"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 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.

30 March 2016


BERMUDA (center)
Showing off her lovely sheer,
location and date of photo unknown.

This image was kindly shared by 
Captain Lawrence Lowell "Larry" Crawford (1917-2011)
 a cousin to the Fowler clan,
 who grew up playing on the shores of Shaw Island.

The wooden cannery tender/tug BERMUDA was built at Hoffman Cove, Shaw Island, in 1908-1909, by boatbuilder Delbert E. Hoffman, who came to the San Juan Islands in the 1880s. The vessel was built for three island brothers, E.B. "Bert", Jr., F.E. "Gene," and William Fowler. 
      Local historians have not heard of BERMUDA ever leaving her home waters of the northwest.
      From the Master Carpenter's Certificate (MCC) filed with the federal government when the vessel owner chooses to register the new craft as a documented vessel, we learn when, where, and for whom BERMUDA was built. In an interview with one of Gene's sons, Captain Earl Fowler, late into his long life, it appeared easy for him to recollect the BERMUDA and the days his family was associated with her operation. For three commercial fishing seasons they hauled salmon for Apex Fish Cannery, owned and operated by cousin Lee Wakefield, in Anacortes, WA.
Undated photo purchased from the PSMHS
Click to enlarge.

BERMUDA was later sold to a bridge and dredging company that built bridges and engineered deep water dredging around the Sound. Several years later she was re-engined, giving up her 50-HP Troyer-Fox. She went out of registry sometime between the years 1938 and 1941. Earl Fowler, who was a lad of six when she was launched, remembers seeing her laying in Pt. Townsend when he was working on another Hoffman built tug, the EDNA.
ON 206177
scan from an original photo
from the George Stillman family.

      Ninety years after launching, the above vintage photo of BERMUDA underway in local waters, showed up in the photo album of Earl's school buddy, George Stillman. Stillman was another Shaw Island native who "took to the boats," as a young man educated at the one room grade school.
      Thank you to Ivaloe Stillman Meyers and sister Mary Ellen Stillman Carpenter, descendants of pioneer families of Shaw Island, for sharing their knowledge of island history.
      These three images are the only known photos of the island-built BERMUDA. There are no known photos of the Hoffman yard on the south side of Shaw Island. Do you know of one? Could be a prize awarded.

We know Hoffman was building as early as 1895 when he had just completed six new 22-ft  x 7.5-ft boats for Island Packing Co of Friday Harbor. They were described in the Islander  newspaper as "heavy strip-built with oak gunnels and washboards with a small mainsail only. They row very easily for a boat that size & run like a deer, under canvas, in a light breeze."

Hoffman built a tug, ARTHUR G. for Joseph S. Groll by commuting across the channel to Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island during 1900, with launching the following February. Does anyone have a photo of this vessel??

ON 206177
US Documentation:
47.15' x 11.8' x 4.7'
G.t. 14.70
N.t. 10
Launched with 50-HP Troyer-Fox gas engine.
Built during 1908 and 1909 by D.E. Hoffman (1870-1915,) Master Carpenter, [at Hoffman Cove,] Shaw WA.
Source of dimensions: MCC purchased from the National Archives, PNW, Seattle, WA. 

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