"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 Islands, 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 500, 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.

17 September 2017

❖ MEMORIES OF BIG RED ❖ with Glen Carter (1923-2002)

Built 1942.

"My favorite Coast Guard icebreaker is up for sale. She's Big Red, moored at Pier 90. I drive past her each morning from home to work. She's formally known as the Staten Island and by either name is a good old gal.
       But she is 33 and retired. I don't think I will bid on her through the General Services Administration. She would cost as much as a yacht at 269-ft long, 64-ft wide, and drawing 29-ft of water.
      Besides, at today's high fuel costs, I couldn't steam far on the six main propulsion engines totaling 10,000 HP. The fuel tanks hold 676,000 gallons of diesel oil plus 17,000 gallons of jet aviation fuel. A helicopter on the stern isn't part of the package.
      Big Red got her nickname from me as a news chronicler. All the Coast Guard's breakers used to be white. But they were difficult for returning helicopters to see against dazzling white polar ice and snow.
      So she was painted red––as eventually, all others were, and I dubbed her in newsprint as the first Big Red in the Pacific Northwest to wear that color.
      I live near Piers 90-91, her home base, and got acquainted with her men and skipper, Capt. Bob Moss. They showed me around. Big Red is the only ship I've seen that could rock-'n-roll her way out of an ice trap. Huge ballast tanks were in her. Water was pumped at a tremendous rate from one side to the other to make her roll from side to side. Or maybe she wallowed with a waddle––whatever.
      She was packed with sophisticated electronic equipment. In March of 1973, I was sitting at home and the phone rang. Big Red was somewhere in the Arctic on a scientific mission with Russians. The caller was Captain Moss. His radio voice was loud and clear and it ricocheted off a satellite spinning somewhere in space.
      Moss phoned to tell me that all was going well in Big Red and with the Russian ship Priboy. They were in an ice pack with the ship positioned to permit the radio Ping Pong game with the satellite.
      The captain's radio voice traveled 186,000 miles a second and bounced off the satellite to a Kodiak station that relayed the communication to my home by a telephone line. The conversation was monitored by stations in Hawaii and Alaska and by a Goddard Space Center station in Maryland.
      The Big Red had historical character. She was built in 1942, in San Pedro and delivered to Russia under wartime lend-lease. She was returned to the USN in Germany in 1951. In 1955 the Navy transferred the ship to Seattle and assigned her to the Coast Guard in 1966. 
      A national news-service reporter said crewmen nicknamed her Big Red because she had been used by Russians. The story was teletyped nation-wide. But Big Red got her nickname because I tagged her with it after she was painted.
      The old seahorse made many trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, but she first gained national prominence by helping the Manhattan then America's biggest tanker, make its historic voyage through the Northwest Passage.
      But I remember her best for her last return from the Far North on 2 October 1974 when I reported:
      'Big Red came home with ice-damaged bow sections last night from her last voyage, but she wasn't limping.
      The 269-ft breaker and her 175 men came steaming around Magnolia Bluff with all six engines pounding smoothly at 16 knots. The old gal slid around Pier 91 with a flourish and skirts flying.
      The Staten Island was back from 11 weeks in the Arctic and three decades of service. A thousand kisses and hugs were exchanged in a matter of minutes.'
      That night I encountered Lt. Pat Denny who regarded Big Red as special for personal reasons. His mother had worked in the wartime shipyard at San Pedro, CA, and helped build her. Denny served aboard as a CG officer, and in 1973 his son, Pat was aboard as a civilian shipyard worker.
       That made three generations of involvement with Big Red, and she was my favorite."
Above essay was written by Glen Carter from My Waterfront. Seagull Books. Seattle, WA. 1977. 
Carter was a Chicago-area reporter before joining the Seattle Times in 1967. He was their magazine feature writer and columnist––then became Editor for Maritime and lived aboard CAROSEL. Four other articles of his are included on this Log.

14 September 2017


Courtesy of Wikipedia.
"A monster of the sea turned up in Dolphin Bay [Orcas Island, WA.] last week and convinced a number of people that they didn't particularly want to go swimming just now, anyway.
      John Sorenson spotted the creature under his dock in about a foot of water. When he saw it crunch a large clam––shell and all, you understand––in one or two bites, he didn't waste any time getting his 30.30. After it had been thoroughly shot, three times through the head, he gaffed it and brought it ashore.
      The ferocity and viciousness with which it fought must be experienced to be realized, Mr. Sorenson says, but to give you some idea, two hours after it had been shot, it severed a stout piece of wood neatly in two with one vise-like snap of its jaws.
      When the fish finally gave up the ghost and could be measured, it proved to be 5-ft 1 inch in length and weighed about 40 pounds. But the statistics don't give an accurate picture of its powerful and horrible appearance.
      The skin was a dark gray, mottled with black spots not unlike those of a hair seal. The head was massive and the jaw well studded with great, strong teeth, as it so amply demonstrated. The tail, Mr. Sorenson says, was its secondary weapon and with it his catch lashed madly and violently. One good swipe of it would have sent a hefty man spinning.
      The Sorensons brought their trophy to Orcas to display it and, if possible, identify it. Mr. Sorenson's suspicion that it was a wolf-eel was confirmed by Bill Lindholm. Mr. Lindholm says that wolf eels as much as eight feet in length were commonly caught in the waters off the coast of Finland, his native country.
      The only other wolf-eel so far heard from, caught in these waters, is one which Bill Lindholm got off Broken Point, Shaw Island, a few years ago. On this somewhat embarrassing occasion, Mr. Lindholm had the misfortune to hook the eel and bring it into his boat before he realized what was on the other end of the line.
      This one attacked as ferociously as the Dolphin Bay product, which would be even less fun in a small boat than on dry land. Mr. Lindholm, however, managed to "cut off his neck," as he says, with a butcher knife he, fortunately, had with him. This one, he thinks, was smaller than Mr. Sorenson's.
      The encyclopedia is a little less understandable on the subject of the wolf eel, being too full of knowledge. However, the latin name is anarrhicthys, and according to Mr. Britannica, has strong, conical canines in front and large molars at the side, which ain't no lie. It has no pelvic fins and is a "large fish of northern seas."
      The carcass was on display at Orcas for a couple of days, but owing to natural circumstances had to be cast back into the sea from which it came. Mr. Sorenson did get some remarkably fine photos of the eel in all its huge and hideous strength, so the island is not without some memento of its caller from the deep."
Written by Margaret Exton for the Orcas Islander. 6 June 1946.
Here is a link to some Wolf eel notes on Wikipedia

08 September 2017


From the library of the S.P.H.S.
Knee Deep in Shavings: Memories of Early Yachting and Boatbuilding on the West Coast.
Blanchard, Norman C., with Stephen Wilen. Victoria, BC; Horsdal & Schubart Publishers. Ltd. 

      "In 1778, the sailors' sailor Capt. Cook blithely sailed past the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the 15-mile-wide entrance to Puget Sound. He didn't have a clue there was anything down there. In the 1920s and 1930s, the golden age of yachting, publications featured who was who in New York, Newport, and Boston. They also didn't have a clue there was anything out there in Puget Sound.
      This book is the opening of a long-lost treasure trove of information about some of yachting's finest designers, builders, and sailors, whom virtually no one knew about. Although the book's title refers to the West Coast, it is focused on Puget Sound not only because the chronicler, Norm Blanchard, built boats in Seattle, but also because that's where most of the action was. Puget Sound and its adjoining passages are blessed with islands, fjords, bays, and coves unnumbered. Its forests provided unending supplies of high quality, long-length native woods. 
      This environment spawned numerous boat yards and attracted great craftsmen. In fact, they were so busy that in 1936 the Board of Education of Seattle, the funky little town in the center of all this activity, hired one of the builders, Jim Chambers, to establish a boatbuilding school, Edison Tech Boatbuilding, in order to keep up with the growing demand for the wooden boats. That school, now Seattle Community College School of Marine Carpentry, is still in operation because yacht clients with high standards of excellence find the best quality craftsmanship there in Puget Sound.
      The special wonder revealed by this book is that the West Coast boats were designed mainly by homegrown folks, including Ted Geary, Ben Seaborn, Ed Monk, and Bill Garden. Geary and Seaborn designed most of the boats Norm mentions, and thus he talks most about their personalities, as well as the outstanding vessels they drafted. Norm does a good job of bringing these two geniuses to life. West Coast designers had little coverage during the high times of wooden yachts. But look at the photos, read of the vessels' performances, and believe that some of the Puget Sound naval architects should arguably be in the designers' Hall of Fame.
      The first quarter of this book begins with a history of the Blanchard Boat Co and Norm Blanchard's family. So many exquisite yachts were launched there, mainly for the middle-class backbone of the West Coast. From 1905 to 1941 the yard's production was a long line of top design and fine craftsmanship. The work of the Blanchard Co was recognized and praised by the designers and the clients; thus orders kept coming for more boats. However, typical of so many renowned yards, Norm states, 'Except for the SILVER KING, and maybe one or two other contracts, the company had been so unprofitable in the prewar years that we could barely justify our existence. If Dad had any business sense at all he would have given up years earlier, but building boats was all he ever wanted to do.' One may well assume that great boatbuilders are born that way, and the profit-and-loss departments of their brains are only vestigial.
      The book is a series of memories narrated by Norm Blanchard and recorded and edited by Stephen Wilen. Norm couldn't be a more ideal chronicler of the happenings in Puget Sound. He has an encyclopedic memory, a great photo collection, and he treats the cast of characters involved with the yachting scene in a straight-arrow manner, compassionate and nonjudgmental. However, he hands out a few sharp rebukes to a couple of customers for their lack of courtesy, and to William Atkin, the naval architect, for sloppy tables of offsets.
      Norm is a kind and patient soul but he suffers no fools. However, Norm doesn't knock people for trying. I enjoyed this story about the man who in 1932 commissioned the beautiful 58-ft sloop CIRCE, designed by Ben Seaborn when Seaborn was in high school. 

Ben Seaborn designer
Ray Cooke, owner. 
Seattle, WA. 1934
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

CIRCE had the fine lines of a fast vessel, but the owner insisted on buying cheap sails that would become baggy in a short time. The sloop never did particularly well at races. Norm kindly concludes this story with: 'Anyway, the CIRCE was a wonderful design, especially for a kid who was still in high school when he designed her, and we have Ray Cooke to thank for her existence. Ray Cooke was never the yachtsman that he aspired to be, but he was a man who played a big role in my early years of sailing.'
      Norm also shares other perceptive observations about the flashy guys and the spear carriers he feels played significant roles in the West Coast yachting scene. He is a good journalist and senses interplay of attitudes. 'My acquaintance with Roy was made when he was having his first ever sail with Geary on SIR TOM. I think he thought that Ted [Geary] was going to buy a Cadillac from him, and I'm just as certain that Ted had thought that Roy [Corbett] was going to have himself a yacht.'
      The work of Ted Geary especially shines through in this book. His sailing vessels were virtually unbeatable. SIR TOM, an R-class sloop, lost only one race and that was to PIRATE, another Geary-designed "R" boat. His motor yachts, including MALIBU, PRINCIPIA, CANIM, AND BLUE PETER, are still going strong and still calendar art specimens of beautiful vessels.
      Knee Deep in Shavings is a valuable part of our maritime heritage. It tells us in fresh words and many never-before-published photos how a small population, still carving its existence out of the wilderness, ensnared yachting as part of its life and created some of the most fabulous vessels imaginable."

This review was written by the late, great Dick Wagner for The Sea Chest, June 2001. The journal of Puget Sound Maritime, Seattle, WA.
Here is a  link to a post on one chapter  about sailor Roy Corbett, from Knee Deep in Shavings by Blanchard on S.P.H.S. and 
another link here on a chapter about sailing in the San Juans, also by Blanchard.

03 September 2017


Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century to celebrate the achievements of workers. It is considered the unofficial end of summer that became a federal holiday in 1894.
      Labour Day in Canada has been celebrated on the first Monday in September since the 1880s.
      From this historical archive, we remember some of the workers from the maritime industry, hard working people who were caught on film, from an industry spread wide and deep throughout the Pacific Northwest. We start with a salt born in San Juan County;
A lifetime career of safe transport of 
passengers & freight in the PNW.
Sam Barlow served on many vessels but 
he is most remembered for his work on 
Original photo from the S.P.H.S.©

Hail to the workers transporting the lumber.
Puget Sound Freight Lines 
On land and sea 
Original undated photo from S.P.H.S.©

George Leis
Keeper of the Canoes for 37 years!
at the time of this 1950 photograph at the U of WA.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Capt. John Backland, Jr., 1937.
Highly regarded Arctic trader,
Schooner C.S. HOLMES.

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

trying to save the

Schooner WAWONA,
Seattle, WA., May 1950.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Hauling gold ore into the Port of Seattle,

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

Chet North
building a set of reefnet boats
at his shop in Deer Harbor,
Orcas Island, in the 1940s.
Photos kindly submitted by
Barbara Brown, Orcas Island.
Commercial fishermen pulling in salmon
on a reefnet boat near Squaw Bay.
Crew Jim Sesby (L) and gear owner 
Ed Hopkins (R) and top, 1983.
Shaw Island, WA.
 photo copies courtesy of the Hopkins family.

Bob Schoen and his freight boat
Built in Hadlock, WA. in 1929

for the Port of Pt. Townsend.
Required crew, one.
Bob Schoen found her in 1950 and brought her
to the San Juans where she carried
lumber, power-cables, toilets & sinks, people,

groceries, sheep to slaughter, logging equipment, 
gas, diesel, lube oil by the barrels, cattle.
Other later skippers were Dave Strickland,
Steve Barnes, Corkey North and Al Jones.
Original photos courtesy of the Schoen family & Steve McKenna.
Click to enlarge.

Island Belt Cannery fill-in workers from the community
on a day when tenders delivered an overload of fish.
Bruns, Crawford, Fowler, Lee, and Stillman family
members have been identified in this photo with help
from the young boy in the front row, right, Lee Bruns.
Harney Channel, Shaw Island, c. 1920.
Riggers and sailmakers,
Rupert and Grenville Broom,
at the historic sail loft established by their father, George Broom.
For ships sailing in the war service, they have been
manufacturing boatswain's chairs, pilot ladders, lifeboat sails, 
and debarkation nets of many kinds. 
Pier 8, Seattle, WA. 1943.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
Rev. Glion T. Benson
with his new 26' mission boat,

in the San Juan Islands.
Dated June 1957.
Original photo purchased for the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

28 August 2017


Boats are available for free viewing on the marina docks of Deer Harbor, San Juan Archipelago, WA. Not only viewing but there is the usual informal potluck on the dock on Monday c. 6:30 and a paddle/rowing race at noon on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and a dinner served from 5:30-8:30 on Tuesday, provided by Island Pie.
For more information please go to this link:  http://woodenboatsocietyofthesanjuans.org

This announcement kindly submitted by the D.H.W.B.S.

24 August 2017


Washington State ferry, Harney Channel,
on approach to Shaw Landing,
San Juan Archipelago, WA.
Mt. Baker shines in the background, dated 21 May 1991.
photo by Ted Bronstein, A.S.M.P.
for the Washington State Dept of Commerce, Olympia.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

The above photo shows the route that the well-known author, historian Lucile McDonald would have taken from Anacortes on the mainland to Shaw Island to visit and interview the people there in 1958. Her personal archives were donated to the University of WA. 
      "Shaw Island in the San Juan Archipelago was one of the few places remaining in the State where a person can answer her own telephone while visiting a neighbor.
      Mrs. Mabel Crawford, the postmistress on the island, said Shaw's crank-type phones, all on one line, are regarded by strangers as curiosities.
      There are approximately 223 phones in service on our cooperative line," Mabel said. 'You crank the right number of short and long rings to call someone. We also have a line to Lopez Island, where the long-distance operator is.'
      The community hall has fallen into disrepair and the schoolhouse serves for important meetings. Yansen's store near the ferry landing at the entrance to Blind Bay is the island gathering place. With armchairs around the stove, it has a sociable air. 
      To date, no resorts have been opened on Shaw. Neck Point Coves, on the west end, is a new summer home development with its own wharf and swimming pool. Miles Tippery of Orcas and Richard Exton of Deer Harbor, the sponsors, moved one of Shaw Island's oldest cabins stick by stick to Orcas Island and set it up near the ferry landing as an office. 
      Some of the ferry runs in the San Juans do not include Shaw unless a flag is hoisted or a red light is lit at the slip.
      Mabel recalled that ferry service to Shaw began in 1930 and that her father, Gene Fowler, was instrumental in having the slip built. Islanders tried to get along with a float as a substitute until a heavy truck turned over on it.  [Lyle KIng's truck]
      The post office formerly was at Griswold, half a mile from the present site. Mail arrived three times weekly and the postmaster rowed out to get it. Passengers also had to be taken by rowboat into the channel, where they hailed the boat.
      Shaw Island's newest enterprise is the San Juan Marina, under construction by A. F. 'Gus' Gratzer, formerly of Tacoma. Two years ago he bought the Fred Hudson farm on Hudson Bay, a short distance east of the ferry landing. 
A. F. "Gus" Gratzer dock
Harney Channel, San Juan Archipelago, WA.
dated 29 September 1958. 
The fish tender on the right is the HAZEL ROBB,
commanded by Islander Capt. Clayton Shaw of Broken Point,
heading to Seattle for winter storage after working in AK.
Gratzer and McDonald are standing next to the auto.
An aerial view of the Gratzer dock is included in the
top photo of the State ferry approaching the Shaw landing.
Click to enlarge.
Orignal photo by Parker McAllister from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      Gratzer likes the sheltered bay and clam beds. Steamboats used to stop at Hudson's to load fruit from their large orchard. Gratzer bull-dozed out some of the fruit trees to make space for a marine way and shops that he expects to have in operation by next summer.
      The Ellis house is one of the best-preserved log homes on Shaw. It was erected in 1887 by two single brothers, Thomas and Theodore Tharald, Norwegian sailors. They peeled the timbers and did a ship-shape carpenter job. 
      Hudson, Tift, Oscar Fowler, George Griswold, Sam Gordon, and L.D. Hix were heads of the first permanent families on the island.
      Another early resident was Delbert E. Hoffman, a boat builder, Mabel's maternal grandfather. 
      These settlers really stayed, their descendants intermarried and most of today's [1958] residents can trace their ancestry to Shaw Island's hardy pioneers."
Published by the Seattle Times, 23 November 1958 

20 August 2017


McNEIL ISLAND Federal Prison
47°12' 27" N
122° 40' 56" W 

Puget Sound, WA. 
McNeil Island when it was named McNeil Island Federal Prison (1904-1981.) It was a corrections center open in 1875, before Washington statehood. 
      The island was named in 1841 by Charles Wilkes during the US Exploring Expedition in honor of Capt. William Henry McNeill of the Hudson Bay Co. McNeill was at Fort Nisqually in 1841 and greeted Wilkes upon arrival in Puget Sound. (The spelling error of the Captain's name was never corrected for the spelling of the Island.)

Fugitive Buel H. Barclay
Back to McNeil Island Federal Prison
Original photo from the S.P.H.S.©

1933-1935: Buel H. Barclay, one of the few men ever to have escaped from McNeil Island Federal Prison by swimming the cold waters of Puget Sound, in 1933. He was recaptured in Seattle in 1935 when he purchased a truck for use in his small crushed rock business. He had been living in Seattle under another name. 


An inmate of McNeil Island Prison takes a squint at the menu
for supper.
 After a hard day's work on one of the projects,
the inmates file into the cafeteria style dining room and take
any seat they choose. They can get "seconds," but they
must eat all the food they take.
Photo dated Nov. 1938.
They've got his number.
But at McNeil Island Prison, Puget Sound, WA,
it was made as inconspicuous as possible, and men
remained men, despite their status as prisoners.
They were always called by their names in workshops,
not by their numbers, to simulate normal working
conditions in a program designed to put them back
into the world ready to go straight and with a job or
craft learned so they can support themselves.
Photo dated 29 Nov. 1938
1942, November: 

Prisoners built and launched a small warcraft.
The Q-86 was the first United States warcraft to be built
by inmates of a penal institution. It was made and launched
by the inmates at McNeil Island Pen, WA.
The 65' craft will be used by the Army. 
Mrs. Paul J. Squier, wife of the warden swung the christening 
bottle of champagne on the bow of the new ship.
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
Civilian and Army dignitaries participate in the ceremonies,
McNeil Island Penitentiary, Puget Sound, WA.
Click image to enlarge.

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
Prisoners and guards at McNeil Island Pen.
The Q-86, the new 65' army tug launch was complete,
this day of 14 Nov. 1942.
Preparations were being made to lay the keel for another vessel.
Original photo from the S.P.H.S.©
And then it is back to the cell at night,
where men were locked up. 
There were 14,000 inmates at the
prison when this photo was taken 
in 1963.
Click image to enlarge.
Original from the archives of the
1981: The State of Washington began to lease the facility. 

1984: The island was deeded to the State government.

2011, 1 April: The last remaining island prison in the country accessible only by air and sea was closed.
      Around the time of the closing of the prison, the McNeil Island Historical Society was chartered for the purpose of educating the public about, and preserving the history of McNeil Island.

18 August 2017


Built in Portland, OR., in 1911
116.5' x 25.7' x 7.8'
310 G.t. / 226 N.t. 

Click image to enlarge.
Photo purchased from the Puget Sound Maritime, Seattle, WA.
Negative 955-5.
The twin-screw, gas powered freight barge WAKENA owned by Clatskanie Transportation Co and formerly operated in connection with the sternwheeler BEAVER between Portland & Clatskanie was transferred to Puget Sound in Sept 1914 by Capt. Bernt Olsen. Soon after she was sold to Border Line Transport Co. 

1915: Walter Allenby of Seattle, first mate, and August Krantz, quartermaster, were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning aboard the vessel early Nov. 1915. The WAKENA left Tacoma on the morning of 4 Nov, bound for Seattle and towing a large barge alongside. A head wind was encountered all the way to Seattle, with the result that an air pocket was apparently formed between the towing vessel and the barge at the point where the barge rested against the vessel, the gasoline engines of the freighter pumping a steady flow of lethal fumes, which were not dispelled as would normally have been the case. Allenby and Krontz were asleep in their staterooms, which were found to be full of fumes, and it was impossible to revive them upon the WAKENA's arrival in Seattle.

This standard size dated postcard is one of only a few
business documents found to represent the cannery
that operated on Harney Channel, Shaw Island, WA.
It was found in an antique rolltop desk that was once used in
the Shaw Store by proprietor 'Gene' Fowler. The desk was
being cleaned and glued together for a donation to the
Shaw Island Historical Museum. From this document, we
learn of one of the vessels that transported canned fish
and fruit produced by the Shaw Island Canning Co. 

Cannery building at the Shaw Island Landing.
The plant operated between 1911 and 1922.
This photo is dated between 1930 and 1951.
Click to enlarge. 
1925: WAKENA was sold by Border Line transportation to the LaTouche Packing Co for use as a floating cannery in the Alaska herring fishery.

          While bound for Alaska in the service of LaTouche Packing Co the motor freighter WAKENA caught fire off Nanaimo on 27 May 1925 and was completely destroyed, the officers and crew were rescued and taken to Nanaimo by tug BELLE.
      Some of the WAKENA history for this post was extracted from the H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the PNW. Newell, editor. Superior Publishing. 1965.

15 August 2017


21 January 1942
Japanese owned fishing boats kept in a harbor at
Annieville, on the Fraser River, B. C.

Click to enlarge.
AP Wirephoto from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
This photo shows the Japanese fishing boats seized by the government and corralled at Anniesville Dyke on the Fraser River.
      Japanese fishermen were evacuated first in response to rumors that they might be operating as spies, gathering information on coastal waters during WW II. They were subsequently displaced to work camps without any warning.
      In spite of Canadian military assurances to the contrary, the public believed fishermen were mapping the coastline for the Japanese Navy.
      Japanese fishing boats were first confined to port and eventually, the Canadian seized 1,200 vessels.
The Vancouver Maritime Museum is offering tours of a temporary feature exhibit "The Lost Fleet." It will look at the significant contribution made by the Japanese Canadians to B.C.'s fishing industry. It explores how racism played a major role in the WW II seizure and sale of property and the internment of these people on the West Coast. It explores the lessons learned and how Canadian Society has changed because of this experience. Dates and times can be seen on this link

06 August 2017


Capt. Bill Kasch,
Anacortes, WA.

Photo courtesy of maritime historian J. Robin Paterson.

Perhaps the most idyllic physical features in Washington are concentrated in the San Juan Islands. Here is a natural topography encompassing more than 150 islands, considered by many persons to be unsurpassed for natural beauty and interest.
      Early-day commercial transportation among the islands, with its colorful sidelights, is recalled by Mary Kasch Nollan. Mary's father, Capt. William Kasch, or Captain Bill, as he was called, pioneered commercial-shipping, passenger and mail service in the San Juan Islands, around the turn of the century.
      "Because my father was a man of the sea, I always was conscious of wind, rain, and fog, as a child growing up in Anacortes," said Mrs. Nollan, who retains many vivid memories of the era of transportation by small vessels.
      The Kasch family came west from Iowa Falls, in 1889, and one year later settled in Anacortes. Mary's grandfather, Ernest Kasch, opened the Kasch Merchantile Co, one of the first stores in the community. Elected city treasurer of Anacortes in 1902, he served until his death in 1907.
      William Kasch, was 16 years old when his parents made the move west. The young man delved into various pursuits before finding his field of greatest interest. In 1900 he bought a 40-ft gasoline-engine launch, which named the Molly Kasch after his mother. This boat, one of the first gasoline craft operating on the Sound, was used to carry freight and passengers among the islands in a jobbing venture.
      From this humble beginning, Kasch expanded rapidly. With a partner, F.H. King, he formed the Kasch Navigation Co. In 1911, with his brother, Capt. Frank Kasch (later living in Edmonds), and A.L. Marsh of Cottonwood Island, he organized the Inter-Island Navigation Co, of which he was president and manager.
      "As a historical note, my father had the distinction of operating the first passenger boat with regularly scheduled service among the San Juan Islands, running from Bellingham and Anacortes," said Mary. "A new boat, the Anglo-Saxon, was purchased to begin the run in 1905. Although I was too young to remember the event without an assist from the family album and my parent's description, christening this boat was one of the highlights of my childhood.
      "According to newspaper clippings from the Bellingham paper of that day, the Anglo-Saxon was a gasoline launch capable of traveling ten miles an hour and carrying 50 passengers, and not a prettier model then floated on the waters of Puget Sound.
      "A short time after the run was in operation, meeting train and boat schedules to Seattle, my father received the first franchise to carry the daily mail to the San Juan Islands."
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

       Names of later boats owned by Kasch and his companies were the Yale, the Yankee Doodle, the Yankee II, the Concordia, the Georgia, the City of Anacortes, the Bainbridge, the steamer Kingston, and the Alvrene.
      Scheduled stops of the steamboat Yankee II, according to a timetable of 1915, now in the Nollan scrapbook, were at Urban, Doe Bay, Olga, Eastsound, Shaw Island, Orcas, West Sound, Deer Harbor, Friday Harbor, Lopez, Port Stanley, Anacortes and Bellingham. 
      The early years of Capt Bill's nautical career are described by his daughter as happy-go-lucky days. Some of the farmer's made an annual ride to the city and paid their fare with a bucket of vegetables, or a bucket of clams.
      "If a passenger was short of cash, he always could work his passage by helping to carry freight on and off the boat. I remember one bill that was paid with half a beef! since homes in those days were without refrigeration, most of the meat went to our neighbors."
      To ask a favor of the captain was not at all unusual. There were errand requests, such a picking up dentures and taking them to Bellingham to have a broken tooth replaced. There were shopping lists to fill for Islanders unable to leave their homes––maybe five yards of gingham, assorted groceries, a new frying pan or kettle, Sometimes the skipper would take a note to a Bellingham doctor saying that a baby's formula was causing distress, and shouldn't it be changed."
      There were sick calls when the captain would go miles out of his way to some little island, where there wasn't even a landing. A red flag fastened to a rock or tied to a tree meant as an emergency.
      In those cases, the captain would row ashore in the Doodle, as the dinghy was called, and find out the trouble. Many times he picked up a sick man, gave him as smooth a ride as was possible in the wave-tossed dinghy, transferred him to the big boat and took him to a doctor or hospital.
      "Capt Bill's clients were first and foremost his friends, and he was devoted to those beyond the call of duty. Long hours were accepted as all in a day's work. For years he was up before daybreak and left Anacortes with his boat at 6 AM. In stormy weather, 8 or 9 o'clock at night was not an unusual hour for his return."
      As the years went by, there was, of course, competition for the pioneer captain. At one time he found himself engaged in what he called a "merry jitney war," when he carried passengers for 10 cents a trip to save his business.
      While keeping abreast of the times, Kasch progressively replaced his little boats with bigger and faster craft. Meanwhile, trails and wagon roads on the larger islands became highways suitable for auto travel. With the advent of the modern auto ferry, a new pattern of island travel was ushered in. But this was near the end of Capt Bill's day.
      Except for a period in WW I, Kasch served the San Juan Islands for the first quarter of the century. In 1917 he enlisted in the merchant marine and shipped out on the Westley, bound for Norfolk, VA. There he was assigned to the Omsk, a Russian ship with a motley international crew, which was commissioned by the Shipping board as part of General John J. Pershing's 'Bridge of Ships.' * During the war, he was shipwrecked, which contributed to later ill health and his death in 1927.
      Adelaide Davis Kasch, who became the captain's bride in 1898, carried on her husband's business for several years after his death, with the help of her sons, Bill, Jr, and Joe. Eventually, the company was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Co.
      Of the four children, son Joseph became a captain of the WA State ferries, and Norine Kasch Fulmar became the wife to Capt. Alan Fulmer, fleet captain and superintendent of the Marine Reserve Fleet at Astoria, OR.
Text by Charlotte Widrig. Published by the Seattle Times.

*After crossing the U-Boat-infested Atlantic, Kasch returned to Seattle to catch the ill-fated Blackford which had just been completed.
      The Blackford went down in a hurricane off the coast to Mexico, leaving its battered crew stranded with little but fish and turtles to eat for nearly two weeks when they were finally picked up. Anacortes American. March 1981. Courtesy of the Anacortes Historical Museum 

31 July 2017


Looking out to Orcas Island on the left
and the Lummi Island reefnet gears
Click image to enlarge.

Photographer unknown.
Original from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

"Two fishermen admire the view from Lummi Island as the sun sets over Rosario Strait. Mount Constitution on Orcas Island is on the left. About 60 nets, each with two boats, are concentrated here. There was talk the reefnetters' union hoped to lower this number to 40 by not renewing privileges when any sites or gear are abandoned, as the runs are not sufficient to support so many gears. Most boats are made locally and are of a type not seen elsewhere; flat-bottomed double-ender canoes with large stiff keels and a platform for the spotter, who needs a high perch and a minimum of reflection in order to see the fish. When the water is dirty, bubbles serve as an indication of salmon. "

27 July 2017

❖ Northwest Passage Expedition in 21st Century Style ❖

Naval Architect: Abeking & Rasmussen.
Launching 2008, Lemwerder, Germany.

"Using a technology entirely new to yacht building
is a risky move, but the owner knew he was in safe hands
when he charged Abeking & Rasmussen with finding a
solution to his wife's seasickness––and the
Silver Cloud Swath was born." 
David Pelly.

A Northwest Passage expedition with M.V. Silver Cloud is underway as this is written. To follow along from their cast off at Halifax Harbor, they can be seen on the tracking map––– on this link.
      There is a descriptive 7-page article about this vessel, with builder photos and drawings in Boat International.

Modern day news submitted by L.A. Douglas, Blakely Island, San Juan Archipelago.

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