"The cure for anything is salt water––sweat, tears, or the sea."
Isak Dinesen


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 over 300, 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.

12 August 2015

❖ "Waiting Till the Tide Rolled In" ❖

On  San Juan Island UPDATE on August 5, Tim Dustrude posted a San Juan Historical Society piece about kids camping out on Brown Island in 1935. How nice to see local history along with current events, Tim. Thank you.
Local waters by
professional photographer
James A. McCormick,
known to be working in the San Juan County
as early as 1906.
Original photo from the McCormick Collection,

San Juan Island adults allowed themselves to go a little further north, over to Shaw Island in 1907, where they had an unplanned camp out, also in the news.

"We know where Moses was when the lights went out and also where Dr. McKinnis and Will Jakles were when the tide went out Thursday night. They were hunting on Shaw Island when the tide left their launch high and dry ashore. S. M. Bugge and Will Sweeney went out to look for them and found them about 11 o'clock roosting on a log by a camp fire, "Doc", singing in a sonorous bass, "Wait till the tide comes in, Billy, wait till the tide comes in." They thought it would be high enough to float their launch in about two hours, but it wasn't, so they spent all night on the Shaw shore. Oh pshaw! And the OWASEE went back after them Friday morning and brought them home to breakfast."

The San Juan Islander. 16 November 1907. Typed verbatim for S.P.H.S.

07 August 2015


Foggy Friday
off Blakely Island, Washington
Photo by Lance Douglas©
Between Obstruction and Orcas Islands
Photo courtesy of Blakely resident Lance Douglas
8 August 2015.

30 July 2015


Fleet Week, 29 July-2 August 2015, has been a Seattle tradition since 1950. There is a special guide for fleet fans here.

Best of all this photo depicts
the designer, Ted O. Jones;
the builder, the Anchor Jensen;
the driver, Stanley S. Sayres;
the first year of the Seattle SeaFair, 1950.

(more on this team later.)
Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
Tug Boat Races for the first Seafair in 1950.
The US Army Corps, W.T. PRESTON, right,
and the SKAGIT CHIEF in background.
Winner is the W. T. PRESTON.
(The PRESTON is in fine condition at the Anacortes Museum's
historical Maritime Center, Anacortes, WA. in 2015.)
This course ran from Magnolia bluff to the foot of Lenora St.
Photo by Larry Dion for the Seattle Times.

Thank you, Larry.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.

Even the steamers VIRGINIA V and the SIGHTSEER
were participating, they can be seen here
British Cruiser SUPERB,
Pier 91, Seattle, WA.
Original photo dated 1955

from the archives of the S.P.H.S.
Visitors streamed aboard the British cruiser at Pier 91 that year as the SUPERB and 12 ships of the USN were opened for Seattle inspection. Another major attraction was the US aircraft carrier MIDWAY. With them on display were the destroyer escorts BRANNON, GILLIGAN, ROMBACH, JOHNSON, NICKEL, GRADY, WELDEN, GOSS and BUTLER with minesweepers REDSTART and DEXTROUS. Crew members were the guides aboard their ships.
Text from the Seattle Times, 31 July 1955.
Army engineers push a section towards
the bridge already installed.

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

Army engineers constructed the bridge from the shore of Lake Washington to the official
barge near the Stan Sayres Memorial Park, the site where the unlimited hydroplanes would begin the build-up for the Gold Cup.

Log boom spectators 
watching the Blue Angels.
Race course for the hydroplane races,
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA.

Click to enlarge.
Photo by Greg Gilbert
from the archives of the S.P.H.S.

21 July 2015


Sister ship to Schooner ALICE, 
the latter absent for her photo appointment today.

Both ships served Robinson Fisheries of Anacortes, WA.
Original photo by J. Thwaites from archives of S.P.H.S.©
"When the 232-ton schooner ALICE crossed the Humboldt Bay bar in April 1884, her cargo consisted of 253,000 bf of redwood lumber. Her destination was Seattle, WA Territory. Local newspapers trumpeted the opening of this new market for Northern CA products. The Humboldt Daily Times-Telephone gleefully proclaimed that the Seattle lumber dealers, Brockway & Webb, had appropriate finishing material to the fir-rich Puget Sound country. The Seattle Herald was quoted as saying that "for a long time there has been a demand––for finishing material and in many cases builders have been obliged to import individual shipments of considerable trouble––" Brockway & Webb were to be congratulated for inaugurating a trade that was sure to extend as far north as Whatcom.
      The two-masted ALICE was no stranger to Puget Sound waters. Shipbuilder Charles Sanders launched her in the spring of 1874 from his property on the south side of Port Blakely Harbor. While early records describe that property as "Bean's Pt.", it has been established that Sanders purchased 108 acres at what is now called Restoration Point in 1868 from one Theodore O. Williams. He lived there until he sold out to his brother Eric in the ear after the ALICE launch. The Sanders brothers were natives of Sweden and had practiced the shipbuilding craft in San Francisco as early as 1865. Sanders very likely obtained the timbers for the ALICE from Renton & Holmes Co, forerunners of the famous Port Blakely Mill Co. 
      The ALICE's documentation described her as 232.14 gross tons, one deck, two masts, billet head and elliptic stern. She measure 115' x 31' x 10'. She was put into the coasting trade by those astute mill owners and lumber promoters John A. Hooper and F. P. Hooper of San Francisco. F. C. Glidden was listed as her first master. It can be presumed that ALICE carried a cargo of fir on her maiden voyage to San Francisco.
      The ensuing years were busy ones for the little vessel. In November 1881, she was chartered by agents of the Sinaloa & Durango Rail Road Co to carry a cargo of lumber and piles from Port Blakely to Altata, Mexico. The charter specified that $5,000 in U.S. gold coin would be paid at the San Francisco offices of Renton & Holmes upon 'presentation of Bill of Lading' duly endorsed by Charter Agents at Altata."
      It was also agreed that 15 lay days would be spent to load cargo and 15 days to discharge. All cargo was to be loaded and discharged alongside the vessel, within reach of her tackles. If there was insufficient water at the Altata bar, cargo was to be lighterd outside the bar. In that case, piles stowed on deck were to be delivered to rafts secured by dogs and chains.
      On a run from Port Townsend to San Pedro, in 1903, her master, W. J. Moloney, recorded mutinous actions by second mate Arndt Thiele. Twenty days into the voyage Thiele neglected to secure two brand-new full coils of rope, that were lost overboard. Two weeks later Capt. Moloney Himself was forced to put rovings in the head of the foresail when the second mate refused to do the job and encouraged the other men on watch to rebel.
      Thiele was ordered to take his clothes forward. When he refused, Moloney threatened to put him in irons. Thiele 'feigned illness' and spent the rest of the voyage in the forward cabin. When ALICE arrived in San Pedro a few days after Christmas, the captain discharged the man. He offered the mutinous mate $43.39 for services rendered. Thiele disdained the offer and demanded full second mate's pay. Capt. Moloney deposited the partial payment with the Judge at the Commissioner's office and considered the mater closed. 
      During her last year in the lumber trade, ALICE, made voyages from Puget Sound ports in San Francisco, San Pedro and to Nelson Lagoon in the Aleutian chain. At Nelson Lagoon she experienced minor damage to her hull when under tow of Lagoon Packing Company's steamer PRINCESS.
      1904 saw the schooner's conversion to a codfisher by William Robinson of Anacortes. The little ALICE soon to be outclassed, as far as she was concerned by her sisters, JOSEPH RUSS, WAWONA  and AZALEA, served Robinson Fisheries Company faithfully for over 20 years. It was not until May 1927, that she was honorably retired and sold to motion picture interests in southern California.
      Was it the ALICE that we saw in some of those early schooner movies? Very possibly. Dr. John Lyman recorded that her hull could still be seen on the mud banks of San Pedro harbor in the late 1930s.
Text by Harriet T. DeLong for The Sea Chest, quarterly journal published by Seattle's Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. March 1983.
1906: Robinson Fisheries engaged 40 experienced cod fishermen in Gloucester, MA and brought them to the coast, shipping them as crew on ALICE & JOSEPH RUSS.

17 July 2015

❖ Schooner COMMODORE ❖ Racing Against Leakage

Photo taken off the Washington Coast when a tug was
attempting to get a line aboard during heavy weather.
AP Wire Photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"A modern day counterpart of Mutiny on the Bounty was disclosed by a seaman who returned here after a tortuous 143-day voyage in a leaky four-masted schooner with a captain who was partially 'out of his head' with a brain tumor.
      The scene of the marine drama was aboard the once proud schooner COMMODORE, famed for her cross-Pacific races. Her latest race was against leakage, malnutrition and death. The course was the length of the Pacific and breadth of the Atlantic. 
      James Gallagher of Seattle related in a Post-Intelligencer interview how the crew ate chicken feed for mush, a steady diet of salt meats and a 'can of peas or corn between 14 men every day, but that was about all.'
      In two regards, the saga of the trip from Puget Sound to Durban, South Africa, paralleled the famous story of Mutiny on the Bounty. Pitcairn Island figured in both dramas. The COMMODORE put in there and picked up a few chickens to vary the fare.
      The crew took over from the captain before reaching Cape Horn, Gallagher said, after the mate called for a vote of the crew members because of the skipper's strange actions. He said a military court later cleared the crew of mutiny charges made by the captain.
      'We kept him in his cabin for a month,' the seaman related. 'The captain was a good seaman, but he went out of his head.'
      The schooner 'began leaking a couple of weeks before we rounded Cape Horn,' Gallagher said, 'and after that we stood up to the hips in water in her hold and pumped by hand, day and night. The captain got sick at about the same time. We didn't know what was the matter then but later, when he died in Durban, the doctor said he had a brain tumor.'
      Gallagher said he left Africa in February while the crew members' suit for most of their pay was still pending. The COMMODORE had been sold at auction for $65,000."
The Spokane Daily Chronicle, 20 April 1943.