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

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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.

26 September 2013

❖ FISHING THEN AND NOW ❖ by Louise Dustrude, 1979.

Friday Harbor waterfront
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
      "There weren’t too many commercial fishermen in Friday Harbor before World War II. People farmed, or worked for the Roche Harbor Lime & Cement Co., or maybe they cut cordwood for the Roche Harbor lime kilns.
       And a lot of them worked in the Friday Harbor Cannery (down where the condominiums are being built, next to the present ferry dock). Nearly everyone in town worked there at one time or another.
       Leith Wade was manager of the cannery before and during the war, and he remembers blowing the whistle half a dozen times a day during the big humpy season in 1945 to call people to work. 'The minister came, and the undertaker, and the barber, and people would even close up their stores and come down to help,' he recalls.
Purse seiners fishing for pinks and sockeye salmon
South end of San Juan Island, 1959
Photo by Larry Dion from a State Fisheries airplane.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©

      The fish that kept the cannery running were caught mainly by purse seiners from Gig Harbor and Tacoma. Leonard Crosby was one of them. He met and married a local girl, Margaret Nielsen, and they settled here in 1950.

 Seiner moorage, Friday Harbor, WA.
Best boat photo of all time by
Friday Harbor's John Dustrude.
Thank you John.
The down-Sound seiners would fish from Sunday morning through Friday afternoon, and then tie up at the cannery for the weekend. It was said you could walk to Brown Island on the seine boats tied up in the harbor. There’d be a dance every Friday night at the Masonic Hall near the courthouse or the Moose Hall on lower Spring Street, and many Friday Harbor people remember those as 'the good old days.'
      But very few local people owned commercial fishing boats of any kind in those depression and war years.
      Lee Marble thinks there were only a half-dozen gillnetters on San Juan Island in the 1930s, and Charlie Nash says there were no more than a dozen in the entire county in 1940.
      The oldest type of commercial fishing gear in this area, according to Marge Workman, is the reefnet---and there never have been many of those.
      Her grandfather, Ed Chevalier, owned one of the earliest reefnet gears in the county, located in John's Pass between Stuart and Johns Islands. Marge fished there in the 1950s, and she says, 'It’s the most exciting way to fish. You can actually see the fish coming into the net. But you have to have good eyes to see them soon enough, and if you make a move they all turn at once and they’re gone.'
      She and her husband, Bob, have been gillnetting together for the past three years, but he too recalls reefnetting in the years past. And he remembers his father and uncle trolling from a round-bottom rowboat during the 1930s, selling their fish for 10 cents each and catching 50 fish on a good day.
      They fished off the west side of San Juan Is., and Bob recalls, 'We went out there and camped during the fall for a month or six weeks when the silvers were in.'
      Leith Wade helped build fish traps---the piling would be pulled out and reset every year---and operated buyer boats that went out and got the fish from the traps for the canneries, until traps were outlawed by a vote of the people in 1934.
Mitchell Bay Fish Trap, San Juan County, WA.
Photos from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

      Fish were kept alive in the traps until picked up a cannery tender—or by a fish pirate. “Everybody knew about the fish pirates,” Leith says. Watchmen would be posted to guard the traps, but under cover of darkness outlaw boats would move in and steal the fish, using bribery or violence to take care of the watchmen.

      Bob Workman and his brother, Stub, started gillnetting in 1938 at Point Roberts, using two 20’ open skiffs with a half an engine from an old Model T. “Two of the cylinders had been removed, “ Bob remembers. And they pulled the net by hand.
      Everyone pulled nets by hand in those days. There were no power blocks or drums to make the work easier. “Your fingertips would bleed all the time,” Leonard Crosby says.
      The nets were made of cotton or linen, and they were very susceptible to rot. Gillnets and purse seines had to be soaked in bluestone every weekend, and the reefnets were tarred.
      There were no electronic aids to navigation, such as radar or fathometers. A few fishermen had radios, but Charlie Nash recalls that he couldn’t even afford the batteries for a radio.
      'All we had was a compass,' recalls Lee Marble, who started gillnetting in 1957.
      Charlie Nash was one of the first on the island to get into gillnetting after World War II. 'I got my first gillnetter in 1948, a Columbia River bow picker with a hand pulled net,' he says.
      Today Charlie has a reputation as one of the best fishermen on the island, but he says that when he started he “didn’t know anything about fishing, and I was a slow learner.”
      What are the major things a fisherman has to learn? 'Where to catch fish and how to stay out of trouble.'
      In those days, with so few boats out, 'If you got into trouble you could drift all day while you figured out what to do. If you did that now you’d drift into one of the other boats.'
      Charlie was the first fisherman in the county to get a nylon net, in about 1949 or 1950, and that was a great improvement. They’re less visible to the salmon, and you don’t have to bluestone them. 'You just take them home and pile them in a corner.'
      It was a big year for sockeye in 1954 and 'everybody found out about it,' Charlie recalls. During the fall and winter of 1954-55 there were a number of gillnetters built at Jensen Shipyard, including the STEADFAST, the SWEET GENEVIEVE, and the ETHEL M.
      And 1958 was another big year, 'and it was just a runaway after that.'
      Leith Wade says, 'It went from about 15 gillnetters on the Salmon Banks to three or four hundred.'
      And the numbers are still increasing, Chuck Hasty says, 'I can even see a difference since I started [in 1970]. It’s hard to find a place to set your net.'
      There are about 50 commercial fishermen now living on San Juan Island, and in the last few years more have joined the ranks than have quit. The overwhelming majority are gillnetters, with a handful of purse seiners and a handful who both gill net and reefnet.
      Those who do both---such as Terry Jackson and Charlie Brown—are outspoken in their preference for reefnetting. 'But you can’t make any money in it,' and so they gillnet too.
     'Reefnetting is a lot more fun because you see what’s going on,' Charlie says.
      'It’s a challenge. You’re on a one-to-one basis with the fish,' Terry says. “You might have to adjust your gear every 10 or 15 minutes to keep up with changes in the tide. And if you see a school of fish that turns away and doesn’t come into your net, you’d better know why.'
      Gillnetting, he says, once you put your gear out, “it’s just a waiting game.”
      Are there as many fish as there used to be? The consensus seems to be that there are, but a few dissenters say there aren’t. Most local fishermen say it just seems like fewer because there are so many more boats in the water.
     But Marge Workman says, 'I’ve never seen fish so thick as I did in the ‘40’s when they had that terrifically big humpy run. It looked like you could walk on them between Spieden and Sentinel Islands.'
      Phil Martin says that last year there was one of the biggest chum returns in history. The International Sockeye Commission predicts that this year will be big for humpies and next year for sockeye.
      Most local fishermen praise the work of the Sockeye Commission in building up the runs and conserving fish for the future.
      But offshore trollers, such as George and Karlene Morford, believe that the salmon resource “is in a crisis situation.” They believe that the hatchery programs are being poorly managed, and that salmon are being bred to return either earlier or later than the troll fishery season.
      They are also concerned to see large corporations, such as Weyerhaeuser, getting into the aquaculture business, fearing that not too far into the future the corporations will put pressure on state governments to eliminate the independent fishermen, claiming, “they are our fish.”
      Terry Jackson expresses the same concerns about corporate aquaculture and “changing the fishes’ cycle so they come back in the winter when you couldn’t possibly fish for them.”
      Friday Harbor is not the Morfords’ home, but they’ve been wintering here for three years now, aboard their 70’ east coast sailing schooner, the HELEN McCOLL.
      George has been fishing in Washington for 24 years. He started out fishing in Alaska in a 20’ double-ender with a 7½ hp engine, accompanied only by his dog. He hand trolled then, using rod and reel similar to that used on party fishing boats.
      He says, 'when I first started fishing there weren’t very many fish. It was after the dams had cut the runs, and before the hatchery programs really got started. Trollers were really funky, a real humble kind of fishing.'
      'But in the ‘60s the hatcheries started producing, trollers started making money, and then the price of fish went up and they made even more money. So in the last few years a lot of people have gone into trolling with very expensive gear.'
      It’s more expensive than ever to get into any fishery now, whether trolling, gillnetting, purse seining, or reefnetting. According to Phil Martin, gill net licenses are going for $15,000 now, available only from another fisherman because the state has put a moratorium on new licenses. It would probably take $50,000 or so to get a good used gill net boat and a couple of nets, he says.
      But people keep getting into fishing, and not even the 1974 Boldt decision is discouraging them. That decision allotted 50 percent of the salmon catch to members of certain Indian tribes because of 19th C. treaties with the U.S. government allowing members of the tribes to fish 'in common with' other citizens of the territory.
      The decision was at last argued to the U.S. Supreme Court on 28 February, and a ruling is expected in June.
      One other change may be coming to the local fishing industry, though very slowly. One by one, some of the local fishermen are gearing up for commercial fishing of other than salmon: herring, bottom fish, crab, even dog fish. There isn’t the money in these other fisheries that there is in salmon, but some say it’s coming.
      Probably a fair number of fishermen will do whatever seems necessary to stay in some sort of fishing because, in the words of one of them––probably speaking for all––'I like the freedom and independence of it.”
Above text by Louise Dustrude, Friday Harbor, WA.
Fishing Then and Now, The Island Record, 1979

17 September 2013


Revenue Cutter GUARD
Richardson, Lopez Island, WA. January 1912.
From the archives of the S. P. H. S.
"The Revenue launch GUARD met with a serious mishap when she struck a rock in the narrow channel between Woody and Lopez Islands, close by Richardson. The impact stove a big hole in the bow, the tide was nearly full at the time; as it receded, the vessel was left high upon the rocks, listed over on one side. The small boat was quickly lowered and everything movable was taken off and sent ashore on the fishing boat BILL II, which was on its way to this port. The engineer, deckman, cook, came here also. Mr. Woolford, the officer in command, and the fireman, remaining with the wreck. A message was sent from Richardson to Capt. Dunwoody, at Port Townsend, head of the revenue cutter service on the Sound notifying him of the wreck and asking for assistance. The members of the crew here thought it quite likely that the vessel might be taken from the rocks by the use of two scows and a light draft tug, if the weather continues to be comparatively calm for a day or two.
      The place where the accident occurred is one of the narrowest and most dangerous among the islands. Mr. Woolford is considered a careful and capable navigator and has piloted the GUARD through the channel scores of times. It is supposed that the strong tide set him slightly out of his course. Had he been five feet further off shore he would have passed the reef safely."
    Above words from The San Juan Islander newspaper, 12 January 1912.

February 1912:

"Shier & Johnson, of Bellingham, were the successful bidders for the revenue launch GUARD near Richardson, 10 January, their bid being $603. 

Other bids were as follows: E. A. Sims, Pt. Townsend, $150; John Douglas, Friday Hbr, $500.50; King and Winge, Seattle, $301; H. W. Crosby, Seattle, $450; H. M. McCarthy, Seattle, $575.20; H. P. Hodgson, Richardson, $510.
      It is believed that the government intends to purchase a serviceable boat to replace the GUARD. Capt. Dunwoody, head of the revenue cutter service on the sound is said to have been in Seattle this week looking for a suitable vessel. A steam vessel only, is wanted––one burning either coal or crude oil.
      The GUARD was floated this week and beached near Richardson. She was temporarily patched and towed to Reed's shipyard [Decatur Island] for government repairs."
The San Juan Islander, 2 February 1912.

There is another post on this site about the Revenue Cutter GUARD in her days of chasing rum runners. Rum Runners captured

16 September 2013


"Little-piked" whale, 
Off Double Bluff, Whidby Island, Washington State.
Original photo from the S. P. H. S. , dated 5 July 1954.
"Puget Sound summers not only lure thousands of tourists––now they've convinced a whale this is the place to spend the summer.
      The whale is a full grown little-piked whale. The "little" is misleading. This whale weighs four to five tons.
      For the past four summers the visitor has appeared off the shore of Double Bluff, on the west side of Whidby Island. And the whale is there again this summer [1954].
      Spinning fishermen and Game Department men have had the huge mammal for a fishing partner regularly off Double Bluff, one of the state's top spinning grounds.
      The whale is the smallest species of the baleen whales of the Pacific Coast, maturing at about 27 to 30-ft.
      The first Puget Sound specimen on record was found on the north shore of Admiralty Inlet, a few miles north of Double Bluff, in 1872. It was 27-ft long.
      Little-piked whales reportedly were captured by Indians off Cape Flattery and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
      A young female specimen was captured in a salmon trap off Whidby Island in 1928. It was brought to Seattle, where it was frozen. It still is on exhibit at the Port of Seattle's Frozen Fish Exhibit at the Spokane Street cold-storage warehouse. It is 13-ft long and weighed about 1,400 pounds.
      Two specimens were found in fresh-water tributaries of Puget Sound. In 1929 McAllister Creek Estuary in the Nisqually Valley gave up one, and another swam up the Snohomish River for more than ten miles before it was killed in 1938.
      A whale of this type was found in 1945 on the beach of Waadah Island, Neah Bay, WA. It was thought that this whale fell victim to antisubmarine devices during WW II.
      The little-piked whale feasts on candlefish and does not disturb salmon. It is hunted commercially by Norwegian whalers.
      Many persons have confused the little-piked whale with the  blackfish, or killer whale. The blackfish measures only about 15-ft."
Above text as reported in The Seattle Times, 5 July 1954.
Species map from the IUCN Red List website.

This whale, now more commonly known in the PNW as the Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) has innumerable common names. It is found in all oceans. No known estimate of total global population but estimates from parts of the range in the N. Hemisphere show it is well above threshold for the threatened category. For more information on the habitat see the IUCN Red List here

Double Bluff beach at the State Park ,
South Whidbey's best public beach.
24,000+ ft stretch of beach on the SW shore,
Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

14 September 2013

❖ MARINE SUPPLY AND HARDWARE ❖ Rags to Riches in Heritage and History

Words by Bonnie Graham McDade for the former Washington State Ferries publication Enetai, 14 January 1983.
Marine Supply and Hardware,
Commercial Street, Anacortes, WA.
Web photo by Elizabeth K posted in 2012.
Mural art by Bill Mitchell.

"Steve Demopoulos, has taken the heritage his Greek grandfather built and is revitalizing one of the most intriguing 'discoverable' historic businesses in the Pacific Northwest.
      If you could stand behind the ancient cash register––it doesn't even ring up sales tax––your feet would settle into the furrows made by thousands of impressions on the equally ancient, oiled oak floors where clerks have helped customers pay for their wares during the past [100] plus years at Marine Supply and Hardware in Anacortes.
Making our way in the late morning fog still held heavy to the ground by the wintery idiosyncracies of a coastal fishing town, the wide sidewalk leading toward the Anacortes marinas at the north end of Commercial Street are stirring, low, whistles booming through the seemingly softened air. The historic old rambling building hugs the earth as it undulates over the expanse of its entire city block resting place. Resplendent in a new coat of burnt orange paint and yellow trim, following the same intricate detailing put there many years ago by its charismatic owner Mike Demopoulos, the grande dame of the Washington fishing fleets northern reaches, is taking on yet another spurt of renewed energy.
When Mike Demopoulos made his way from Greece to the furthest reaches of the then US--Anacortes, Washington--Marine Hardware was not even a glint in his eye. It grew, however, from the glint that became the Anacortes Junk Co, named apparently after a courageous and energetic Mike, dubbed by the locals 'Junky Mike.' Picking up all sorts of flotsam and jetsam in and around Anacortes (he even used to take the horse and cart all the way along Reservation and Snee-Oosh roads into LaConner and back, picking up any kind of junk he though somebody would want). His junk company grew and grew.
And his philosophy still lives on.
Grandson Steve Demopoulos, new owner of the shop, remembers his cantankerous and tough grandfather telling him, 'It's only junk, until someone needs it."
And who can scoff at that reasoning. The modern-day garage sale speaks to it with ever-recurring frequency.
It was Mike Demopoulos who opened his junk company near the Anacortes waterfront and became the friend and benefactor of most the northern coast fishing fleet. If Anacortes is nothing else, it is indeed a fishing capital of this particular PNW and its colorful fishing fleet, still very much in existence today, was the mainstay of that economy at the turn of the century.
It was Mike Demopoulos, born in the tiny Greek town of Bralos––about 70-miles north of Athens––who immigrated to the US at age 17. He spoke no English, and when a policeman in Portland, OR, heard him speak, he steered the young Mike to a Greek restaurant where he started his new life.
'All Greeks work in a restaurant sometime in their lives,' laughed Steve.
Mike worked his way up the coast to British Columbia doing almost any kind of job there was available. When he settled in Anacortes, he was experienced, spoke English some, and ready to take on the world.
Starting with what most see as a pile of scrap, Mike Demopoulos bought and sold his way to a minor fortune. Some people say he owned almost all of Anacortes before he died--summer of 1980.
And by the looks of the insides of Marine Supply and Hardware, he bought and sold just about everything else, too.
A trip through the store is an antique buff's dream, a do-it-yourselfers haven, and a walk back through history that will tickle even the most hardened of souls.
In a building that grew like topsy, with add-ons, and more add-ons, where the floors sag in places, the lights hang from single cords, and winds blow through the cracks in the walls, there is very little you can't find.
Today, Steve is organizing what is there. And what is there is worth a whole day of just digging through.
It's a literal museum of 'good stuff'. Mike was a past master at buying surplus––especially government surplus, just about the best you could get. And much of that surplus is still there. Like lots and lots of old wooden nail kegs, barrels, and barrels of different sized and same sized washers, nuts and bolts. Wandering back through the gerrymandered warehouse, there are old seamen’s lamps hanging on the wall, blocks of every size and description.
'You're looking at my granddad', says Steve, a bit wistfully, a bit proud, and with a lot of that Greek fortitude, obviously passed to him through the generations.
From the five-gallon cans of Knickerbocker Pure Penn-Perafin Motor Oil (where the can itself is probably worth as much today as the oil inside in sheer nostalgic value) through miles of the 'the best ropes in town,' to the Home-Laughlin heavy-duty china, it's really a truism what the sign says--'ask for it, we've got it."
     A link to Marine Supply and Hardware, Anacortes, WA., can be seen here

07 September 2013


Book Review

The Building of Roche Harbor Resort by the Tarte Family: Neil Tarte in his own words.
Narration by Neil A. Tarte (1927-2014) to Mitzi Johnson. 
Roche Harbor Resort, San Juan Island, WA.
Large photo dated 1956.
Originals from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"Mitzi Johnson, a long-time resident of Friday Harbor, captures Neil Tarte's words and tone in this delightful book of the history of Roche Harbor Resort during the years that the Tarte family owned it (1956-1989).
      Mitzi had promised Neil's devoted wife, Margaret, who died in 2007, that she would help Neil write his memoir. The first edition was published in 2010. Their recorded conversations are so carefully transcribed that you sense Neil himself, is explaining this story to you.
      Reuben and Clara Tarte, Neil's parents, came to the San Juan Islands in their yacht, CLAREU II, in the 1930s to find that there was no safe place to tie up a yacht––except to pilings. About 20 years later, when they purchased the 4,000 acres and 12 miles of coastline from the McMillin family, they could envision a boater's marina. None existed anywhere.
      All that was left were several buildings from the Roche Harbor Lime and Cement Co (earlier, a Hudson's Bay outpost), workers' cottages, and the McMillin home, along with a crumbling Hotel de Haro.
Hotel de Haro, Roche Harbor Resort
Winter 1958-59

A beauty parlor, snack bar and gift shop 
were installed in the old Hotel. 
Salmon barbecues with 
Indian dance programs were staged for tourists.
Houses for miners' families were filled with motorists.
Original, dated photo from the S. P. H. S.
      It took all the muscle the family had with Reuben, Clara, and Neil, at the helm, to build this magnificent resort. Neil's family and close friends all played a part in turning this 'jewel in the rough' into a location where people would want to come and stay.
      With determination, as they needed things, they would find a way to get them. They were able to restore the crumbling Hotel de Haro into 20 guest rooms (including President Theodore Roosevelt's room). 
Colors Ceremony, 
a tradition begun by Reuben Tarte (1927-2014)
It is performed at dusk every night during the summer,
and familiar to all Roche Harbor regulars.
Photo by Gordon Keith.

From the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

They developed the McMillin family home into a restaurant and bar, and added an outside deck and gazebo. They obtained a liquor license, turned Roche Harbor into a major port of entry for US Customs, and also added a 4,000-ft airstrip.

British blockhouse, June 1960

A favorite boating and beachcombing area 
guests and off duty employees in Garrison Bay,
a short trip south from Roche Harbor. 
Stopping at Garrison Bay's most famous landmark, 

were four young Roche Harbor employees, Gwen Bergh, 
Betsy Neighbor, Bill Brilliant, and Kelvin Vogel.  
The blockhouse dates from the middle of the 1800s.
Original, dated, photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

       Readers will be reminded of long-standing San Juan Island family names. John Wayne would bring his yacht into Roche Harbor in the 1970s, and 'the Duke' would welcome flotillas of visitors. Neil Bay, named after Neil, has been the picturesque neighborhood for dozens of families all these years. The Roche Harbor gardens, designed by Neil's mother, Clara Tarte, delight thousands of visitors annually; many weddings are booked there.
       Today, one takes for granted this beautiful location, but the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating it are worth reading.
      You'll feel like Neil is just telling you what happened."
Review courtesy of writer Suzy Mygatt Wakefield, April 2012.
Tarte, Neil. The Building of Roche Harbor Resort by the Tarte Family. Illumina Publishing 2010.
The Building of Resort book search 

The four photographs with captions in this post are from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©.

02 September 2013


Porcelain plate depicting the FALLS OF CLYDE
New accession donated to S. P. H. S. by Islander Skip Bold.
Artwork by Mark Myers.
Text from the reverse of artwork:"Only a few dozen four-masted full-rigged ships such as FALLS OF CLYDE were ever launched. Those aristocrats of the sea commanded respect and admiration at sea and in port. Captain Fred Klebingat, who served as chief mate in the CLYDE in 1916-1918, recalls meeting her at sea in 1910:
      'There was no need to hoist the ship's number; those on board her knew that we would never mistake the ship and that we knew as well as they did that there was no other vessel like the FALLS OF CLYDE. And so she sped on, her cotton canvas gleaming white in the morning sun. In another hour she was but a speak on the southwest horizon.'
      Built at Port Glasgow in 1878, the CLYDE, named after a series of falls on the River Clyde,  followed three sea careers. She was first an iron Indiaman, calling at such ports as Calcutta, Rangoon, and Karachi. In these years she also stopped in New Zealand, with such cargoes as 'plate and colored cotton, counterpanes, clocks, and watches.' Twenty years later she became passenger ship of the Matson Line, making regular runs to Hawaii. Finally, as sailing ship oil tanker, she operated from Southern California to the Islands for the Associated Oil Co. In 1922 the CLYDE was cut down to a barge and towed to Alaska. There she served for 33 years as a floating oil and gasoline depot. In 1959 FALLS OF CLYDE was towed to Seattle and put up for sale. 
Former Sailing Ship, Arriving Seattle from Alaska.
23 January 1959, owner William W. Mitchell, Jr.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©

Ship lovers on the Pacific Coast and Hawaii rallied to save her from scrapping or scuttling, and citizens of the Hawaiian Islands raised $25,000 in five weeks time to buy the old ship. She was towed to Honolulu in October 1963 to begin a new career as a museum ship."

      The Seattle Times,1963: "The CLYDE was towed to Honolulu from Kennydale, on Lake Washington, Seattle. The only other sailing ship in the US still available for restoration at that time was the WAWONA, moored on Lake Union. Most of the other sailing ships which would have been naturals for restoration in Seattle were purchased by San Francisco. 
      Publicity was given the ship's impending fate, especially by Capt. A. F. Raynaud, Seattle marine surveyor, and one-time sailing-ship skipper credited with renewing the interest of Hawaii residents in the vessel.
      The interest was not hard to arouse. The ship, originally under the British flag, was put under the Hawaiian flag by Capt. William Matson in 1898 and sailed as a Hawaiian ship until Hawaii became a US territory."
      This post honors the new accession, a porcelain plate of the four-master, donated by Skip Bold who inherited it from an uncle. Also, thanks go to Capt. Jack Russell of Sternwheeler Charters of Seattle for several news clippings about the history of the FALLS OF CLYDE.

More history of the life of this ship can be seen  here .

The Falls of Clyde has a Facebook page if you'd like to go there to see an update on her health and welfare and plans for summer of 2018!

01 September 2013

❖ Mysterious Cypress Island ❖ with June Burn in 1946.

CYPRESS ISLAND, San Juan Archipelago
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Day 44 of One Hundred Days in the San Juan Islands, one in a series of newspaper columns June Burn wrote under contract with The Seattle Post Intelligencer in 1946.

"Cypress Island has always been a place of mystery to me. I had heard that legend of the young princess who was thrown off Eagle Cliff at the north end because she consorted with the enemy. I had read Vancouver's account of entering Strawberry Bay and finding anchorage in a 'fine, sandy bottom' on the west side of the island, which, ' producing an abundance of upright cypress obtained the name Cypress Island.'
It was off Cypress that one of Vancouver's vessels, the CHATHAM, lost her anchor (would any shred of its iron be there yet?) off the rocky east side of the island.
Cypress, too, is the only one of the islands where the rhododendrons grow,  or used to grow, in rich abundance, it's dark fir-ed peaks all a-flower in May.
Native Rhododendron macrophyllum,
The state flower of Washington.
Do they still grow on Cypress Island??

But, 5,500 acres big, covering eight and one-half miles, Cypress has, ever since I've known it, been uninhabited. Yet it is near the mainland. It has two fairly good harbors, one very good one, several shallow bays and nice beaches, some lowland, and a great abundance of timber.
Perhaps it's story is another one of the sad stories of Puget Sound. Perhaps they logged it to hideous ugliness a generation ago so that it has been all this time getting back its fine coast of timber. Or, perhaps it lacks water or easy access.
Whatever the reason, people haven't lived on Cypress much or long.  I imagine it has a grand smuggling history––if smuggling can be as grand an adventure as old romantic tales have cracked it up to be. Since fish traps were outlawed in WA [1934], there has been a great deal of reefnetting off Cypress.
We hadn't meant to go ashore on Cypress, but to pass the high massive beast well to the south, on our way to Guemes. But, of course, the wind and the tide took us in tow, as always, and the first thing we knew we were practically on the boulder strewn south beach of the huge, silent island. It was getting on towards night, too. Take a look at the chart and see where the best harbor is––it'll have to be on the eastern shore, we can't get around to Strawberry Bay in this tide.
AND THAT is how we discovered for the first time that fine harbor called Deep Water Bay with the inner bay called Secret Harbor. Ha! There would be nobody at all there, not even the reefnet fishermen. We'd have this night world all to ourselves and get a little writing done before going on next morning.
We rounded the domed peak which is the southwest portion of Cypress, blew right on around into the mouth of Deep Water Bay and––why, there's a cluster of little white cabins on a low level valley between two immense wooded hills. Is this Switzerland? This is unlike anything we've seen in the islands.
Our white jib and red mainsail take us scooting on in to the dock. There is a man there. He waves. As we draw alongside we see that it is Mr. Shaw whom we used to know in Bellingham. He is running this tiny village of cabins, hasn't much trouble talking us into one of them for the night, hospitable and that he is, and Mrs. Shaw also.
This spot on Cypress seems to have been homesteaded 50 odd years ago by Joe and Mike Cadboy, relatives of the Shaws. They built a log barn back up in the valley and left a pair of harnesses in it 40 years ago which are still there, intact, except one bridle which Mr. Shaw took. I don't know whether that is a comment on the disappearance of horses, on the honesty of people around here, or on the isolation of Cypress Island!
See you tomorrow. June."

Two years after June's essay is posted the below newspaper article comes to the surface: 

A party of twenty two attended a picnic at Cypress Island, Rhododendron Day, 14 May. The launch DAWN, on which the party went, brought home a large load of beautiful flowers, and all brought plants for transplanting." 
San Juan Islander, 20 May 1910.

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