"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

My photo
San Juan Archipelago, 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 650, 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.

28 August 2018

WOOD BOAT SHOW UNDER SAIL.

Deer Harbor wooden boat entries,
1938 Spidsgatter PIA and salty friends,
sailing their annual race 4 Sept. 2018.
Here they can be seen with Reef Island
in the background & Neck Point on the right.

Photo courtesy of Jason Hines, SVALE, Shaw Island, SJC.
Deer Harbor Wooden Boat Society
sponsored sail race today, 4 Sept. 2018.
Yellow Island in the background.
Photo courtesy of Jason Hines, SVALE, Shaw Island, SJC.
He catches up with the fleet at Watmough Bay,
Point Colville, Lopez Island, San Juan Archipelago, WA.
before the vessels cross
the Straits of Juan de Fuca for the 42nd annual

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show   this upcoming weekend.
Happy Sails.
Deer Harbor 
Wooden Boat Rendezvous
3-5 September 2018.
Scroll down for details.

Please join us! All wooden boats are welcome: oar, power, sail, and steam. Wooden boats of all sizes attend the Rendezvous including kayaks, rowboats, motor launches, day-sailers, cruising sailboats and historic tall ships. Most boats moor at the Deer Harbor Marina and are available for public viewing at no charge. The Rendezvous is a low-key celebration of wooden boats, held in one of the most scenic harbors in the Pacific Northwest. Activities include the following:
Monday (Sept 3) 

Most boats will arrive by late afternoon. We will hold an informal potluck on the dock at about 6:30 pm.
Tuesday (Sept 4)

- Sailboat race starting at noon on Tuesday (instructions below). Please attend the skippers meeting at 9 am on the dock!
- Paddle/row race, starting at 4 pm 

- Dinner and music! The Rendezvous Dinner this year will be simpler, more affordable, and located on the floats at Deer Harbor Marina starting at 5:30 pm. Grilled salmon, ice cream, beer, and wine will be available at a reasonable cost. Please bring your favorite side dishes to share in a potluck. We anticipate a great time and look forward to seeing many old friends and some new ones too.
Contact the Deer Harbor Marina at (360) 376-3037 to reserve a slip for the Rendezvous.
Questions? Email us at wbs.sji@gmail.com

24 August 2018

❖ FISH TRAPS ❖


A trap on a serene day
Posted in 1925.
FISH TRAPS
"In the last few decades of the 1800s many salmon canneries were being built in a tri-county area consisting of Whatcom, San Juan, and Skagit. By 1900 we had two of the largest salmon canneries in the world. These were Pacific American Fisheries (PAF), the largest located in Fairhaven and Alaska Packers Association (APA) located in Blaine.
Pacific American Fisheries*
purchased Eliza Island, Bellingham Bay, WA, in 1899.
They built a new cannery on-site without fresh water
on the island, so from 1900 to 1930 they changed plans
and operated a shipyard to build smaller vessels
& fishing equipment. Marine ways & pile drivers in view.

From the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

P.A.F. Cannery
Fairhaven, Whatcom County, WA.
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society.

P.A.F. painting crew.
There was a job for everyone as the author writes 
in the last paragraph.
Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Alaska Packers Association
Blaine, Whatcom County, WA.
Click image to enlarge.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
A.P.A.
Point Roberts, Whatcom County, WA.
The pile driver is in view, left of center.

Click image to enlarge.
Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©



Other canneries, some of them quite large were being built in Anacortes and Friday Harbor.

Apex, Sanitary Fish, FIC
Canneries lined the waterfront
Fidalgo Island, Skagit County, WA.
Manhattan Packing, 
On the other side of the Straits in Port Angeles,
Clallam County, WA.
Litho photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      In order to supply these canneries a large number of salmon needed to be caught. The salmon certainly were available in large numbers. The solution was the use of salmon traps, commonly known as fish traps. Most of the traps were owned by the canneries, but there were a few independent owners. The traps were very efficient; the salmon in most cases came into the traps in large numbers. All the canneries had to do was take the fish out of the traps and into the cannery to be processed. The traps did, however, need a lot of material and equipment to put them in and take them out.
Trap fishers at work
Click image to enlarge

      The traps consisted of four parts: the lead, heart, pot, and the spiller. The lead was a line of piles driven about ten to fifteen feet apart in a straight line across the tidal stream that carried the salmon. On this line of piling, wire was attached from high water to the bottom. These leads were designed to lead salmon into deeper water and into the heart. By law, they were limited to 2,500 feet in length. The heart was web hung on piling and led the salmon to a funnel-shaped tunnel about ten feet on the outside, to a much smaller one on the inside.
      This tunnel led into the pot where the salmon couldn’t find their way out. The pot was a huge bag hung on pilings about forty feet by forty feet and deep enough to hold up to 70,000 salmon. It was made out of heavy duty cotton web heavily tarred. By law, the pot could not be over 65’ at low water. From the pot the salmon were turned into the spiller, a bag much like the pot but smaller. It had a large apron style brailer that was used to roll the salmon onto scows. The power for this brailer came from the trap tender. The men it took to brail the salmon usually came with tender or sometimes they stayed on the beach in shacks. Eight to ten men were needed. The trap tenders were more like tugs and usually had small fish holds because most of the fish went into scows for transport to the canneries.
Returning with a scow of salmon
with calm water and a big crew.
Click image to enlarge.
Low res scan from an original photo
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      The equipment used to install the traps in the spring and take them out in the fall was extensive and expensive. They needed pile drivers, pile pullers, rigging, scows, web yards, sheds, and of course, tugboats and scows. The pile drivers used were usually with 80’ gins and three-ton drop hammers. They were all steam powered. The high gins were needed because many of the piles they drove were very long. To drive in 65 feet you need a pile sometimes 100’ depending on penetration. Many of the pile drivers had sleeping and eating accommodations aboard, all the comforts of home along with bedbugs and other cooties.
      Once the pilings were in, the rigging scow took over to hang the wire and web. The pile pullers were only needed in the fall to extract all the piles driven and to store them. Many were stored along the outside beaches at San Juan Park, at Jakle’s Lagoon and also in Mitchell Bay. They were still there two decades after 1934. Friday Harbor Packing Co had a web house and a web yard on what is now called Web St. Here they tossed the web and built parts they needed to build the traps and to store them during the offseason.
"Fish traps on the west side of San Juan Island"
San Juan Archipelago, WA.
As inscribed verso.
Photographer unknown.
Photo from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      The most important thing to have a successful salmon trap was its location. They needed to be placed where large numbers of salmon passed by and where it was possible to build the traps. They needed shallow water shorelines that dropped off gradually. Shorelines that dropped sharply in water 65’ were out of the question. It so happened that the Salmon Bank at the southeast end of San Juan Island was ideal. The bank runs one and one-half nautical miles south to a navigational buoy, from there it curves back towards shore, but at the same time continues westward to Eagle Point.
      Friday Harbor Packing had traps in this area along with the giants mentioned earlier, PAF and APA and others as well. There was a trap west of Eagle Point at False Bay. This trap belonged to independent operator Henry Cayou. This trap was a big producer of King salmon. Henry had a Salish mother and had that I ate understanding of the characteristics and movement of salmon. This made him a great fisherman. He was also a wise businessman and an all-around fine gentleman. He had other traps in other locations as well.
      One further up Haro Strait at Deadman’s Bay, and another one at Mitchell Bay owned by Cayou and Haroldson. There was also a trap at Battleship Island that was put in by an Anacortes outfit, probably Lowman’s Coastal Fish Co. The tidal currents were so strong there it was very difficult to install or to keep in place. It was a big disappointment because it mostly caught Humpbacks. The canneries at that time didn’t keep this species. Next in line was a trap at John’s Island, owner unknown to this writer. There were many more traps in the area, too many to list here. The traps mentioned were typical of them all and were close to home for the people living on San Juan Is.
Watchman's shack on a fish trap.
Low res scan of an original photo, pre-1912, from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
      These were exciting times with men taking big risks to get in on the action. A few of these men who should be mentioned were the fish pirates that wanted to dip into the spiller and dip in they did. Each trap had a watchman who stayed in a little shack right on the trap in most cases. He was to watch out for predators and junk getting fouled in the tunnel. Some of the predators were very tough characters. They didn’t want to hurt anyone, they just wanted some fish. Men like Spider Jones offered bribes of money to watchmen so they would just turn their heads. Some others like “Dirty” Dick, were more threatening, as in bodily harm. Still, others had made their deals with higher-ups in the company and were expected by the watchmen. It was rumored that one of the last mentioned men went on to be a big processor himself in Alaska in later years.
The well-known Fish Tender NEREID
O.N. 209491
Her Master's Carpenter Certificate
 lists her as built by Albert Jensen, Friday Harbor,
 for himself, 14 Dec. 1911.
The same year he sold her to Friday Harbor Packing Co,
where she is moored in the undated photo.
The mariners are Earl Fowler (L) who 
was an engineer on board in 1923 along with his 
lifelong friend, George Stillman, both of pioneer 
families of Shaw Island, SJC.
John Mathisen, who emigrated from Norway,
trap fished for his first employment in this country
 and Art Hoffman both from Shaw
Island,
were captain and engineer of the NEREID in her fish 
buying days in the county.
Bottom photo courtesy of the Fowler family.
       These were exciting times alright, there were fortunes to be made and fortunes being lost. Everyone had an opportunity to have a job in a great industry. It lasted through the turn of the century, through the “Roaring Twenties” and into the first few years of the “Great Depression.” This was a period of about 45 years. The end came for the fish traps in 1934. By an act of the WA State legislature, the traps were outlawed and could no longer be used. There were several reasons for their actions, but two of them were that the State could not regulate them well enough for conservation. And the purse seiners who had become a big industry themselves complained that the traps were unfair to them because they were taking most of the fish and were a monopoly. Some of the canneries couldn’t survive the loss of the traps, but many others had good fleets of fishing boats and were able to go on."
Above text by John Wade. 4 November 2010.
The Fishermen and the Fisheries of the San Juan Islands with Terry Jackson and Wally Botsford.
The 20 images paired with the text are from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society.
* More in-depth history of Pacific American Fisheries can be seen on this State Archives site. Scroll down to "History Note."



16 August 2018

❖ Early Fishing Harbor of 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


S.S. CITY OF SEATTLE
126635
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.
The CITY OF SEATTLE
and FLEETWOOD (R)
pre-1905.
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.
CITY OF SEATTLE
126635

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. 
1906: 
CITY OF SEATTLE
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)
To the left: RICHARD HOLYOKE, PROSPER, PURITAN,
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,
is aboard the GOVERNOR ELISHA P. FERRY,
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

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