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

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 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.

25 December 2012


For the 100th log entry the space was not reserved, but how nice it could be filled by Robert Louis Stevenson, shared by Port Townsend's Kit Africa on Christmas Day.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894).

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;

But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops'l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;

All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;

But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So's we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;

The good red fires were burning bright in every 'longshore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;

For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard's was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,

My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,

Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
"All hands to loose topgallant sails," I heard the captain call.
"By the Lord, she'll never stand it," our first mate, Jackson, cried.
. . . "It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson," he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,

And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,

As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

This poem first appeared in the Scots Observer in 1888, soon after the publication of Treasure Island.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) died in Samoa bestowed with the native name of Tusitala.

24 December 2012


Side number one of a new archival accession, 
a Christmas card from Cap Raynaud
donated by Ship Bold/2012.
Overleaf of the above card, 
shared for 1965 Christmas greetings by
  Cap Adrian F. Raynaud (1895-1997).
Date and photographer unknown.
Cap Raynaud sailed on the EDWARD SEWELL as an
able seaman for two trips to S. America including 
around the Horn, in 1914.  

23 December 2012

✪ ✪ ✪ Whale "Satchelmouth" ✪ ✪ ✪

September 1945

Resort brochure  
Saltwater People Log

"West Beach is back to normal; President Channel is itself again; 'Old Satchelmouth' returned to his summer haunts last week. As everybody knows 'Old Satchelmouth' is the friendly whale that comes to President Channel each summer when the salmon are running. This year when the salmon were late in arriving and few when they did come, his old friends thought the whale had either become disgusted with Orcas waters or had got too intimate with a Japanese depth bomb.
      When Stacy Meyers of Tacoma reported sighting him between Cramer & Kertis' West Beach resort and Waldron Island everybody was happy. The old fellow didn't come close inshore, as he sometimes does, and he kept his distance from fishing boats, but plenty of people got a glimpse of him. Even Butch, the Cramer dog that gets as much fun out of playing around with vacationists as he does in scaring up pheasants or fighting raccoons, got a watchful eye on him and whined his joy and relief.
      Maybe all this means that September is going to be a good month for salmon fishing in President Channel. Maybe 'Old Satchelmouth' shows up when he knows that there are going to be a lot of silvers around. And maybe he is just slack in his habits and hasn't any regular schedule. But, anyway, this is the fifth successive year that he has shown himself off West Beach."
Friday Harbor Journal
6 September 1945

We don't have a photograph of 'Satchelmouth' but thanks to a longtime island friend we have his memories of his salty friend. Corkey thinks "Old Satchelmouth" was a Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) which has a lifespan of 80-90 years. The relatively solitary creature, seldom found in groups, is the 2nd largest mammal on earth; see NOAA/ Finwhales here
"The old whale 'Satchelmouth' was an old buddy of mine. When I got up at five or six in the morning to run the NORDLAND down to Friday Harbor, he would show up and travel with me for a while. He'd get pretty close at times.
      On one occasion, I had taken Dr. Cook's outboard boat from West Beach to Deer Harbor to do some work on it at Dad's shop. On the return trip in light rain at about the lime kiln, doing maybe fifteen miles an hour, there suddenly was a big black object right under my bow. It went down and I went another way but I got a close-up view of 'Old Satchelmouth's' back without any scraping of Doc's boat. I think we were both surprised and undamaged."
L. W. 'Corkey' North
Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, WA.
Letter to web admin. SPHS, Dec. 2012.

11 December 2012

❖ The Christmas Ship to the Islands ♥ ♥

Let's celebrate the hardworking volunteers who start long before December to collect food,  toys, and candy, to stuff all available lockers. The ship's crew disembarking are dressed in beautiful, handmade costumes to bring Santa, carols, and good cheer, to the young-of-heart in the San Juan Islands and the Gulf Island group. 
      The good folks started out with a fish tender but most of the crew now enjoy a warm cabin on a chartered passenger vessel often chased by chilling wind and lumpy seas. These volunteers with hearts of gold have set aside personal time in the busy holiday season since 1947. 
      Hundreds of islanders have warm memories of hearing the gentle music coming down the channel towards their chosen island dock. The Bellingham Jaycees, the Sea Scouts, the Bellingham Central Lions, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, just a few of Santa's support crew. A salty Merry Christmas to these generous people and our readers all.
Bellingham Lions Club promotion 18 Dec. 1947.
L-R: Rank Bostrom, John O'Rourke of the Bellingham Hotel,
Don Satterlee, Art Howard.
This is the earliest known photo to document the beginning
of the program to transport Santa Claus to the children 
of the San Juan Islands, and later to the Gulf Island group.
Photo (#1. 004579) by Jack Carver
Purchased from the Whatcom Museum of History and Art©
For educational purposes only, for a copy contact WMHA, thank you.

With soldering iron, a needle, and hairspray as insulation,
the Jaycees clowns, Don Ryan & Riggs Nelson,
in the cabin of Christmas ship, yacht WYRILL.
They attempt to rewire the sound system before
arriving at Ganges.
Photo (#1.036027) by Jack Carver.
Purchased from the Whatcom Museum of History and Art.©
For educational use only. For reproduction please contact WMHA.

Apologies...a few photos have fallen off and I am working on calling them home very soon.

"The Christmas Ship--It was a wonderful sight, and sound too, as the decorated Christmas Ship came into sight as it passed Shaw Island. The music was gently flowing over the waters, so soft and gentle. Think it was early evening, perhaps just after dinner time when it arrived at our Orcas dock. People gathered on the dock mostly from nearby and Eastsound--don't remember if the ship went into Deer Harbor, too? I think it went into Victoria in those days and Waldron, too.

      Great excitement; after the ship was tied up, jolly, happy, Santa climbed onto the dock and the children clustered around him. He gave out candy and heard the children tell what they wanted for Christmas. The parents and friends too enjoyed this time together. Then, it was time for him to go, and with a whistle for 'all aboard' Santa waved goodbye, and the Christmas carols and the ship headed for the next stop. The music and beautiful lighted ship gently faded away as parents and 'lil' ones headed for their cars and home. Oh, what a beautiful sight to see the ship.
      It was a wonderful experience for our children to enjoy, and parents too. In those days there were few stores or gift shops on the island, and few bright lights.
      As years went by, the time of arrival of the Christmas ship varied, it came earlier and traveled further, and made more stops. What a wonderful thing for the Bellingham people to do, they brought such happiness.
      For some years, as the experience developed, through the guidance of Bus and Esther Sheehan at the store and Clyde and Dorothy Brown and the 'Stitch and Gossip Club', cookies and cocoa were served. A 'party' on the dock!!
      Those years were magical, and this reminiscing has brought our early day Christmas back to me."
Mary Schoen, 2009, Deer Harbor, San Juan Archipelago.
Mary and her husband Robert Schoen sailed CHANTEY to the San Juan Islands on their honeymoon in 1946, one year ahead of the Christmas Ship from Bellingham. 

09 December 2012

❖ Twenty-Five Years of Ferry Lunches ❖

Written by author, historian Lucile McDonald (1898-1992)

Ferry LINCOLN c. 1930
postcard from the Clinton H. Betz Ship Collection, 
Archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

"Living on the western edge of Redmond, WA, is an 84-year-old niece of Capt. John L. Anderson, who used to be king pin of the Lake Washington ferry service. Olga Carlson Dunkel says that she opened the first lunchroom aboard his boats and remained with the business a quarter of a century. 'I always liked boats and I got along well with people'.
      Mrs. Dunkel came to Seattle from Sweden in 1913. ' I had to get a job as soon as I got to this country. I did housework for $50 a month.'
      One day in 1924, Anderson told Olga that the ferry LINCOLN was laid up at Houghton for its annual overhaul and he had installed a lunch counter on board the vessel. 'I want to know what you think of it'. His niece visited the boat as requested and told him the arrangement looked fine. 'You can have it,' Anderson announced.
      From then on she managed the lunch service. 'There would be about four of us women on a shift. We were paid $3 a day and eats when I started, but I got more after the union was organized. Besides serving food we sold newspapers, candy, gum, and chances on punchboards.
      It took 22-minutes to cross Lake Washington from Madison Park to Kirkland, but people could consume an awful lot of food in that amount of time. We sold hotcakes, waffles, eggs, a tremendous number of hamburgers and pies --40 or 50 pies on weekend.They brought in a lot of money although a serving cost only ten cents. Doughnuts were three for a dime and coffee was five cents.
      When I started I had to take home beans to bake and then carried them back to the boat. Sauerkraut and wieners were popular, so were soups, Swedish meatballs, and potato salad. Later I didn't have to take the beans home because we got an electric oven and steam tables. 
      When the LINCOLN was laid up once a year for repairs we went in the old WASHINGTON. She was an awful boat. Sometimes we were chartered for an excursion, especially kids bound for the camp at Denny Park.
Photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.

When the first Lake Washington bridge opened I was working on the LESCHI, running to Medina. She had the best lunchroom of any of my uncle's boats.
Ferry LESCHI, Seattle-Kirkland
November 1948.
Original photo from the Saltwater People Historical Society.©

      During WWII we did big business with the shipyard workers at Houghton. I worked a shift beginning at 6 a.m. but some of the girls were on the night run which meant getting home at 2 a.m.' 
      One of Mrs. Dunkel's best memories is of meeting her future husband when he was a regular passenger on the ferry. He was running a hog ranch at Redmond and she was then living in Kirkland. After her marriage in 1942, she kept her job and had to ride to work in a taxi.
      Asked if she had any adventures aboard the ferries, 'Yes, once a hold-up man came aboard in the early morning on the first ship leaving Kirkland. I saw he was watching me and I wouldn't open the lunch counter. Officers got him before he left the boat.
      Another time when I was on the LINCOLN enormous waves from a passing naval ship nearly turned us over. The ferry went clear down in the water and I was pinned in a corner and hot coffee poured over my legs. I worked several more hours with my stockings off and my legs bandaged, but I gave up about 2 p.m. and wound up in the Kirkland hospital. 
      Although many decades have passed since the last ferry quit running, Mrs. Dunkel says every once in awhile someone comes up to her and asks, 'Didn't you used to be on the boats.'"

02 December 2012

❖ Sage of the San Juans ❖ by Beatrice Cook

Ethan Allen, Waldron Island, WA, 1943.
Original  photograph from the S.P.H.S.©
"In five years, by actual count, I rowed ten thousand miles. I've shivered through a December night fighting the waves of President Channel while I clung to my over-turned rowboat and I've rowed a cow and her calf from Orcas to Waldron Island during a storm. But this is the first time I've ever been interviewed. 'Fraid I'm not halter-broke to this!'
      Ethan Allen, the grand old man of the San Juans smiled up at me. He was sitting on the porch of the log cabin which he had built himself some thirty years ago, or, rather added to the fifty-year old cabin which is still his bedroom. It faces the shimmering waters of President Channel that flows between Orcas and Waldron islands. Turtleback Mountain on Orcas is a wavy green line against the deep blue sky.
      He smoothed back his white hair and surveyed the rolling pasture with eyes which had lost little but gained much with the passing of the years.
      'I've had seventy-two birthdays--but none of 'em have took yet. I like Waldron Island real well. But I've only lived here forty-five years and I haven't really located yet. Someday, I'm going to settle down--mebbe.'
      This old patriarch with his friendly smile and his sly humor is a tradition of the San Juan Islands. He is loved as much today as he was respected back in '95 when he was Superintendent of Schools of San Juan Islands. He was one of the first homesteaders of Waldron Island and knows how history is made because he has made a lot of it himself. 
      'No, I don't get lonesome, people are always dropping in. My little cove is a perfect harbor for cruisers. Lots of folks come to see my Indian things. News seems to ravel, too, for when this Bing cherry tree is going great guns, I'm almost swamped with guests. Seems like I'm one of the sights to be seen around here!'
      He is. Yachtsmen all over the Northwest swap stories of his hospitality. He is as entertaining as he is instructive. Waldron Island can boast of no ferry service, electricity, or telephone among its ten families, and newspapers are a week old before they get there. But Ethan Allen can tell you what Hitler has just done and, moreover, what he is going to do next!
      He settled his powerful back against the log doorjamb and gazed out across the waters--and the years. 'Back in '95, I got a homestead grant here on the island, six dozen eggs, two incubators, and a wife. I had intended to raise chickens, but when the eggs hatched out, I was sort of discouraged. Running around her were eighty-two varieties of chickens, some two kinds and some three. So I took the job of school master here at Waldron for the summer. Three months was all that the law required in those days. Kept me busy, teaching school and running a farm. But I managed to slash twelve acres of timber in my spare time that summer.
      Later, when I was appointed Superintendent of Schools of San Juan County, I received one hundred and fifty dollars a year for the job. I would have been in the white collar class--if I'd had a collar! But I earned it. Every Friday, come fair wind or foul, I had to row to Friday Harbor to report at the office. That's only about ten miles as the crow flies but a rowboat ain't a crow. Of course I always took advantage of the tides but now and then, the winds took advantage of me. Once it took me three days to row home. There was three inches of snow on McConnell Island when I beached the boat for night and ate some apples that were all I had with me. I made Spring Channel by the next night--and ate apples. The next night the remaining apples and I spent in the old lime kiln on Orcas. When I finally got home, the crows tried to drag me off to the corn field!
      But that was a regular rest-cure compared to the time I was swamped off Bald Point here on Waldron. It was freezing cold December night and I was rowing like mad trying to get home as there was good reason why I didn't want my wife left alone that night. The boat was topping the huge waves like a herring gull until I hit the point. There the tides meet. But I didn't have any time to worry about it for the next thing I knew, I was gulping down saltwater. When the boat cracked up against my head, I grabbed the gunwale--and hung on. I figured the tide would carry me ashore if I could only hang on long enough. There was no swimming in that wild water and, anyway, the snow was coming down so fast that I couldn't tell where land was. It must have been about two hours later when I felt sand under my feet. After I had made shore, I was so cold that when I fell down, I didn't know if I fell on my face or on my back. My clothes froze stiff on my back as I fought the blinding snow all the four miles home. Worst of it was, I couldn't even chew tobacco, 'cause I could't get my jaws apart. I'd be a gentleman today if I hadn't thawed out.
      I chopped half an acre of timber next day before I limbered up right. I kept one eye on my wife and the other on the tide but it was eight o'clock before I could put her in the rowboat, and start out for Anacortes. That was a tough trip for both of us but a certain Washington college would be shy a professor today if I hadn't pulled on them oars mighty hard!
      Next day I had a son and the son had to have a cow so I started figuring how to get the beast over to the island. Wasn't hard landing a cow and her calf at the town of Orcas. But it was plenty tough walking them around some ten miles of beach that night, had to do it when the tide was out. 'Bout sunrise, I tied 'em up at West Beach on Orcas Island which is right across the channel from my farm on Waldron. Now all I had to do was to get those critters across three and a half miles of rough water!
      Worked all day building a raft of driftwood and by sunset I had the beast stalled up on it. Now, I had rowed that stretch of water lots of times in twenty minutes, but a cow, a calf, and a log raft, can sure slow a man down!
      But I enjoyed those years. The winters were sort of long but we never once missed have a Spring! Visiting twenty-six school districts by rowboat tends to keep a fella out of trouble. Then I had the farm to run. I cut wood to pay for the few staples we needed. I've rowed many a barrel of flour over from the mainland.
      Life's been hard. In the old days it took a class 'A' man to prove up a claim. It took a hard head and a strong back to make these islands give you a living. The first white men to really settle here were tough timber all right. They were the Hudson Bay Co. fur traders. They cleaned up every beaver on the islands but left a lot of descendants with funny French names to remember them by. 
      I asked Allen about the Indians of whom he knows so much--those Lummi, Skagits, and San Juans. Did they make good neighbors in the early days?
      'Yes, they did for those who had 'em. Orcas was sort of a meeting place for them, 'round Coal Point because the salmon were there. I've seen a mile stretch of beach packed with their canoes. They never stole a thing and if you ever gave them any firewood they wouldn't forget. Every once in awhile you'd find a salmon on your porch. Only after their debt was paid would they be your friends. That's just one of the things they could teach to white people.
      But after 1850 there weren't many Indians around here--smallpox cleaned 'em out. No wonder, for the native treatment was a trifle severe. When an Indian was suspected of having the disease, his friends placed him on blankets in a pit dug some three feet in the ground. Slender poles secured over the top caged him in--also the evil spirits causing the trouble. From then on, once a day a raw salmon on the end of a long stick was poked at him. When he couldn't reach out and take it, he was considered dead and was covered with the handy pile of dirt already beside the pit. But those Indians weren't so stupid in all things, though. Look here!'
      He showed me two arrow tips with a hair-fine line running through them.
      'See? These stone arrow tips have been mended by the Indians with heat-proof cement just as strong as anything on the market today.  When I found this tip, it was broken, but as you see, not in the place where it was mended. George Vancouver commented on this type of cement in his journal back in 1792. No one knows the secret.'
      Sitting there in the sunshine, shading my eyes against the reflected sunlight on the water I was entranced with stories of the days when $1.50 was tops for cutting and delivering a cord of wood. He told about the Robinson brothers' trading sloop which serviced these islands in the days of '63 when kerosene was $2 a gallon. There were stories about the forty-niners who settled in Victoria when they dared not return to the southern states because all personal fortunes were being confiscated by the North.
      He makes history live and breathe again. So, when cruising in the Northwest, and looking for a port of call, drop anchor for a while in that lovely cove on the Northeastern side of Waldron Island. Ethan Allen will be there to meet you with a smile."
Above text by author Beatrice Cook
Formerly of Seattle and Orcas Island, WA.
Published in Pacific Motor Boat
January 1939


24 November 2012

❖ Bio of Old Salt Roy "Buster" Pearmain ❖ by Islander Robert R. Pearmain

Deer Harbor Store, Orcas Island, WA. undated.
Photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"My Uncle Roy, known as Buster, was one of a kind. He was very good to me. Even though he was very close with his money, as were all the Pearmains, he kept me supplied with dimes and quarters for helping him. I helped him pick cherries to make the barrel of wine he made annually to sell at the Deer Harbor dance hall. He sold admittance tickets for the Norton Inn owner, Bill Norton, who also owned the local store.
LeOtis Roy "Buster" Pearmain 27 March 1887-25 May 1950.
Courtesy of nephew Roy Pearmain©
Buster sometimes worked as an engineer on fish boats or the local mailboats that ran through the islands or Alaska cannery tenders. He seemed skilled at carpentry and boat building. During prohibition he did a small amount of whiskey smuggling from Canada. He built a rowboat, painted it lead gray and then used it to row to Sidney Island during the night, returning with sacks full of whiskey. By daylight he would appear to be fishing near Spieden Island, well inside US waters. He had a contact at the local summer resort. The owner sold the booze to the tourists. Buster, no doubt, sold some of it himself.
      Buster didn't seem like a happy man but he enjoyed hunting deer, fishing salmon, and building houses and boats. 
      Buster started fishing in Alaska at an early age. He first began to work for Libby, McNeil, and Libby Salmon Cannery at Kenai, AK. At that time he began the fishing season by going to San Francisco to load a sailing ship with all the gear necessary for catching and canning salmon and for the supplies for the crew who did the work. They then sailed the ship to AK, caught the salmon, and canned them. In the fall of the year they loaded the canned fish onto the sailing ship and sailed it back to San Francisco to unload the cargo. It was nearly a year-long job.
Robert Roy Pearmain 
10 June 1918-13 Jan 2002
Seen here in 1926 on Kanaka Bay fish trap, 
San Juan County, WA.
Author of this bio on Buster.
Courtesy of Roy Pearmain©

     In the first decade of the 20th c., Buster, my father George Pearmain, and my uncle Archie Pearmain acquired a boat named the WANDERER and used her as a tender for buying salmon. They bought fish on the western side of Vancouver Island and sold them to canneries in WA State. When that job was through Archie went to work for Libby's and was skipper of a cannery tender. Buster worked  as an engineer on the boat. One of their cousins, named Billy Marian was the deckhand. While towing a scow loaded with fish in Cook Inlet the boat came apart and sank in three minutes. The men scrambled onto the scow and had to spend the night in wet clothes before they were rescued. Archie caught pneumonia and nearly died. Later he worked as the superintendent of the Kenai cannery for many years."

20 November 2012


Location, Seattle, WA, 1917.
She was then operated by the US Shipping Board.
Original photo by Webster & Stevens, Seattle, WA.
from the archives of S.P.H.S©

Figurehead is a Knight of Malta.
Center of attraction at Smith Cove Pier 40, Seattle, 
while she was waiting to be converted to a barge.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

"The sailing ship MONONGAHELA (1892-1943)* with her gilded figurehead kept freshly painted. Figureheads were a source of pride in sailing days. And not always were these figures of women. 
             The bowsprit of the ship ROBERT DUNCAN bore the carved figure of that Scotsman. When the ship was sold to the Hind, Rolph Co. the name was changed to the WILLIAM T. LEWIS, one of the company captains. It was then thought necessary to change the figurehead to resemble that gentleman instead of Robert Duncan. Since Lewis had worn a mustache, one was carved and nailed on the figurehead which had one hand at the breast, the other behind his back. On a later occasion, sailors were arguing about the identity of the ship and one exclaimed: "That's Robert Duncan. I'd know the Scotchman anywhere. Look--he's got one hand on his watch, the other on his wallet!"
Text from This was Seafaring
Ralph Andrews and Harry Kirwin
Superior; Seattle, 1955.

"She was a big, bald-headed bark with bridge deck and rounded poop. Purchased by Knohr and Burchard of Germany in 1912, the Germans renamed BALASORE, DALBEK, and continued to sail the big bark from Europe to the west coast. Caught in Portland, OR at the commencement of hostilities in 1914, DALBEK waited out the war until 1917, when the US entered. Seizing DALBEK, the US Shipping Board named it RED JACKET (the USSB had the romantic notion that naming these seized vessels after famous American clipper ships of an earlier era would be interesting.) RED JACKET made one voyage to China and back. Meanwhile, policy changed in Washington, and the seized ships were to be named after Indian tribes. RED JACKET became MONONGAHELA in 1918, and the ship never sailed again. MONONGAHELA anchored in Lake Union, Seattle, and there remained under the ownership of Charles Nelson of San Francisco. Sold again in 1936, the MONONGAHELA became a barge until lost in 1943."
Above text by Donald H. Dyal, Texas Tech. Univ.
"Properly applied they should represent the subject of the ship's name."
From: A Dictionary of Sea Terms by A. Ansted; Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd., Glasgow, 1920.

Lost c. 100 miles off Hatteras 29 Oct. 2013.
Captain Robin Wallbridge, 63, lost. 
Deckhand Claudene Christian, age 42, lost.
Survivors: 14.
Figurehead of BOUNTY
Photo dated 11 August 1989
by Luci S. Williams.
Original print from the S.P.H.S.©
The HMS Bounty Organization LLC, New York based, was the owner of the BOUNTY.
She was a recreation of the 18-C. British Naval vessel of the same name. She was constructed for the 1962 MGM film Mutiny on the Bounty, she also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean. 
More news on the Coast Guard investigation can be found here.

11 November 2012

❖ Uncommon Visitor Stopping By ❖

Brown Pelican 
(Pelecanus occidentalis)
Photo by Mark Hoffman 

from his boat OCEAN OASIS
 coast of Cypress Is., San Juan Cty, WA.
Eleven November 2012.

From Lance Douglas, Blakely Island.
Shaw Island Pelicans
Sculpture by Margaret Cameron (1906-1994)
Photograph by C. Christensen©
The Brown Pelican common on the Washington coast and often seen in the Pacific Northwest, is not commonly seen in November in the San Juan Islands. It is now off the endangered species list. The Seattle Audubon Society has some photos and the bird call of this species here. Thanks Mark and Lance.

Map courtesy of the Seattle Audubon Society.


Lost North Beach, WA.
Capt. Alfred Sandvig
Original photo from Saltwater People Historical Society©

Steam Schooner CAOBA (ex-COASTER)
 579 t. blt by John Lindstrom, Aberdeen, WA. 
Owned by Sudden & Christenson.
Wrecked 1925, Captain Alfred Sandvig.
Photograph by Charlie Fitzpatrick.
 Photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"On the beach five miles north of Ocean Park, WA lies a rust-riddled boiler, the last remembrance of the steam schooner CAOBA (ex-COASTER), cast ashore 5 Feb. 1925, in a severe blow.
      Out bound from Willapa Bay laden with lumber the CAOBA ran into a sudden gale of such velocity that her 400-hp engine was incapable of making any headway. Laboring under her twenty years and a heavy deckload, the steamer developed a most unholy appetite for salt water. She spat all the oakum from her seams and all hands would note the course she made by merely watching the track of spent oakum astern. Three or four feet of bilge wash was nothing to worry about but when it rose to nine feet, it was time to make quick decisions.
      The water put out the boiler fires and the vessel appeared to be afloat by the deckload, which gave indications of popping the gripes under the strain.
      'All hands man the lifeboats', barked Capt. Alfred Sandvig.
      Two boats put out into the heaving sea, and for 38-hrs were tossed about like matchsticks.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
By morning they had drifted apart; the first boat was found by the tug JOHN CUDAHY, but the other was listed as missing with ten souls. Then from out of the misty dawn appeared a ship, which turned out to be a Canadian rumrunner, named the PESCAWHA, commanded by Capt. R. Pamphley*.
      The grateful survivors were taken aboard, suffering intensely from the cold, but extracts from the Canadian ship's cargo soon warmed their spirits.
       Before the crew of the CAOBA could be landed, the PESCAWHA, unfortunately, fell in company with the USCG cutter ALGONQUIN, which promptly seized the vessel for carrying liquor inside the limits of the US boundaries.
       The government vessel ran down the PESCAWHA and towed her back to Astoria with some 1200 cases of liquor stacked in her holds. When the vessel was docked, her officers were immediately placed under arrest and a guard put around the vessel. It was believed that three-quarters of the cargo was dumped before the vessel was seized.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      The Coast Guard was bitterly assailed in the press by those who felt strongly that traditions of the sea had been observed by the crew of the rumrunner in rescuing the seamen and that they should not have been interned. As a result of the seizure, however, 23 shore operators of the bootleg enterprise were picked up and convicted.
      US Customs Inspector H. J. Strowbridge took over the PESCAWHA in Astoria. The cargo was discharged at the dockside and reloaded again for evidence in Portland. During the stevedoring operations, 27 cases of liquor were found missing.
With customs agents on board, the rum runner
is being brought into Portland harbor with a cargo
of 1,073 cases of liquor.

Original photo from the archives of
Saltwater People Historical Society.©
Click to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©

      Meanwhile, the CAOBA, held afloat by her cargo of lumber, was driven ashore near Ocean Park, 5 Feb 1925. Her wooden hull lay on the beach for many years and gradually disappeared until only her rusted boiler remained to break the level contour of the acres of sand."
Above text from:
The Pacific Graveyard
James A. Gibbs, Jr.
Binfords & Mort, 1950.
*According to McCurdy's Maritime History of the PNW, Gordon Newell, Superior, 1965;
      Capt. Pamphlet spent most of the remainder of his life in McNeil Island prison. He died in 1931, c. 59-years, from TB contracted in prison.
The Vancouver Sun, in reporting his death, commented:
"It was always the opinion of a great many people, be that country (the USA) as well as in Canada, that he should never have been convicted. It was the opinion of a great many more that, having been convicted, he should have been pardoned. Technically and legally, he went to prison because he was a rumrunner taken with his ship. Actually he went to prison because he put the covenant of the sea and the honour of the good seaman before his own safety and risked his life and his freedom to rescue American sailors in peril. He was a rumrunner by ill chance or necessity. He was a true man by the virtue of his own good character. They ought to have found a better way of dealing with him than to make him a companion of felons."
      For further reading: Pass the Bottle, Rum Tales of the West Coast by Eric Newsome, Orca Book Publishers,1995. Mr. Newsome includes a whole chapter on this event with Capt. Pamphlet dodging bullets fired across his bow.

09 November 2012

✪ Perhaps Fortune Lay South? ✪

Vintage postcard from the archives of S. P. H. S.
Click to enlarge.
"While, in the late 1800s, most Victoria [B.C.] residents seeking riches went north, there were, between 1897 and 1902, four vessels which when they passed Cape Flattery turned south in their search for fortune. Their goal was the little island of Cocos, a few hundred miles west of Panama.
      There was reputed to be the concealed treasure beyond imagining.
      The first man to use the caves of Cocos as a hiding place for pirate loot was the naval captain, Edward Davis, who turned to this nefarious profession in the late 1600s.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica.
05˚31' 08" N,  087˚04' 18" W
From The Pacific Islands, Vol. 2 1943.
      More than a century later another renegade, Capt. Grahame (later alias 'Benito') of H. M. S. DEVONSHIRE added another installment.
      Last substantial deposit arrived there on the British barkentine MARY DYER. On her had been loaded by authorities of church and state in Lima the riches they sought to save when the liberator Bolivar was feared to be approaching. The sight of such wealth was too much for the British seamen and they absconded to Cocos.
      That this last loot had indeed been hidden there was proved by visits in 1844 and 1850 by the man Keating (sometimes written Keyton) who brought away gold and jewels to the value of $35,000. The other stories of concealment were probably equally true, the hiding place each time supposed to be but temporary. But pirates' led short lives and their secrets died with them.
      To add to the difficulties of those who sought to recover the treasure were the land-slides that obliterated clues and landmarks.
      First Victoria group to join the many, past and present, lured by the thought of this immense fortune, was that which left in the Spring of 1897 on the 40-t schooner AURORA. It was commanded by Capt. Fred Hackett, a brother of the Capt. Thomas Hackett who had received from a fellow 'Canadian Maritimer', Keating, the maps and papers that the latter had received directly from Thompson, the lone survivor of the barkentine MARY DYER. On the AURORA expedition was also Mrs. Brennan, former widow (third wife) of Keating.
      Later that year another surprising vessel left Victoria and some weeks later turned up at Cocos. Officially, of course, the IMPERIEUSE, flagship of the Pacific Station, and the accompanying AMPHION had gone south on a series of friendly calls on neighboring nations but the presence on board of a certain C. Harford, disguised though he was as a newsman, later made this excuse rather thin! Harford was the man who had been brought to Victoria on the AURORA's return voyage after the Victoria ship had found him there marooned when a Costa Rican gunboat had failed to return to pick him up.
      When the naval vessels got to Cocos hundreds of blue-jackets were sent ashore to 'dig for diamonds'--but unsuccessfully!
      This little foray not unnaturally led to protests from the Costa Rican government, owner of the island!
      The next year it was the later so famous Capt. J. C. Voss who sailed for Cocos, but so well did he disguise his purpose that Victoria papers of the time report the setting out of the little 8-ton XORA as under the command of Percy McCord and the 'turn of the century' exhibition of Paris as her destination. Voss, in his Venturesome Voyages, speaks of her as a 10-ton boat and identifies himself (undoubtedly correctly) as captain. With Voss and McCord were young Harry Voss and a certain Hass (Hahn?)
      A few months later they were back in Victoria, Voss ill from tropical fever, and not a penny richer.
      After this pause until the autumn of 1901 when the Pacific Exploration and Development Co. was formed in Victoria, its aim, the sale of 750 ten-dollar shares to raise the money to outfit another expedition to Cocos. Captain was to be the experienced Fred Hackett and an unusual angle of this undertaking was to be the use of some recently-invented 'metal-diviner'. These machines were said to be capable of locating gold and silver hidden underground from a distance of two hundred yards or more. 
      They were to be operated by Justin Gilbert, for many years Victoria court stenographer, and Daniel Enyeart of Washington, US. The two men, plus a Mr. Raub, went along on the BLAKELY on its 1902 expedition as passengers. Among the crew members was George Kirkendale, extracts from whose diary of the voyage follows" [in the next chapter of Home Port: Victoria.]
Above text; from this book, Home Port Victoria. Author published. 1967. 

True stories told by the men who sailed from the Port of Victoria
one hundred years ago.
In this city, a common interest in the sea brought these mariners together and resulted in the formation of the Thermopylae Club, a monthly gathering at which they yarned together for over thirty years.

Book Search here
Home Port: Victoria

Cocos Island is a National Park of Costa Rica with an annual rainfall of 275". Jacques Cousteau called it "the most beautiful island in the world".

According to these authors, Cocos Island is the home of the biggest hidden treasure in the world. They claim the main Cocos Island treasure came from Peru; if you'd like to read their book try this search.

Book search here
The Lost Treasure of Cocos Island

Archived Log Entries