to be excelled, and secure from winds except along its northern rim. Bellingham leads in business progressiveness, in resources. He says that just as fish and timber have boomed us hitherto, are still enriching us, so will minerals and oil boom and enrich us steadily down the decades.
      The first money little Jim Tarte earned in America he got peeling bark off trees, selling it. The last money outside his little estate out on Lake Whatcom was earned as mate on the DANIEL KERN last summer towing logs from Clallam Bay. He pays a high compliment to the captain of the tug.
      “Why that young fellow, Davis, who is captain of the KERN, is only 29 years old, but he knows more about his job than many an old pilot. He is one of the most proficient masters I ever saw. They tell me he is studying for his deepwater license. He’ll get it. He’s a live one.”
      “But for that matter, the company for which he works is one of the livest concerns I ever knew. It started from scratch and in just a few years has built up the finest little fleet of big tugs on the Pacific. How they keep those boats so ship-shape I don’t know. The DANIEL KERN and all of them look as if they were just down from the dock all the time. It’s marvelous how it is done. Neat as a pin. Well managed company.” 
      My captain has shipped on some thirty-six boats during these sixty-five years, with seven dollars as his only bill of damage in the whole time. From deckhand, fireman, flunkey, he has risen to become mate, purser, pilot, master, captain, skipper of ships of unlimited tonnage. He has watched boats and me come and go until at last there are but a handful of the old salts whom he remembers from the old days.
Captain Charlie Basford,
fondly remembered by Capt. Tarte,
the first patrol vessel built for the service
of the WA. State Dept of Fisheries.
(Later in her life she became a trap tender.)
"Capt. B," a highly regarded captain in the PNW,
landed as an orphan in the 1800s on Shaw Island to
live with the old whaling ship captain, C.C. Reed
and his wife on Blind Bay.

Photo courtesy of the Bruns/Stillman family. 
One of these is Capt Charlie Basford, who used to run the BUCKEYE in the islands. Cap’n Basford began his sea life as a deckhand on the DESPATCH. He learned the island waters and their ways as few have known them, and never had an accident. My hero calls him one of the finest men, finest masters who ever ran a boat.
      My captain says what he would like to get into. A rowboat and traverse every mile of the routes he has taken in all of his boats. He would like to take that first fifty-mile row from Victoria to here (Bellingham) via Shaw Island. Would like to repeat that hazardous journey across the storm-swept Strait of Juan de Fuca and would like to follow every line of every route he has ever rowed, sailed, steamed, on these waters he loves tremendously.
      I think I have never spent more delightful sessions with anybody than these long evenings I have sat in Capt Tarte’s living room listening to him spin yarns. I am sorry they have ended. If there have been any mistakes in names or dates, blame my notes, and the speed with which I had to take them down. Capt Tarte’s memory is remarkable, his desire for accuracy is great."

Above text from Puget Soundings. Author, former homesteader in San Juan County, WA., June Burn. May 1930. There are approximately one dozen other essays by June Burn on Saltwater People Log, reached by searching her name.

Captain Jim Tarte and his tug BRICK can be seen on this Log HERE

30 July 2018

❖ The 1870s with STERNWHEELERS on the SOUND ❖

100' sternwheel steamer ZEPHYR (R)

Built in 1871 by J.F.T. Mitchell & M.M. Robbins.
First master, Capt. Thomas A. Wright, until 1875.
Charles H. Low, the first mate.
The next master was Capt. N.L. Rogers.
Out of service in 1907. 

Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Hist. Society©
During the Seventies on Puget Sound, the era of sternwheelers had its beginning. This was the decade in which settlers staked their claim on some of the most remote reaches of the  Sound. The islands capable of supporting population became populated. A new type of steamer was needed to enter the rivers, bays, and inlets, where deeper draft vessels of the outer Sound could not go.
      In 1871, the flat-bottomed sternwheeler ZEPHYR was built at Seattle for Captain Tom Wright and his father-in-law, Capt. James R. Robbins. The ZEPHYR was comparable to the old sternwheeler ENTERPRISE that Capt. Wright had operated successfully on the Fraser River, during the memorable days of the 1858 gold rush. Some scoffers predicted that the ZEPHYR would never pay her way on Puget Sound, but she immediately proved to be a profitable investment.
      Commanded by Capt. Wright, the ZEPHYR made two trips a week between Seattle, Mukilteo, Tulalip, and Snohomish City. Since the CHEHALIS ran to the Snohomish River on weekends, both trips of the ZEPHYR were scheduled for the other five days.
      The pioneer spirit was strong in Capt. Tom Wright, however, and he seldom was satisfied on any route after it was well established. On 22 March 1873, he and James Robbins joined James S. Lawson, R. G. O'Brien, S.W. Percival, B.B. Tuttle, C.H. Rothchild, T.S. Russell, and John Lathan, to form the Merchants' Transportation Co. The organization had a capitalization of $100,000 divided into 1,000 shares, and the steamer ZEPHYR became an asset of the company, their first steamboat. For years, thereafter, she ran between Seattle, Tacoma, Steilacoom, and Olympia, and way-stops en route, but continued to make weekly trips to Snohomish, as well.
      During the early years of settlement on Vashon Island, the people relied upon oars and sails for transportation. The ZEPHYR and the MESSENGER, on their regular trips through the East Pass, rounded Point Robinson every day, however, so some settlers on Maury Island cut a trail to the point. Capt. W. R. Ballard of the ZEPHYR, and Capt. Parker, of the MESSENGER, then agreed to pick up passengers from a rowboat. They would stop,  provided that a flag had been raised on the beach, as a signal. This system required the cooperation of several persons. The passenger had to have someone accompany him out, to row the boat back, and take the flag down. Before a passenger could get off the steamer, moreover, someone had to be there with a boat to meet him. On foggy mornings, there were a few problems involved in this arrangement.
Above notes from The Steamboat Landing on Elliott Bay and The Sound and the Mountain. Carey,  Roland.Seattle, WA. Alderbrook Publishing Co. 1970

Steamer ZEPHYR was a Sound Pioneer
A few years later in the life of this sternwheeler...
Unidentified, undated newspaper clipping from the scrapbook of the well-known 
Wm. C. Thornily,
103 G. T. P. Dock, Seattle.

"Tied up at the Tacoma Mill Co. dock, beginning in 1887, or puffing laboriously on the bay with a tow of rafts of logs or scows of lumber the sternwheel steam tug ZEPHYR may be seen every day. She is not a pretty craft to look upon. Her sides and upper works are painted a barn-red color, and here and there on her hull are scratches or gouges, the result of numerous jams into logs. Her task is a homely one, yet she does it well, and there is but little question but that she has towed more logs than any steamer on all this inland sea.
      But there are those who remember the ZEPHYR in her palmy days, when, painted a pure white, her decks filled with gaily dressed people, a silken flag waving from her foremast, a band of music waking the echoes of the dense forests that fringed either side of Puget Sound, her sharp bows cutting the blue waters and ending up a feather pillow on either side, and the wake from her wheel leaving a fluted ribbon of rainbow color, who was plying as a packet between Seattle and Olympia by way of Tacoma. That was before the days of the railroads. It was during the days when steamboating on the Sound was like steamboating on the Mississippi before the war. To be exact, it was the early seventies. In those years the steamboat was the only method of communication between the different settlements and towns.
      The ZEPHYR used to leave Seattle one day and return the next. She was called a fast boat and she must have been, but it took her just twice the time to make the trip that it takes the ordinary steamer of today. But there were plenty of excuses. At Al-Ki Point, at Des Moines, at Stone's Landing, in fact at any and every place where there was a cabin and where there was a floating landing, no matter how crude, the old boat poked her nose in and stopped. After reaching Tacoma she must stop at Steilacoom and at McNeils, at Anderson and other islands and if when dark settled down she was pulling in at the wharf in the capital city, she had done a good day's run.
      Capt. Parker, who is now master of one of the fine boats of the Sound, and a man of wide experience, was then a boy in his teens and it was on the ZEPHYR that he was first commissioned, mate. The master of the steamer was Capt. Ballard, who has since had fortune thrust upon him by being the owner of the site of the present prosperous city of Ballard. It is said that the captain did not want the land but in some settlement, the outcome of legal proceedings, it was forced upon him.
      Captain Ballard was very proud of his position as master for 9 years and the sole owner beginning in 1883;  if he knew little of seamanship, he at least allowed no one to tell him of it. His orders were a mixture of land and sea lingo––enough so to be still quoted in many steamer cabins. For instance in pulling in to the wharf at what is now Tacoma, and was then called New Tacoma, one day, he yelled to a deckhand:
       "Hey, you, haul in that hind line, tight."
      Another time when the ZEPHYR had stopped in at Steilacoom to pick up a consignment and was about to depart the captain called to the wharf master;
      "Throw that rope off the post, will you!" and the boat crew laughed.
      Once he was making a landing at Al-Ki Point and the mate was steering. The captain was standing on the lower deck near the engine room door. He thought the ZEPHYR was going to hit a rock and yelled at the engineer;
      "Run her backward, hard and fast."
      The engineer reversed his engine all right, but he committed the unpardonable sin of laughing, and there was a vacancy in his department.
      Nothing cut the captain quite so much as to have people call his boat slow, but when from 12 to 16 hours were occupied in the trip from Seattle to Olympia passengers certainly had some cause for making remarks, and according to the best records at hand, they did so at times.
      Shaffer, the brewery man, had an order from a certain customer at Tacoma, for some aged beer. When he put the keg aboard the ZEPHYR, he said to the captain;
      "Captain, Mr. Blank's order reads for aged beer, if you will you may explain to him that beer sent by the ZEPHYR is always thoroughly aged before it reaches Tacoma."
      One of the first state school superintendents elected was on his way to Olympia one day when the boat was particularly slow. Calling the captain to one side he gravely remarked: "Captain I shall, upon my arrival at Olympia, ask that a law be passed forbidding any person under the age of 21 going on the ZEPHYR."
      "Why, why?" asked the surprised captain.
      "Because, here an individual may grow from infancy to manhood in one trip, and yet with the utmost indifference you have provided no school advantages whatever."
      And, yet, after all, the ZEPHYR was not a slow boat. There was no other way of getting freight into the various settlements except by boat, and she had to stop wherever there was freight. Watch her now, as unhampered by a tow, she steams across the bay, and you will see she is making time that would be a credit to many of the passenger boats of today."

E. W. Wright in Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, claims the ZEPHYR was the first sternwheeler in the Pacific Northwest.
      The highly regarded popular Seattle sailmaker and rigger, George Broom (1870-1935), born in Norfolk, England, came across the Atlantic from Antwerp to New York on the Red Star Liner ZEELANDIER. Across the USA he rode the Northern Pacific Railroad to Tacoma. On 24 October 1886, he arrived in Seattle in class, on the sternwheel steamer ZEPHYR and lived happily for forty-nine years. 

19 July 2018


Day 83 of One Hundred Days in the San Juans.
One hundred articles were written by June Burn on contract with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1946.
      June's articles also appeared in what is now an out of print book One Hundred Days in the San Juans. Edited by San Juan Islanders, Theresa Morrow, and Nancy Prindle; Long House Printcrafters & Publishers, Friday Harbor, WA. 1983.
      The text below is verbatim for June and Farrar's Day 83 with vintage photographs from the Saltwater People collection.
The University of WA. Oceanographic Laboratories,
as it was called in August 1931,
the date of this photograph.

Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
Photographer unknown.
"As you cruise into the bay of Friday Harbor from the north, just as you go around that last point, look to the right of you. Along that north shore, you will see many low buildings with tile roofs. They are the laboratories of one of the world’s few and famous oceanographic stations.
      These laboratories have had a long and honorable history. 

The laboratories at Friday Harbor had their 
beginning in this "camp" photo c. 1905.
Students and teachers lived in tents.
Classes met in a rented cottage.
A 4-acre site was later donated by Andrew Newhall.
Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Log©
More than a generation ago, Professor Kincaid, at the University of Washington, thought it would be useful to study marine life; somehow wangled that old, ugly, yellowed-windows house on piers against the bluff south of Friday Harbor known as the Marine Station.
Early Oceanographic Laboratories, c. 1905, when
c. 15 students with Prof Kincaid and botanist T.C. Frye
camped among the fir and madronas near
Friday Harbor, San Juan County, WA.

Original photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Log©
      To this, in delightful hardship and fun, students first came, began to study the living animals of sea and shore. It was called the ‘bug station’ and the islanders thought the students were playing at getting an education.
Long-standing Professor Trevor Kincaid
of the University of Washington.

Collecting specimens along the shore 
near Friday Harbor, San Juan Island.
Low res scan of an undated vintage photo from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Photographer unknown.

Professor Trevor Kincaid
Photo dated 1948.
Here he holds the old oyster shells or culch,
strung on wires to be hung in the water where
oyster larvae become attached to them. The
shells carrying the 'seed,' are scattered in oyster
beds to plant the new crop. In 1947
56,000 cases of seed were imported from Japan
and planted in Anacortes, Seattle, and Willapa Bay.

Photograph from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Gradually, though, the work of those students began to tell. (Witness the development of the Kincaid oyster industry itself, big and important, but promising far more for the future.) A knowledge that intangible but terribly potent good! —was increased. The bug station grew.
      Later, the UW bought 400 acres on the north shore of the bay, set up a larger plant known as the Biological Station, of which Dr. T.C. Frye became the director. There were tents in the woods and a big dining-living room to which, in its largest year, nearly 200 students, professors, and their families came from the world around.
      At the Biological Station undergraduates as well as graduate students could study the chemistry, physics, zoology, and botany and ecology of the sea. They could also study land botany and ornithology. Many thousands did. The old laboratories were in tents.
      Then, 15 years ago, I think it was, this marine station took still another form. The Rockefeller Foundation wanted to give our University some money. Had we need for some specific new important project?
      The young chemistry professor of the old biological station thought we certainly had that need. It was time the scientists knew more about the sea, mother of all living things. Instead of a station where only plants an animals of the sea were studied, why not set up laboratories where the sea itself might also be explored? That was Dr. Tommy Thompson who was thereupon made the director of the project.
      What would it take to do this ambitious thing?
      Tommy had the answer ready. It would take new laboratories. The rest of the plant was all that was needed. Dr. Frye had already built that big main building to house library, kitchen, showers, reading-dining-living room. He had begun to set up new and more complete labs, too.
Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories
Photo date 17 Sept 1940.

Click image to enlarge.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Photographer unknown.
      We already had the old boat, the MEDEA, to take students out over the Archipelago for new material. This whole area had already been set aside for the University’s use as far as gathering specimens.
      The main new need was for a floating laboratory—a ship in which students could actually go out to sea studying currents, temperatures, saltiness, heaviness, light, radioactivity, and many other properties of the ocean itself from California to Alaska.
      Thus it was that we got our ship The CATALYST in which, until the war, students traveled near and far, learning things about the sea that you can't call commercially useful, learning other things––such as fish diseases and their causes, why water here or there is warmer than elsewhere and what effect it has on the fishing and what to do about it––which are so useful that we now wonder how we ever got along without knowing them.
      Now that we had our ocean labs; the botany lab where kelp, seaweeds of all kinds are studied; the zoology lab where animals and parasites are studied; the physics lab where light penetration, heavy water, radioactivity, etc, are studied; the chemistry lab where salinity and all the complex chemistry of our mother blood is studied––and so on through seven laboratories.
      Now we had our ship in which students went over the sea learning the most important things there are to learn, About 100 graduate students a year came from all over the world to study here. Great scientists came. Our Archipelago became world-famed.
      But everything stopped during the war. The labs were taken over by the Coast Guard. The ship was sold. That fine ship so delicately and fully outfitted for scientific exploration was sold! It seemed incredible that one of the most significant units of the University should be thus casually disposed of.
      Down on the campus, too, the parent Ocean Lab, dedicated by Milliken in 1931, was turned over to the Navy––or maybe it was just taken by the Navy––for its work. Nobody minded at the time.
      But now that the war is over, people are saying again that the ocean work should get underway. We must get a new and better ship. The labs must start to work again.
      Dr. Thompson, on McConnell this summer instead of at the laboratories, reassures us. Of course, he says, they will get underway again. It takes a little time. 
      Come next summer, it won't be archaeologists borrowing part of the plant to live in while they dig. It will be chemists again and physicists, zoologists, pathologists, bacteriologists, botanists, ecologists with their seven laboratories, their two ships––one to stay in inland waters and the other to roam further afield––and their hundred young students delving into ocean lore, digging for the most important knowledge in the world! See you tomorrow. June."
Another Saltwater People post with founding information can be seen HERE

16 July 2018


Click to enlarge.
Accessed from
Friday the 13th was in the past by one day but Saturday night caught this mariner who missed the entrance to Blakely Island Marina.

Near the approach to the Blakely Island Marina
A hard landing.
Two photos by Blakely Islander,
Lance Douglas.
14 July 2018.
For Saltwater People Historical Society.

10 July 2018

❖ Commercial Crabbing is Definitely Open in Marine Area 7-South❖

Along Blakely shore.
Staging for a Dungeness Crab Opening at Noon,
this day of 10 July 2018.
There were 10 boats in view dumping pots from Olga to
Lopez and up into Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA.
These four photos are from the roving camera of
Lance Douglas, Blakely Island, WA.
Click to enlarge.
Rosario in the background as the vessel prepares to
launch the crab fishing season at noon today,
Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA.

Marine Area 7-South.
Standing by for the noon bell.
Photos by Lance Douglas, Blakely Island, San Juan County.
Click to enlarge.

General History
The Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) is one of the most popular items on Washington
seafood menus. Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) is found in commercial quantities from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to central California. The long-term average annual landing from Alaska to California through 1987 was 37.5 million pounds (Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission 1987). 
      Dungeness crab got its common name from a small fishing village (Dungeness) on the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington where the first commercial fishing was done for this species. The Dungeness crab fishery is said to be the oldest known shellfish fishery of the North Pacific coast. A small fishery on the West Coast began in 1848 and grew through the late 1800s. It is the only commercially important crab within Washington's territorial waters.
      Management of the Dungeness crab fishery within Washington State changed substantially in 1995. That year the 9th Circuit Court, in an order known as the Rafeedie Decision, made its decision regarding Steven's Treaties signed between the State of Washington and certain Tribes in the territory back in the 1850s. The federal court required that the harvestable surplus of shellfish in Washington be allocated equally (50/50) between the Treaty Tribes and State fisheries. The harvestable surplus, in this case, refers to hard-shell male crab, which measures 6¼ inches, or more in shell width. Since 1995 the State was required to implement and abide by the provisions of the federal court order.
From the WA State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
10 July 2018.

Click image to enlarge.
Puget Sound Fishery

Most of the Puget Sound fishery for Dungeness crabs occurs from Everett northward, with the bulk of the harvest in the Blaine/Point Roberts area. Other specific areas that produce large commercial quantities of crab include Bellingham, Samish, Padilla, Skagit, and Dungeness Bays, Port Gardner, and Port Susan. Puget Sound crabbers typically use smaller boats and lighter pots than do crabbers on the open coast.
      The state commercial fishery increased from 89 vessels participating in 1972 to more than 400 in 1979. To keep the fishery economically viable for those participating, the legislature limited the state commercial crab fishery in Puget Sound to 250 licenses in 1980 (each license is allowed to use 100 crab pots). No new licenses have been issued since 1980, and in 2002 the state commercial fishery was comprised of 181 crab fishers holding the 250 licenses.
      Preseason estimates of crab abundance had not been made due to difficulty and cost. Until 2002, most regions within Puget Sound were managed without pre-season quotas. Most regions within Puget Sound are now managed with a pre-season quota that is based on past harvest amounts. There are provisions for adjustment if early season landings indicate an adjustment is warranted.
      Annual landings for the state commercial fishery in Puget Sound from 1984 through 1993 averaged 1.8 million pounds. Annual landings for the state commercial fishery in Puget Sound from 1993 through 2001 averaged 2.3 million pounds.

Above text (only) from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

25 June 2018


Henry Cayou
Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, WA.
A low res scan of an original gift from 

long time mariner, Cliff Thompson.
Thanks, Cliff.

Photographer unknown.
Click image to enlarge.
"The sun-leathered old fisherman pointed across the graveyard-calm waters of Lopez Island in the San Juans with a nut-brown hand as twisted as a piece of driftwood.
      The 84-year old French-Indian fisherman had been pulling salmon from these waters since 1878. Other veteran commercial fishermen who remember will tell you that 'Old Henry' can figure a salmon like no other man alive.
      The last of the pioneer breed of fishermen, Cayou has caught more than 5,000,000 salmon in his time. 
      'There isn't a fisherman alive who has caught as many fish as Cayou,' says Robert Schoettler, State Fisheries Director.
      'The way to catch fish is to figure out which current the salmon are working on. If you can do that, the rest is easy,' says Cayou.
      The genius of this wiry, muscular octogenarian for knowing which underwater highways the salmon travel has earned him more than $100,000,000 in his career. In 1928, his best year, he cleared more than $100,000 in a season of fishing. 
      'I don't know how much I've made altogether. Might be close to $2,000,000 if I figured it up.'
      As the salmon return to the spawning grounds with unerring instinct, so has Cayou. The name is French and means 'Well-rounded, worn pebble going downstream.' We returned to the place where he began fishing at the age of nine, at Flat Point on Lopez Island.
      He straddled a log on the beach watching his four-man reefnet crew work in the water a few yards away. Up the bay, purse seiners were strung out on the shimmering water like a string of white pearls.
      'Lord, I've seen some changes in my time. All this (he pointed across the uninhabited flatland) was an Indian fishing village. Out in that channel, the salmon used to run so thick you could walk across the water on their backs..."
      Cayou's father, Louis, he said, was a French hunter-trapper out of Kentucky. He hit this country in 1859 in the wake of the big gold rush in the Caribou, BC. By trade, Cayou Senior was a 'bull-puncher,' who dragged logs out of the forest with oxen. 
      'He was too late for the gold, so the Hudson's Bay Co boss at Victoria hired Dad and another fellow named Bradshaw to go into the San Juans and hunt deer to feed the crews.' Cayou said. 'They built a bark shack at Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. Later on, they branched out and went into the shingle business for the Hudson's Bay people.'
      At Deer Harbor, Louis Cayou met a supple Indian lass of fourteen and with the blessing of the chief of the friendly San Juan tribe, married her. Henry was the first child of this union, 4 August 1869, and was followed by six sisters and four brothers.[family records list his birth year as 1868.]
      Young Cayou virtually was born to fishing. His Uncle Pe Ell was the chief fisherman of the San Juan tribe and when Henry was nine years old, Pe Ell made him a full-time fisherman.
       In those days the San Juans were the chief fishing grounds, for the Indians of Western Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska with even the Bella Coolas coming down in their colorful 50-foot-long, 12-foot-wide red cedar canoe powered by 15 oarsmen.
      'Those were happy times, Cayou remembered. We were all friendly and when fishing was good at one tribe's spot, they invited the rest of us to fish it, too. If we knew where the fish were, we never kept it a secret like today.'
      The coming of the white man to Puget Sound produced a minor peaceful revolution among Indian fishermen. For centuries they and their ancestors had caught salmon to supply their immediate wants but now they found that the white man would pay him money for the salmon. We hauled 40,000 to 50,000 fish in one boat. Often we got two cents a fish. A price of six or seven cents was good.'
      From his mother's relatives, young Henry rapidly learned their ancient fishing secrets. Patience was the Indian fisherman's touchstone. He could sit silently for hours and never move until the fish swam into his nets.
      'The salmon is a smart critter, you make the slightest movement from the reefnets and a whole run of salmon will shift direction and get away from the nets in a flash.'
      From the first, Henry Cayou (who later served 27 years as a San Juan County Commissioner) demonstrated his qualities of leadership. When he was still in his teens, he signed a contract with Alaska Packers to supply salmon to their Point Roberts and Blaine canneries at six cents per head, an excellent price. He quickly prospered.
      Cayou was a pioneer in fish traps, a development that profoundly influenced salmon fishing before they were outlawed in WA and OR. 'In 1858, a fellow named Fredenberg came up from the Columbia and he drove the first trap in Puget Sound off Eagle Point.'
      In the industry, Cayou is recognized as the all-time master among fish trap setters.
      'As a kid, I learned from my Uncle Pe Ell how the salmon ran the currents and how they used the shoreline as a guide. I guess I had the knack for setting a trap just right in the currents so they would pay out.' 
      The old fisherman's uncanny ability for setting his traps right enabled him to make a modest fortune salvaging fishing sites that had been abandoned as 'worthless.'
      'Henry had a genius for smelling out the fish,' Duncan McMillin of Pacific American Fisheries once said.
      McMillin should know. Once he gave Henry the Mulligan trap off Point Roberts and told him he wouldn't catch a fish.' Cayou moved the trap around, fished it three years and netted $14,000 a year from it. Then he sold it to H.A. 'Bob' Welsh of the Bellingham Canning Co for $30,000. 
      "I've made an abandoned trap pay out many times.' It's just a knack I had. Some fellows can figure horses or ball players. I can figure fish.'
      Cayou always remained an independent operator, never hooking up with one of the big companies. The fish pirates who used to raid the big outfits' traps never touched me. They knew I was small and left me alone.
      Like other pioneer operators, Cayou made it and lost it. 'Henry was great with the fish but he never had much of a head for money, an old cronie remembered. 'He dropped $67,000 in a cannery enterprise at Deer Harbor when a fish run failed and he had to make good on payroll contracts. Later he lost ''another pile' at Dungeness when a storm shook loose a big boom of logs and smashed his traps.
      But Henry Cayou is not the kind of man who regrets. 'I've been pretty lucky. Plenty of times I've been knocked into the water and have been just glad enough to get out with a whole skin.'
      When Washington State abolished fish traps in 1934, Cayou moved to the Columbia, working out of St. Helens, OR. But the dams and civilization (and the traps themselves, he admits) had depleted the run and it wasn't like the old days when a man could catch 10,000 to 12,000 fish a day.
      After Oregon outlawed the traps a few years ago, Cayou returned to Lopez Island to spend the late fall of his life fishing the place of his boyhood. 'Commercial fishing isn't a business or a sport, it's a gamble. You have to outguess the fish to make it.'
Text by Joe Miller. Published by the Seattle Times November 1953.
1905: Reportedly built for Henry Cayou, a fish tender, SALMONERO (201957) also known as "Sammy." She was 54.4' x 11.3' x 4.3' with 75 HP. Built at Tacoma. She was still documented in 1935. Source; Robin Paterson, Gig Hbr.

A donation from 
maritime historian J.R. Paterson
1907, 23 Nov: County Commissioner Henry Cayou was over to Friday Harbor in his fine new launch SKIDDOO built by Wm. H.F. Reed at Decatur. 32' x 8', 16 HP Frisco-Standard engine which will drive her at nearly 10 mph.
1909:  County Commissioner H.T. Cayou expects to operate five traps during the coming fishing season, he has already let contracts for four of them. One will be located near Decatur, one trap off Long Island, at the south end of Lopez, and two just inside of Deception Pass. The fifth he expects to drive near Kellet Ledge. He has contracted his season's catch to the George & Barker Co., of Blaine." S.J. Islander 12 Feb. 1909.
1995: Notes from Ernie Thompson of Deer Harbor:
"As far as I know at this time, Uncle Henry had fish traps at West Beach, Orcas Island; Salmon Banks, San Juan Island; Port Townsend, Point Roberts, Lopez Island and holdings in Alaska." Files of the S.P.H.S.

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