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

About Us

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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 700, 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.

31 March 2019


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 (updated) ❖

Six very important members of the club.

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.
ON 110335
Built 1877
Owned by Puget Sound Tug Boat Co
between 1891-1918.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Of wooden construction, this 116-foot vessel, following installation of a 600 HP 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.

1904The 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 waters. 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:
Chief engineer J. Ray Ludlow (18?-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

23 March 2019


Cattle Point Light Station
San Juan Island, WA.

Undated image from the USCG Museum, Seattle, WA.

Standing proud through the salt spray, fog, high tides and low, here is a bird's eye view of one of the lights guarding the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
      In 1960 when historian Lucile McDonald visited San Juan Island, as she did many times, she found "to gain entry to this light station, it was a drive on a tortuous route along the cliffs on the southeast end of the island and through a locked gate. The road was for access to the lighthouse and for trucking to and from fish-buying scows stationed near the small inlet known as Fish Creek.
      The hill along which the road passes is Mount Finlayson (only 292 feet elevation), named for Roderick Finlayson, a Hudson’s Bay Company employee, who in 1846 posted the island as the property of Great Britain. Another representative of the company already had visited San Juan in July 1845 and erected a wooden tablet in the Cattle Point area.
      The name of the point first appeared on a British Admiralty chart of 1859, probably as the result of the trading company’s having landed cattle there for Belle Vue Farm, its development on the island. 
      A more famous landing in the area occurred during the beginning of the border dispute in 1859 when Colonel Silas Casey debarked several companies of troops near the point from fog-bound vessels and made a surprise march to American Camp to enforce Capt. George Pickett. The latter had occupied the island with a small command at the beginning of the international boundary dispute with Great Britain.
      Casey surveyed a military reservation on the south end of the island, but Paul K. Hubbs Jr, a customs inspector, claimed a portion of Mount Finlayson and established a farm there. Hubbs called the farm Floraville, for his wife, Flora.
Hubbs sold his farm in 1868 to John Franklin Bryant, a soldier at American Camp, who received his discharge on San Juan Island.
      A year after acquiring the land, Bryant drowned while fishing. His widow, an Irish woman, remarried about 1871. Her second husband, John George Jakle, was her next neighbor to the west of the Bryant property. He was another former soldier who had served with the island occupation force, accepted his discharge on San Juan and homesteaded there.
      Jakle raised sheep. After the lighthouse was built in 1888, he tended it for the government. He rode horseback from his home to the beacon, carrying oil in five-gallon tin cans as it was needed for the light, then only a lantern on a wooden post to guide local boatmen into San Juan Channel. 
      The lantern and oil-storage shack were replaced in 1935 by a small white square concrete house with an octagonal tower and a battery-operated 90-candlepower white light. This controlled automatically by a sun relay, which turned it on and off to conserve the battery in bright daylight.
      No farmer is needed to service the modern lantern, it is cared for by the coast guard base in Seattle except in emergencies when the keeper drives over from Lime Kiln Light on the west side of the island.
      The greater portion of Cattle Point, except for the lighthouse reservation, was owned by Kenneth Dougherty, whose grandfather moved to San Juan Island in the early days of the lime industry.
      Dougherty bought the land from Jakle who told him about the days when migrating Native Americans by the hundreds camped at the neck of land between Fish Creek and Goose Island, cooked fish and clams at their beach fires, and played gambling games.”
Historian/author Lucile McDonald. The Seattle Times, March 4 1960
For modern-day photographs of Cattle Point Light and directions please CLICK HERE

12 March 2019


O.N. 96233
Built 1893 at what was known on her US
documentation papers as Pontiac, WA.
Ordered by Capt. W.K. Curtis but sold before completion
to Capt. John L. Hansen.
HATTIE was later renamed SECHELT
by last owners in B.C., Canada.
71' x 15.7' x 6.6'
113 G.t. / 77 N.t.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo collected by J. Williamson; from the
archives of the Saltwater People Log©

"Between the day that the Annie Gray went into service, and the night the Rosario was taken out of it, Hostmark saw cross-sound transportation develop. His career was linked closely with the companies which built up the routes, fought each other bitterly in the days of competition, and gradually brought about an integrated system. One of the transportation pioneers was Capt. John L. Hansen of the Hansen Transportation Co. One of his boats was the Hattie Hansen, named in honor of the captain's daughter.
      Alf Hostmark loved both the girl and the boat. In 1897 he married the daughter and became the skipper of the boat named for her.
      In 1907, when the Kitsap County Transportation Co., was formed, Hostmark was one of its organizers, along with W.L. Gazzam and H.A. Hansen, a skipper, and O.L. Hansen, an engineer, sons of Capt. John J. Hansen.
      Those were the days of rugged individualists, with no holds barred as skippers and their boats fought for passengers, freight, and sea room. Races between the boats were common, and collisions frequent. 
      One bitter rivalry was between Capt. Hostmark, then on the steamboat Kitsap, and Captain Chris Moe of the Monticello. Eventually, their two boats crashed.
      Capt. Hostmark, righteously indignant, charged that Captain Moe deliberately had him run down. 
       Steamboat inspectors, more tolerant of such things than their successors are now, decided that the accident wouldn't have occurred "had the masters been on friendly terms," and the best thing to do was forget it.
      Both men could laugh about it later. They became fast friends."
Source: The Seattle-Times, 30 December 1951. 

Dated June 1951.
He started sailing Puget Sound in 1889
when he family arrived from Norway.
His father Capt. Adolph Hostmark operated
the post office where Poulsbo was later established.
Capt. Alf commanded the HATTIE HANSEN,
the HYAK, and was skipper for the Black Ball Line
until the merger with Puget Sound Navigation Co.
When WA. State Ferries took over, the captain
was in command of the Fauntleroy-Vashon
run until a heart attack slowed his course in 1953.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

March 1911:
The SECHELT began running on the Victoria-Sooke route (with her new name) although most Victoria shipping men considered the narrow little craft unfit for service in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and prophesy of trouble was frequent.

24 March 1911: Near Race Rocks, lost with all hands, 18, crew and passengers.
      There is some incorrect information posted on a Seattle website accessed recently. There were no survivors.
      Because of the loss of life, there was a huge BC government investigation. This is posted on Library and Archives Canada regarding the steamer SECHELT  and her quick plunge 40 fathoms down in a south-west gale. 
       The crown examined a Surveyor for Lloyds Register of Shipping, a senior lighthouse keeper, a steamboat inspector, chief engineer, a surveyor, long-time ship masters, a superintendent of the marine railway, a boiler & machinery inspector, dock agent, wharfinger, a hull inspector, examiner of masters & mates, the lone eye witness and one of the two owners who was not on board for the trip. There were inquiries into the depth of hold, the term shade deck, scupper gates, mean draft, cargo ports, belt combing, broken sea at Race Rocks, an eddy wind, hand deck pump, reserve buoyancy, the character of the mate, dimensions of the hatch, the contents of the freight, where it was stowed, how much it weighed, the lines of the vessel and much more, I am still reading the 400+ pages.
H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest; Gordon Newell, editor. Seattle, WA., Superior Publishing. 
Library and Archives Canada
List of US Merchant Vessels of the US. 1901. p. 250.

02 March 2019

❖ Cannon Hunters Expedition –– Seattle to Cozumel Island ❖ 1966

Hunting treasures of the deep off Mexico,
divers returned to a fishing boat with underwater finds.
Cannon Hunters Association of Seattle, WA.
Expedition date of 1966.
Photograph from the archives of
Saltwater People Historical Log©
Janice Krenmayr, Seattle Times, 7 August 1966 ▼

"Cozumel Island, according to early Spanish colonizers, was the Rome of the Mayan kingdom.
      The remains of causeways, they wrote, could be seen traversing the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. From the great city of Chicken Itza, they fled across the sea to Cozumel, hanging 12 miles offshore like a jewel in the Mayan crown.
      Pilgrims from all over Mexico and Guatemala visited Cozumel as a sanctuary, to seek advice or remission of sins from an idol which like the Greek oracle of Delphi, gave mysterious replies. 
      Tourists in the past few decades have flocked to see the ruins of Chichen Itza. Until only four years ago, Cozumel remained a forgotten sanctuary, her coverlet pulled over a brilliant past. 
      The island has been 'discovered' and is drawing modern pilgrims, seeking unusual vacation spots.
      So CHAOS, the Cannon Hunters Association of Seattle went to Cozumel to dive and locate cannons from centuries-old wrecks. I went along to discover the forgotten sanctuary like a modern pilgrim.

On the beach at Akumal

      Only a hundred yards distant from my door was a solid, impenetrable wall of green. Who knows what lay behind that forbidding, green grille? Long forgotten Mayan temples, hidden in their jungle shrouds?
      Cozumel was the cradle of the Latin American conquest.
      Juan de Grivalja was the first navigator to set foot on Mexican soil at Cozumel in 1518 and to open a friendly intercourse with the natives.
      Pablo Bush Romero, explorer, and director of CEDAM, the Mexican underwater exploration association, which was cooperating with our CHAOS expedition, made us feel like modern conquistadores as we sipped cool drinks on the hotel dining patio overlooking the ocean.
      Romero has made many rich finds as head of CEDAM by searching the remains of ships which followed Cortez into the Caribbean seas.
      'You have no idea of the rich possibilities of this area, it is virtually undiscovered.' 
      'There is not even a passable trail across Cozumel Island, and there are Mayan temples and cities throughout Yucatan that remain to be explored.
      'A man from your own area, Robert O. Lee, of Portland, led a team of scientists across the Yucatan jungles last year and discovered many new ruins.'
      CEDAM divers, in another activity, brought up more than 15,000 items from the MATANCERO wreck, described as the riches find."

Janice Krenmayr, Seattle Times, August 14 1966 ▼

Hewitt Jackson,
Cannon hunter expedition from Seattle, WA.,
 snorkeling at Cozumel 1966
The great day had finally arrived. CHAOS was going on its first treasure hunt.
      Gathering at the hotel dock on Cozumel Island, were a motley looking crew, bags bulging with suntan lotion, masks, snorkels, cotton gloves, and long winter underwear for protection against sharp coral.
      Duffle bags stuffed with camp gear were piled in the hold of the 32-ft auxiliary sloop. Cases of beer and soda were packed in ice by the hotel, with sandwiches and fruit.
      We sailed southward for a point opposite Cozumel on the Yucatan mainland.
      Shortly after noon, the captain anchored behind a long reef donned mask and snorkel and jumped into the sea. Manuel and Alfonso, our happy crew boys, helped with tanks and weight belts. We watched Melicio, the captain, bobbing close to shore, then saw him raise a hand, and point down. 
      'Aqui!' he yelled. Here it was.
      Over the rail went Clark, head hunter, Cannoneers Leeds, Cliff Worner, and Dr. Jim Carver jumped after him. Al Salisbury, Jane and Hewitt Jackson and I watched from aboard.
      In ten minutes, the four cannoneers were back, hanging on the ship's dinghy and chattering like magpies.
      'Did you see that anchor? And that cannon!' They're enormous!
      'Two cannon, they're welded together in the coral.'
      Salisbury, Jackson, and I could stand it no longer. We jumped in with masks and snorkels.
      All afternoon the men swam and dived, bringing up chunks of coral with buttons, pins or beads they had seen glistening.
      The afternoon's take grew –– pins, buckles, buttons, earrings, cuff links, handles. 
      It had been a rich day for the treasure hunters when we finally called a halt to our first day of diving and turned into Akumal, a quiet sandy cove fringed by waving palms where we camped overnight.

Jance Krenmayr, Seattle Times, August ? 1966 ▼

"Members of the CHAOS, Cannon Hunters Association of Seattle expedition to Cozumel Island were back in Seattle with deep suntans and treasures from the deep.
      'It was a dream come true, and the most memorable experience I have had' said Donald R. Clark, head hunter and chief of the expedition.
      Clark, Seattle advertising and public-relations man, is the son of the late Donald H. Clark, who founded CHAOS in 1949 with the whimsical purpose of hunting and recovering ancient cannon. It had gone international, counting 1,500 members in 31 nations, and more than 500 ancient, muzzle-loading cannon have been recovered since 1949.
      Cozumel Island, a few miles off the northeast tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, was the site of the beginning of the Spanish conquest of Latin Americal. Its surrounding waters have disclosed many shipwrecks.
      Though the wrecks we visited have been thoroughly explored and most of the important artifacts recovered by CEDAM, the official Mexican underwater and archeology organization, our CHAOS group received full cooperation from CEDAM with permission to dive and recover what 'goodies' were left.
      The booty which our CHAOS team brought back in its two weeks of sea scouting included about 20 small crucifixes, a couple of boxes full of trade beads of various colors, which were carried by old merchant ships, some cuff links and earrings, buttons, fragments of spoon and knife handles, buckles, pins, and many promising chunks of coral.
      Clark brought up the first crucifix, the first five minutes of diving over the wreck of the MATANCERO, off the Yucatan mainland.
      The MATANCERO was believed to be a Spanish merchant ship, which sank about 1741, and is, according to the Smithsonian Institution, the richest sunken ship ever explored in America."

Krenmayr writes of long ago forgotten jewels in the Mayan jungle? What an amazing discovery has been made very recently under the forest floor in nearby Guatemala. No cannons but lots and lots of excitement ––
Results from the research using Lidar technology, which is short for "light detection and ranging", suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilization more akin to sophisticated cultures like ancient Greece or China. 
BBC News February 2019 Click here.


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