"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

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 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:

Brig LADY WASHINGTON
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

❖ THE EASY ROUTE TO ALASKA ❖

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

❖ HARD ASHORE AT BUCK BAY, ORCAS ISLAND, WA. ❖

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

❖ DEAN OF MARINERS on the SOUND ❖


Capt. Sam Barlow
1870-1938
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.

25 May 2019

❖ THE SUCIA ISLANDS ❖


Rock formations in the
Sucia Islands group,
click image to enlarge.
Top photo is known to be by professional photographer,
J.A. McCormick, a part-time, early resident of
Friday Harbor, WA. He traveled the area to
capture trap fishers on the water and the
village and farm life on shore.
Photos from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

Georgia Strait 
Day Fourteen of One Hundred Days in the San Juans
June Burn, 1946.
      

"We’re headed for Sucia after the perfect night at Patos Island. The tide is far out, again, going further. The rocks of the gourd-shaped Patos come out to meet us to the very edge of their shelf. The long island sits there so quietly, not a soul around except a big blue heron standing on one leg. Now he flies, flapping away, long legs dangling.
      The trees on Patos are short and wind-blunted. Winter’s southeasters must tear across this island like somebody going to a fire –– now we must leave these pastel bluffs behind and strike across another opening in Georgia Strait for Sucia. Farrar steadily rowing. The light breeze is against us but the tide still ebbs toward Sucia (we hope.)
      The San Juanderer is an easy boat to row, so heavy that when it gets up momentum it tends to keep going. By that token, I thought, a battleship might be still easier, but Farrar says you couldn’t get it started in the first place. Remember that: buy the heaviest boat you can possibly start and maybe it won’t ever stop and you’ll go on around the world in it — just like that. Provided you have no tides! This one we’re in now can’t make up its mind whether it’s going back to Patos or on to Sucia or off in some other direction altogether and Farrar’s dictum about the heavy boat is meaningless here. We’ve been just off Sucia for a half hour — for an hour. I’ve been rowing meanwhile—for two hours — I’ve been rowing some more — ahh! We get around that, too...and here is Fossil Bay after four hours of rowing a little more than four miles.

      The high cliffs of Sucia rise above us on two sides, the head of the bay a low, narrow neck of land connecting with a bay on the other side — Fox Bay.
Sucia Islands are in the northern part of the archipelago. They were named by the Spaniard, Eliza, in 1792. The name means “foul” or “dirty,” referring not to the island but to the rocks and reefs which lie everywhere around. Huge boulders, round, square, all shapes and sizes, lie in tumbles on the beach, seem to have taken root and grown into reefs just offshore. Boats skirt this island with caution. But once in these bays, there is security!
      
The Sucias are 749 acres in area. There are eight islands. In the cluster with myriad bays between. A whole school of peninsulas. One of the islands seems to have no name other than “one of the fingers.” The names of others are Sucia, Little Sucia lying off the west shore, Herndon Island, a mere dot in Fossil Bay, North and South Finger Islands, lying parallel in Echo Bay, and Ewing Island, off the eastern end of the big horseshoe.
      The bays are comparatively shallow but deep enough for any of the pleasure cruisers that play around here. The bluffs are high, all but unclimbable with their tumble of boulders. The low portions are rich in growth. Madrona trees, like glossy Magnolias, are thick on all the islands. Wind-torn junipers give an ancient look to the place and the blown firs a worn-out look as if Sucia were old and weary. The wild and formidable mess of rocks completes the picture.
      As we come slowly into Fossil Bay we see the curious “guest book” on Herndon Island’s rock face. The names are of boats rather than of individuals which makes it more interesting.

      A boat comes purring out of the bay, looks at us, goes out again. A kingfisher alights on a high boulder, makes his sudden, powerful dive after a fish, goes off with it. Two bald eagles go screaming by, seagulls after them, barn swallows dipping and darting among the gleaming madronas. As we draw into shore, we see the clams spurting in the shale and when we go on shore, I hear the eternal clicking of the knitting needles as a million barnacles shut their traps.
      We take out a few lunch things, make a cup of coffee and sit on the rocks of the beach for lunch. It is 12:30. The silence sings in the treetops. The sun lies still and hot over the water and on our bare feet. It is a summer afternoon on a San Juan Island.
      But on the whole, you can have your beautiful Sucias! Their bold, steep bluffs, the madrona thickets, and the junipers, the endless shoreline full of boulders, the beaches, and the shallow bays. After Patos and Waldron and even Skipjack, this looks like the end of the world, wild, and dead, forgotten, unloved."


June Burn. Author, journalist, happy camper from San Juan and Whatcom counties was under contract with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to write columns of her sailing days through the San Juan archipelago in 1946.
      In the 1980s, this collection of published newspaper articles, One Hundred Days in the San Juans, was published in book format by editors on staff with the well-known owners of Longhouse Printcrafters, Friday Harbor, WA. 

06 May 2019

❖ OPENING DAY WEEKEND CLOSING DOWN

Washington State Ferry
Last run of a picture perfect weekend
Harney Channel from Blakely Island
Anno Five May 2019
Click image to enlarge.
Thank you to photographer Lance Douglas©

21 April 2019

❖ HARNEY CHANNEL ❖

Happy Easter 2019
Coming from Harney Channel
Photograph courtesy of Lance Douglas,
Blakely Island, San Juan Archipelago, WA.

16 April 2019

❖ FIRST HOME IN 1950 ❖ ALOTOLA

ALOTOLA 
Skipper: Charles Frisbie.
Photographed in 1947 
Kenneth G. Ollar
The Brotchie Head start was 12:30 PM.
Original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Hist. Society©

The hungry Thirties had been hard on Northwest boat builders, but by 1935 things were definitely on the move again. Blanchard's yard had managed to keep their crew together by mass producing their popular 23-ft Knockabout. It became increasingly obvious that there was a market for a really capable sailing craft; one that not only had a fair turn of speed but one that could accommodate four or five persons for family cruising.
      Young Ben Seaborn was working as an apprentice in the yard at the time and spent all his spare moments and evenings sketching boats. From his father, he had inherited a natural gift for the development of sweet lined hulls for sail craft of many types. One day, during the lunch hour when the crew was gathered, Norman Blanchard Sr asked a straightforward question––"Why can't we build a good looking family cruiser that will really sail?"
      Ben took up that challenger and went immediately to his drafting board. In a matter of days, he came back with the plans for a sleek racer-cruiser. The boat that was to become Tolo had been born. Without delay, the lines were laid down and within a month she began to take shape. Now enter Charlie Frisbie, insurance salesman supreme. Frisbie took one long look at the boat on her cradle in the big shed––and bought her on the spot. 
      She was christened TOLA, destined under Frisbie's skilled drive to lead the Pacific Northwest into a new era. For the next five years, Charlie Frisbie and TOLA were inseparable. If anyone on the PIYA circuit had ideas of winning, he knew that he had to beat TOLA first. During WW II, TOLA was sold, as her skipper enlisted in the US Navy. 
      By wars end, Charlie Frisbie was a full-fledged captain. When he mustered out, he bought a 57-foot Alden Schooner, sailing her up to Seattle from California. He promptly christened his new love ALOTOLA. ALOTOLA first appeared at Swiftsure in 1948*. The sweet Alden sheer of her gleaming black hull, offset by a truly romantic schooner rig, made her an immediate favourite of the photographers and fans.
      By 1950, Frisbie had grown tired of just being picturesque. He wanted to win some races. With this in mind, he converted ALOTOLA to a 7/8 rig sloop. With the rig came new life. 
OFF TO THE START for the 1950
SWIFTSURE RACE,
VICTORIA, BC.
ALOTOLA was first home.

Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©


ALOTOLA was first boat home in Swiftsure 1950. Garry Horder was one of the crew. He recalls this incredible event: "ALOTOLA's crew, with the exception of myself, was made up of Charlie's cronies who had served with him in the Navy. There were commanders, captains, and at least one rear admiral, and every one of them tried to run the ship! It was a circus, but one of the happiest trips I ever made."
      Charles Frisbie was very much a part of the yachting scene wherever yachts gathered in Puget Sound. With his infectious accent, irresistible laugh, and great voice, he endeared himself to all he met. Buoyant, fun-loving, a master raconteur, gentleman, and above all, a sailor man's sailor, he was unique. To sit with friends in the spacious cabin of ALOTOLA and watch the magic fingers of the skipper as he fashioned an intricately knotted garter for the leg of the prettiest girl aboard was one of life's rare moments. His salty wit, shining eyes, and flying fingers always left some happy girl with the souvenir of a lifetime, plus memories of ALOTOLA to last forever!
       In 1959 Charlie Frisbie and his wife Betsy set out for San Francisco with the ultimate goal of sailing ALOTOLA through Panama, across the Atlantic, for a year cruising the Mediterranean. At the end of this voyage, ALOTOLA was sold in Greece. She has been reported many times since by visiting yachtsmen and still in wonderful shape, busy chartering.
      When the Frisbies returned to Seattle, they attended several more Swiftsures as spectators in their Newport motor sailer. Through his two loves, TOLA and ALOTOLA, Charlie Frisbie gave much to yachting. His name will ever be deeply engraved in the legend that is forever––Swiftsure."
Humphrey Golby and Shirley Hewett. SWIFTSURE, the First Fifty Years. Victoria, B.C. Lightship Press Limited. 1980.

1947 Swiftsure
1.  OWENS CUTTER, Chas Ross, 1st overall.
2.  DORADE, Franklin Eddy, SYC
3.  MARUFFA, John Graham, SYC.
4.  SEAWEED, Gus Gratzer, SYC
5.  ALOTOLA, Charles Frisbie, SYC.
6.  CIRCE, Ray Cooke, SYC.
7.  ANGELICA, John Locke, SYC.

*The above finishers as listed in SWIFTSURE, the First Fifty Years. Humphrey Golby and Shirley Hewett. 1980.

Hello ALOTOLA og crew in Danmark.
      
   

02 April 2019

❖ FISHING OFF THE GUT SCOW ❖

Friday Harbor Packing Co.
Original photo from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
"In 1894, three men from Astoria, Oregon, Johnny Devlin, Fred Keen, and Phillip Cook, came to San Juan Island looking for a good place to start a fish cannery. They built the Friday Harbor Packing Co where the Cannery Condominiums are now, near the ferry landing. I started to work in the Friday Harbor fish cannery in the summer of 1942 when I was fifteen years old. By then its name had been changed to the Friday Harbor Canning Co.
      In those days you had to have a permit to work if you were under sixteen, and I got my permit from Howard Carter. My brother, Albert, started working at the cannery that same summer. He was only twelve at the time. Leith Wade, the superintendent of the cannery, told us that we were doing a man's work so he was going to pay us a man's wage. My mom also worked in the cannery that summer, in fact, my mom worked in canneries for 48 years.
      
A bounty of salmon
Friday Harbor Packing Company,

San Juan Island, WA.
original photo from the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
In the years when there were big fish runs, many people worked 15-18 hour days. Some even longer. Sometimes in the 1940s, there would be 100,000 fish on the floor when we came to work. The canneries, fish buyers, and purse seine boats in the northwest would all be swamped. We worked such long hours that some of the guys would not even bother to go home. They would just sleep for a couple of hours in the boiler room or on the salt sacks. When it was busy like that, people would come down to the cannery to work and help us out after their businesses closed for the day. I remember Blair King and Alfie Middleton doing that.
      In the 1930s, 40s, and the early 50s, the fishermen worked 6 days a week. They would come into the docks on Friday afternoon and would be gone by Saturday afternoon. There would be a fishermen dances at the Moose Hall every Friday night. The old Moose Hall is now the Front Street Cafe and Boardwalk Bookstore.
      In the late 1930s and early 40s, a lot of us kids would go fishing off of the gut scow. 
Young boys fishing off
the Gut Scow.
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA.

original photo from
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
The gut scow was where the heads and insides of the cannery fish went. We caught a lot of herring, as there were hundreds feeding off the little pieces of fish and blood that ran off of the scow into the water. When the scow was full, the tug CHALLENGER towed it to Anacortes where the remains were ground up.
      In the 1950s we used to have freezer ships come to our cannery with frozen fish from Alaska. They would unload just so many fish into the cannery from the freezer ship so they could thaw overnight. The cannery had a water sprinkler system to thaw the fish, and then they would be canned along with what fresh fish were caught the day before in our local waters. We had to skin and bone the fish by hand, and then hand pack and can them in 1/2-pound glass jars and the jars sold for fifty cents. In 1953 Bud Murray and I started working on the Iron Chink, which is a machine that cuts the head off the fish, then cuts off the tails and fins, then slits the belly and brushes out the insides. At high speed, the Iron Chink would do 72 fish a minute."

Written by Tony Surina, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Courtesy of Terry Jackson, John Wade, and Wally Botsford, The Fishermen and the Fisheries of the San Juan Islands. Unknown date of publishing.

31 March 2019

❖ THE MAIL BOAT WATER BABY (Updated.)

WATER BABY
ON 239444
Built by Albert Jensen & Sons Shipyard, 

Friday Harbor, WA.
For Captain Clyde Welcome, March 1940.
Photo courtesy of Nourdine Jensen.
Just turned 31 years of age, Clyde Welcome had done a remarkable job of making boyhood boating dreams turn into realities born March 18 1913, in Anacortes, WA, his favorite toys were boats whittled out of pickets pulled from a neighboring fence. Then his parents moved to Port Orchard, across the bay from the Puget Sound Navy Yard, and it was here that Clyde attended school and grew up under the frowning guns of the battleships, ever dreaming of a life on the rolling sea.
      Neptune's call was insistent and at the ripe old age of 17, Clyde stowed his textbooks, bid farewell to all his schoolmates, and joined the Navy. The following four years with Uncle Sam laid a substantial foundation for his future nautical career. In January 1934, he was paid off with an honorable discharge, and for the next year or so worked in logging camps around Bellingham. It was here that the love bug nipped him; he checked in one day with a round-turn around his neck (the colloquial term in lumber camps for getting hitched), married to Miss Dorothy Peterman.
      In 1936 the irresistible urge to be on the water again came to the lad and he purchased the LISTER, powered with a 16-horse gas engine, with which he engaged in a bit of fishing, towing, and now and then pinch-hitting for one of the mail-route boats.
      The boy was an intrepid navigator. With the responsibility of a mail contract of his own, he braved many a storm with his tiny craft just to get the mail through, while much larger boats were tied up at Shaw Island and Upright Head. The memorable storm of Dec. 12 1939, ended the LISTER's career. She was laying at anchor near Tide Point on Cypress Island with no one aboard, and during the night slipped her mooring and was dashed to pieces at Point Lawrence.
      The loss of the LISTER was quite a blow to our happy-go-lucky mail carrier, but he was endowed with a lot of what it takes to stage a come-back and immediately made preparations for building the boat of his dreams, the WATER BABY. She was built in the Jensen yard at Friday Harbor and, says Clyde, "no trimmer or better-built craft ever slid down the ways of any yard." She is 48 feet overall and 12 feet beam, with honest construction throughout every inch of her.


The Master Carpenter's Certificate 
Signed by Albert Jensen.
Click image to enlarge.
Copy on file from the National Archives, Seattle.

      The WATER BABY took to water in March 1940 and was towed to Seattle where a used 44-hp diesel engine was installed. With a great deal of well-earned pride, Capt. Welcome put his dream boat through all of the hoops on her shake-down trip; then with a brand-new boat and a brand-new 4-year mail contract with Uncle Sam, the lad headed back to the San Juan Islands to do his stuff.

      There was no busier or happier boy in that neck of the woods. He and his new boat kept the mail on the go in all kinds of weather. You will never see Clyde looking around for some flat water to run on, for he had his new 60-hp Atlas diesel installed in the WATER BABY and she ran like a scared wolf, cutting through the lumpy seas like a crash-boat on a mission. Clyde said the happiest moments of his life (outside of being home with his wife and kiddies) was when he was in the wheelhouse of his dream-boat with the wild waves breaking over the top and the sea-birds wheeling and screaming overhead.
      Scutt gives a salute to Captain Clyde Welcome and his WATER BABY. They were both aces –– the biggest pair in the deck.
Scuttle Butt Pete. PACIFIC MOTOR BOAT, April 1944.

According to the Friday Harbor Journal, Clyde Welcome and the WATER BABY held the mail contract until 1948.

1960: Sadly in February of this year four fishermen were lost from the fishing boat FEARLESS, loaded with king crab and sunk in a 65-mile per hour gale. 
They were recovered by the Coast Guard. One of the men lost was Clyde Welcome. 

29 March 2019

❖ STEAM TUG BUDS ❖

Six very important members of the club.
R-L: DANIEL KERN

RICHARD HOLYOKE
PROSPER
PURITAN
PEERLESS
LEWIS II
Click image to enlarge.
Undated original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
"The steam tug RICHARD HOLYOKE, a product of a small shipyard situated near a steam sawmill at Seabeck on the east shore of Hood Canal, had the distinction of being one of the most versatile tugboats ever built in Kitsap County. 
Built in the year 1877 under the supervision of Hiram Doncaster, a native of Nova Scotia, and ably assisted by William McCurdy at Port Townsend (whose descendants' firm would build the destroyer TURNER JOY) and a number of skilled shipwrights, the HOLYOKE, as she was oftentimes called in the news media, remained in continuous service for nearly seven decades. Originally owned by the principals of the Washington Mill Co of Seabeck, Washington Territory, RICHARD HOLYOKE was named in honor of Richard Holyoke, the resident manager of the mill, who later became the first president of the National Bank of Commerce in Seattle.
      Of wooden construction, this 116-foot vessel, following installation of a 600
horsepower steam engine served as a multi-purpose tug operating out of San Francisco for six years. Her owners then brought her back to Puget Sound to utilize her specifically for towing sailing vessels to the Seabeck mill, situated near the present-day Seabeck store, from the open sea off Cape Flattery. HOLYOKE would return them to their ocean element once mill workers and the ships crews loaded them with sawn lumber. Her first major change in ownership took place in 1891 when the RICHARD HOLYOKE became a unit of the Puget Sound Tug Boat Company, a combine of the steam tugs of four different large lumber companies, two of which were located in Kitsap County.
      During this period of HOLYOKE's history, she gained the reputation of being probably the most versatile vessel in the PSTB Co fleet, which eventually grew to 12 vessels. As such, she towed a variety of sailing ships, [Yukon] Gold Rush steamers, barges, and log rafts as far north as St. Michael, Alaska and as far south as San Francisco over a period of 27 years. She served in this capacity until 1918, when PSTB Co sold her to the Port Blakely Mill Co during World War I. By the early 1920s, although she was nearing her half-century mark in operation, her owners, the Bellingham Tug and Barge Co kept her operating mainly on Puget Sound waters. These operations lasted until the later days of the Great Depression in the 1930s when HOLYOKE was deemed obsolete and was laid up in Bellingham as unprofitable to operate.
      In 1940 new owners salvaged her steam power plant and converted her into a towing barge. Then, with the eruption of World War II and the increasing need of freight tonnage, another new owner, recognizing that HOLYOKE was still structurally sound, deemed her suitable to use as an all-purpose freight boat and repowered her with a 300-hp diesel engine, eventually sending her as far north as Alaska. This service lasted until 1947."
The Kitsap Historian. Michael Jay Mjelde. Fall of 2012. p.4.

1904: The HOLYOKE took 36 survivors from the Clallam wreck after an all-night search for her in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Mate Edward D. Hickman dove into the water and rescued 15 Clallam passengers. He long suffered ill health after this exploit in the icy waters and died in 1928 at age 52.
1940: The historic steam tug RICHARD HOLYOKE, out of service for almost a decade was sold by Bellingham Tug and Barge to Metal Conservation Corp of Seattle. It was planned to rebuild the old vessel as a motor salvage ship powered by a 500 HP diesel and with the house moved aft to provide cargo space for 350 tons of salvage material to be recovered from vessels wrecked in Alaskan wasters. The project was never completed and the sturdy, old hull, built by Doncaster and W.A. McCurdy at Seabeck in 1877 was abandoned in Lake Union. H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNW. Gordon Newell, editor. Seattle. Superior Publishing. 1966
Past officers/crew:
engineer J. Ray Ludlow (1866-1897)
Capt. Michael Bourke
Capt. Robert Hall with the attempt to tow the stricken Clallam to port.
Capt. C. E. Staggs
Chief Engineer Frank H. Newhall
Mate Edward D. Hickman

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