"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 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.

14 June 2019

🇺🇸 FLAG DAY 🇺🇸

The Shaw Island Historical Museum©
celebrating history inside and out,
the curators fly the Betsy Ross flag
in the woods of little Shaw Island, WA.

when this photo was taken in 1995. 
While the Fourth of July and Memorial Day may receive almost all the glory, one particular holiday remains consistently overlooked yet universally beloved: Flag Day.
      Celebrated annually on June 14th, and officially established as a national day of recognition by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, the day commemorates the official adoption of the American flag on 14 June 1777, by a resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress. (The US Army celebrates the Army's birthday on this day as well.)
      Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Scouts, 4-H groups, and numerous other patriotic communities around the country make use of the day to educate interested individuals on the history of the flag and traditions surrounding it.
Flag Day Kicks Off
      On the third Saturday of June in 1894, the first Flag Day celebration hosted by public schools was held in Lincoln, Humboldt, Douglas, Garfield, and Washington Parks with over 300,000 children in attendance. The next several decades would see 36 governors, hundreds of mayors of both big cities and small towns, and no less than five presidents send delegates and official statements to these events sanctioning the celebration and commemoration of an official Flag Day.
      National Flag Day is, of course, celebrated and recognized all over the country, in schools, on television, and on the radio. There are musical salutes and air flyovers from the Armed Forces and other branches of the military. 
      During the week of Flag Day, the sitting president will make an official statement asking Americans to fly their flags publicly; all government buildings must do so as well. Many organizations such as the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, all host their own events and parades as well. 
Source: American Flags.com
The Betsy Ross House,
home of legendary Betsy Ross has been the
site of Philadelphia's observance of Flag Day.

1909 or 1910: Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or '10, little Fairfield has had a parade every year since with the possible exception of 1918.
      And because this is a maritime history site let us splash some saltwater on the page:

The state ship of Washington
flying a flag bigger than she and firing her
3-pound cannon in May 1992,
in Gray's Harbor, WA.
Original photo by Steve Ringman from the
archives of the Saltwater People Log©

13 June 2019


All aboard the TANANA.
Photo dated 20 May 1966
Gillnet boats were thick on the deck of the TANANA
as the Alaska Steamship Co freighter 
prepared to sail for Bristol Bay.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
The ship carried 33 of the salmon-fishing boats, the first troup of 118 that left Seattle on three Alaska Line ships within a week. Most of the boats were built by the Commercial Marine Construction Co., and the Wies Boat Shop & Marina, Seattle; the Morse Boat Works, Everett, and Ron Rawson, Redmond, WA.

08 June 2019


Waiting out the tide before
sailing away,
but surrounded by a nice view of Buck Bay,
Eastsound, San Juan Archipelago, WA.
Courtesy of L.A. Douglas, Blakely Island.

This day of 8 June 2019.
Click image to enlarge.

29 May 2019


Capt. Sam Barlow
Storybook Skipper of the San Juans,
“A colorful sea captain named Sam Barlow grew up on Lopez Island. Some of the old-timers in the islands still remember him when he captained the old steamer, ROSALIE and later the Black Ball Line’s first ferry, ROSARIO. And small wonder. In stormy weather Captain Sam would wear, instead of his conventional Captain’s hat, a black felt hat with a broad rim so he could more easily pick up certain echoes from the islands. The unorthodox hat proved particularly helpful on foggy days in the pre-radar era. Suddenly his uncanny sense of hearing and an unbelievable sense of smell would come into full play. Somehow the ship he skippered, the rocks nearby, the heavily timbered shorelines he hugged-even the currents which baffled most mariners—became to Sam Barlow––close friends. Ultimately this man was to bear the moniker of THE DEAN OF MARINERS ON PUGET SOUND!
      Sam, the boy, was one of the youngest of the Barlow family’s ten children. At his home on beautiful Barlow Bay (named after his father), he learned a lot about sailing from his father. He’d often gaze out at the sparkling sea and dream of a day when he’d be commanding his own vessel through the intricate passages around Lopez and the other islands. But first young Sam endured quite a hair-raising adventure for a sea-smitten kid. It seems that it all began when a stranger offered the boy twenty dollars to transport him from Oak Bay on Vancouver Island to a certain point on Whidbey Island.
Sam felt as if he’d just been offered a gold nugget. He had access to one of his father’s boats so the man and the boy made a deal. The first trip was a success and young Sam collected his money. But a little later the same man asked Sam to take him and some mysterious ‘baggage’ on the same trip. This time everything went wrong, including a storm at sea. The sailboat started to ship water and it was about to be swamped. Sam went to work to fight for his boat and his life. But his passenger was more concerned about the ‘baggage’.
Sam told the man something like this. “It takes only twenty pounds to keep a man afloat. You take the mast, sails and anything else that will float and lash them into a long parcel, then fasten this crosswise of the boat. If all the heavy articles are thrown overboard, the boat, though full of water, will float just below the surface. And this is precisely what they did--for four hours.
The poor passenger almost drowned, so concerned was he with his baggage, but Sam fought on saying, ‘It’s a poor time to die.’ When they eventually got their feet on dry land, Sam told the man he’d had it. Even for twenty dollars he wouldn’t make such a trip again. Later someone asked Sam what he suspected was in that package his passenger valued more than his life.
‘Opium, probably,’ he said, ‘And wouldn’t I be in a fine fix with a dead man and a load of opium aboard?’
From this misadventure Sam went on to the very legitimate adventure of serving aboard such steamers as the LYDIA THOMPSON and the ROSALIE, both of which he later became captain. One of the mates who served under Captain Sam on the ROSALIE told me not too long ago, ‘Captain Sam was on the island run so long he knew all the points by name, and those that had no name, he gave a name!’
In time, steamers were out and ferries were in. Captain Sam eagerly took over the command of the 156-foot ROSARIO, the first ferry on the San Juan Islands run. She was a floating palace and Sam was mighty proud of her. 
Later Captain Sam commanded the CITY OF ANGELES on the San Juan route. In fact, most of the old-timers in the islands will connect him with this ferry. Years ago when some of Barlow’s fellow Masons were riding with him in the pilothouse of this ferry, he asked a mate to dock her at the Orcas ferry landing. Somehow, the mate miscalculated a bit and brought the vessel to an embarrassing stop at the Easterly side of the pilings. All he could do was back her up and try again. As the mate made his second approach Captain Sam said: ‘Well son, everybody gets into fixes like this occasionally. You’ll just have to get out the best way you can.’
A great deal of notoriety has been given Sam Barlow in connection with his membership in both the Seattle and Anacortes Masonic Lodges. In 1923, before he became a member of the Fidalgo Lodge, he was instrumental in arranging a visit between this Lodge and the Mt. Newton Lodge, F. & A.M. in Saanichton, B.C. Ever since this initial visit, which was instigated by Sam, the two lodges have met on a semi-annual basis. One member recently remarked: ‘God willing, may this delightful custom never cease.’
Following Sam Barlow’s death in 1938 (he was 63), and for many years, the Masons of both lodges honored the Captain by riding the ferry to Upright Head on Lopez Is. There the ferry engines ground to a stop near the ferry landing. In the stillness and scenic splendor, a group of Masons would float a floral wreath on the water in Captain Sam’s memory. 
If Sam Barlow ever sounded like a rough and tough skipper, he wasn’t. He had a sentimental side. His daughter Bernice still recalls how she’d stay at the Orcas Hotel summers in order to be near her beloved father. When his ferry approached the dock, she and other islanders would run down to the landing to greet him. Quite often they’d sing a song called “on Dear Ol’ Orcas Isle”; this was written by Ethel B. Auld in 1926. Here are the lyrics:

     "Oh dear old Orcas Isle, 
that’s where we rest awhile. 
Where skies are ever blue
 and sweethearts roam. 
Where sweet Madronas grow,
On dear old Orcas Isle, 
Our Island home.”

Former mates who sailed with Captain Sam, islanders who still remember him for his friendliness and special kindnesses, and the Masons who honored him each year, prove that unlike old soldiers, this skipper’s memory will never fade away.” 

Shirley Dever (1924-2008) was a magazine writer who retired to Orcas Island to live in the White Beach area in 1962. 
Published by the Island Booster, Orcas Island, WA. 1971.


27 May 2019

🐾 Mr. Black Bear's Arrival on Blakely Island Today 🐾

He forgot his boat but here comes
Mr. Bear coming in for a beach landing
at the south end of Blakely Island, WA.
He had a good chart but didn't find his gal
on the islands on his itinerary of
Camano, Whidbey, Fidalgo,
Guemes, Orcas, Shaw, Lopez,
San Juan, or Decatur Islands,
what will he find on Blakely?
I hope lots of food and rest.
Photo courtesy of Lance A. Douglas,
Blakely Island, San Juan Archipelago,
on this day of 27 May 2019.
Yes, the bear is in the photo,
click to enlarge.

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