"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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 750, 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.

06 February 2011


Shaw Island landing on Harney Channel.
San Juan Archipelago, WA.
L-R: Darrel Fowler, "Mac" Grubbs, Vern Moe.
It was 1950 and SUNRISE was her name––a sweet Fraser River gillnetter that came up for sale in Friday Harbor––singing a siren call to would-be fishermen. A trio of young "Shawnee" guys, hearing there was a forecast for a good tuna season, took the "bait"; Vern Moe, "Mac" Grubbs, and Darrel Fowler, were soon packing their seabags for a trip to the fishing grounds.
      Darrel went to the mainland for a crash-course on fishing methods for tuna and came home with a barrel of gasoline strapped into the well, back aft on the 32-ft vessel. 
      The men cast off, enduring a rough trip to Neah Bay. As they approached, they noticed the fishing fleet heading in. Out by Tatoosh Island, the land-based Coast Guard crew whistled them down with three whistle-blasts. 

The SUNRISE crew checked the charts and saw they were clear of the rocks so kept motoring onward, not realizing the whistle they heard was a bad weather warning. Two passing fish boats hailed the Shaw Island trio to suggest since they didn't have a radio perhaps they better give it up; they did, and after that one adventure to the edge of the big ocean, as Vern remembers, "that was the end of our tuna fishing."

01 February 2011


No scraping, no sanding, no varnishing.... these boats came back to life with lots of handwork on some fresh, clean, cotton.
      Going back several decades, artistic quilts have been designed and stitched by teams of Orcas Island women dedicated to supporting causes important in the community. The luscious quilt featured in these photos has a maritime history theme which earned it a place within the pages of this log.
      The 14-member crew for this artistic endeavor was led by Eclipse Charters co-owner, Denise Wilk, who conceived the clever design and then drew the boats to chart the course. The completed quilt is such a treasure that the names of the participants must be listed; they were Jan Kolton-Titus, Eva North, Judy Slater, Dorothy Lundquist, Mary Hatten, L. Baney, Jacque Kempher, Irene O'Neill, Tony Knapp, and Denise Wilk.
      Some of the vessels depicted stitch-by-stitch are from our early days, with two boats that are still active. They have all been an important link to the interesting culture in the islands. At least four of the boats were constructed on different islands in San Juan County; they served multiple needs, for transport to the mainland, fishing, sightseeing, and a combination of general work and family recreation.

        Maggie Kaplan volunteered to carefully join the squares; Betty Marcum joined the banners and did the binding, no small task, and done beautifully. Gail Mikuchonis used her skills for the machine embroidery of the vessel names and petit signal flags, while Keri Stone did the first-class quilting. Jane Willis Barfoot-Hodde was a great source of help with her memory of the early days.
        The completed treasure was raffled in December 2010 in support of the Orcas Island Museum in Eastsound.
        Thank you quilters, for depicting some of the rich histories of the colorful San Juan Archipelago. An amazing textile to come from your skilled hands and generous hearts.
The photos below are courtesy of Margo Shaw, Orcas Island.
Please click on the individual square to zoom in on the beautiful stitching.


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