The MHN Blog is a companion to the Maritime Heritage Network, a not-for-profit, comprehensive website of maritime heritage organizations, attractions, and activities in the Pacific Northwest. The blog highlights news, activities, and resources useful to the entire maritime heritage community. All views expressed are the author's own. Opposing views are welcome.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain Visit Bay Area

The two tall ships owned by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, based in Aberdeen, Wash., are visiting the the San Francisco Bay Area until April 16, according to BoatingSF. The Lady Washington is a replica of a brig that sailed as a trading ship along the Northwest Coast in the 18th century. Constructed in 1989, she appeared in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. The Hawaiian Chieftain is a replica of a typical European merchant trader of the turn of the nineteenth century. Built in 1988, her hull shape and rigging are similar to those of Spanish explorer's ships used in the expeditions of the late eighteenth century along the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

MHN Calendar: USCGC Healy Arctic Trip; Puget Sound Pirates

Here's what's happening the weekend of March 31, April 1 and 2 from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar:

  • 3/31/2006, Lecture, USCGC Healy, Columbia River Maritime Museum, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Price: Contact CRMM, Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Dr., Astoria, OR, 503-325-2323,, U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Elsa Nethercott lectures on her six-month tour aboard USCGC Healy in the Arctic.
  • 4/1/2006: Music, Puget Sound Pirates, Puget Sound Pirates, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Price: Contact PSP, Heads Up Brewing Co., 9960 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, Wash., 360-337-2739,, An evening of fun with pirate re-enactors

Please call to confirm date, time and subject before attending.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mukilteo Lighthouse Park Changes Worry Neighbors

The park that is home to the Mukilteo, Washington lighthouse is scheduled for some changes that worry the park's neighbors. Some of the changes include trees that make block views and parking that could disturb some neighbors. The story is in the March 27 edition of the Everett Herald.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Artists' Barge Project Melds Nature and Maritime

Two Seattle artists have connected the past and the future in a public art installation called "The Living Barge Project." Native plants, including ferns, shrubs and tree seedlings, are installed on an industrial barge, which is moored in the Duwamish River. The river flows through Seattle's heavy industry area and port facilities. The type of barge used is seen frequently carrying gravel and other materials on Puget Sound. "We want to use this project to create a lasting, positive dialogue about the history and future of the Duwamish and the neighbors and businesses that surround it," say artists Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler of Seattle. "We also want to raise citywide awareness of the Duwamish and invite people to participate in its restoration." The barge will be moored through April on the Georgetown side of the Duwamish River between the 1st Ave. S. Bridge and the 16th Ave S (South Park) Bridge. For more information, visit the website or contact the artists via the website.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Living History Job in San Diego; Zheng He Map Authentic?

The San Diego Maritime Museum is looking for a living history instructor. You'll work in full costume and character aboard the tall ships Star of India and the Californian. It's a seasonal job paying $10 an hour.

History News Network reports that a map reputed to be an 18th century copy of a 15th-century Ming dynasty map of the world by Chinese explorer Zheng He is likely authentic. The authenticity claim is made by the map's owner, who says tests showed the paper was from the 18th century. However, many scholars believe the map is a fake.

Friday, March 24, 2006

MHN Calendar: Ship Models, The Cutters

Here's selected items from the MHN Calendar for the weekend of March 25-26, 2006:

  • Concert, The Cutters & Watch the Sky, Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Ctr, 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM, Price: $10 General; $8 students, seniors, and maritime heritage organization members, Center for Wooden Boats, 1002 Valley St., Seattle, 206-447-9800,, Family Band Night features sea music groups The Cutters and Watch the Sky.
  • Class, Ship Models for Kids of All Ages, Discovery Modelers Education Center, 9:00 AM to Noon, Price: $15, Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union Park, Seattle, 206-282-0985,, Choose a model from a selection of kits, including sailboats, fishing boats, and pirate vessels. Limited to 10.

BC Ferry: Two Now Feared Dead; Chinese Maritime History

Two people are now feared dead after the sinking of the Canadian ferry Queen of the North near Vancouver Island on Wednesday morning. Officials had originally said all passengers and crew were rescued, but a missing man and woman are now presumed dead. Here's the story in the Seattle Times.

Extreme ocean sailor Ellen MacArthur is visiting numerous ports in south and east Asia and she posted a maritime history of China on her website.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Queen of the North" Ferry Sinks, All Safe; Heritage Tourism Dollars Bypass Gettysburg Town

The Queen of the North, a large ferry serving the British Columbia coastline, sank on Wednesday morning off the Queen Charlotte Islands. All passengers and crew were rescued. The ferry apparently strayed off normal shipping lanes and hit a submerged rock. Here's the story published in the Seattle Times, originally published in the Vancouver Sun.

I found this interesting article in the Washington Post via the blog Civil War Bookshelf about how the town of Gettysburg isn't benefiting much from the hordes of tourists that visit the battlefield. However, the town is taking steps to fix the problem. The lessons are applicable to every community thinking about heritage tourism as an economic development strategy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Family Visits "Sunken Ship" Catala + Photos

Last Sunday (March 19), the family went to the Washington Coast and visited the wreck of the S.S. Catala, which was driven up on a sand spit near the mouth of Grays Harbor on New Years Day, 1965. (See my blog entries of February 10 and March 13.) The upper photo is a long shot of the wreck, looking toward the stern on the right, with the bow under the sand to the left. The lower photo is my daughter Emily, who rechristened the boat "Sunken Ship" Catala, grabbing a handle of a hatch. We also found some intact wood framing, electrical wiring, and what seems to be a boiler.

To find the wreck on your own, visit Damon Point State Park and follow what's left of an asphalt road south about a quarter mile to the wreck site. As always, wrecks are inherently unstable, so be careful crawling around.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Payette Lakes Chapter, ACBS, Joins MHN; Vancouver Maritime Museum Director to Leave

Classic boat enthusiasts in the Payette Lakes region of central Idaho have formed the Payette Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and they have joined Maritime Heritage Network. The chapter provides Idaho residents with a common interest in and love of historic, antique and classic boats with a place where friends can gather to protect the heritage of boating. The chapter promotes the preservation and restoration of class pleasure craft. Payette Lakes has been a mecca for wooden boating for many years.

Jim Delgado, director of the Vancouver, B.C., Maritime Museum, plans to leave his post to head the U.S.-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology, according to an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Monday, March 20, 2006

MHN Welcomes The Ancient Boat Society

Maritime Heritage Network welcomes a new organization member, the Ancient Boat Society of Everett, Wash. The Ancient Boat Society is a not-for-profit organization that preserves maritime heritage through several programs, including restoration of the 1928 Lake Union Dreamboat Barbalee, and support for the restoration of the art deco ferry Kalakala. The group operates The Wooden Boatyard, a low-cost restoration facility for wooden boat enthusiasts, with space for 50 boats up to 40 feet in length. Plans call for a 2,400 square-foot community woodworking shop at the Mukilteo, Wash. facility.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Michigan City To Get Maritime Heritage Trail

The city of Alpena in northeastern Michigan is one step closer to getting a maritime heritage "trail," and it's much more than a virtual computer trail or a map. It's a $2.9 million dollar project, and according to this story in the Alpena News, the trail will include a walking/biking path, a bridge over a local river, and connections to historic mills, dock restorations, lighting, landscaping, bike racks, and interpretive signs. The trail will also lead to connections with a wildlife sanctuary and a local museum. Most of the funding comes from the federal government and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Maryland Institute Updates Website, Comments on Massive Maritime Sculpture

The Institute for Maritime History in Kensington, Maryland has updated its website with a new design. It looks excellent and the website is full of interesting information, including this Feb. 24 commentary about the Maine Maritime Museum's attempt to recreate a giant wooden ship in concrete and steel on the site of an historic shipyard. The commentor, Stefan Claesson, is pretty upset with what he calls "poor decision-making" by the museum and the state government. Here's an article on the project in the Kennebec Journal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gig Harbor Fights Waterfront McMansions

The Tacoma News Tribune published a story about the fight by a small Puget Sound community called Gig Harbor against the construction of two 4,000-foot homes on the town's waterfront. The story details an ongoing transformation of the former fishing community into a tourism and heritage destination. For more information on Gig Harbor maritime history, here's the MHN listings for the Gig Harbor Heritage Center and the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society.

Monday, March 13, 2006

More on Catala Shipwreck; Lighthouse Tourism Bill Clears Senate Committee

The Associated Press ran a story on the appearance of the shipwreck of the Catala at Grays Harbor on the Washington Coast, as I noted on February 10. Here's the version published in the Seattle Times, with a small photo of what's left of the passenger vessel. Pedro Caleja at the blog Do fundo do mar...Sea bottom has a photo of the wreck in 1972.

The US Senate has taken up a bill that would further the cause of maritime heritage and tourism in Michigan. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has approved US Senator Debbie Stabenow’s legislation to preserve and promote Michigan’s lighthouses, according to a press release from Stabenow's office. The bill now goes to the full senate. Stabenow’s Michigan Lighthouse and Maritime Heritage Act would create a federal, state and local partnership to preserve Michigan’s lighthouses and promote the maritime culture of the Great Lakes. The bill would require the National Park Service to work with the State of Michigan and local communities to study and make recommendations to Congress on the best ways to promote and protect Michigan’s lighthouses and increase tourism, including the creation of a Michigan Lighthouse Trail. The study would also identify sources of funding available to Michigan communities for the preservation and restoration of their local lighthouses. The release does not mention an appropriation.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What is Cultural Tourism in the Maritime Heritage Context?

Back on March 7, I posted a link to the Ontario Ministry of Tourism's website and it's "Making the Case for Tourism" toolkit. This drew a comment from Matthias Ripp, who suggested that we needed to define terms, such as "cultural tourism," and suggested this link to a European Union project. Below is his definition:

Cultural Tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on the culture, the cultural environment (including the landscapes of the destination), values and lifestyles, local heritage, visual and performing arts, industries, traditions and leisure assets of the host community. It can include attendance to cultural events, visits to museums and heritage places and mixing with the locals. It should not only be regarded as a definable economic niche within the broad range of tourism activities, but rather as encompassing all experiences absorbed by the visitors to a place that is beyond their own living environment for more than one night and less than one year in private or public accommodation in the destination.

What do you think? Does this miss anything with regard to maritime heritage? Is this defintion, coming out of the European experience, applicable to the American context?

(An anonymous comment has been allowed for this post because it has added good ideas to the discussion.)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Kitsap Sub Museum Draws Crowds; CNN Report on Katrina Live Oak

The Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Wash. drew nearly a thousand visitors to recent "Discover E-Day" event. The museum is an official US Navy facility preserving the history of undersea warfare and technology. Thanks to Pedro Caleja for posting the article on his blog.

Kelly at Maritime Compass is featured in this CNN report on the salvage of live oak downed by Hurricane Katrina. The wood will be used in the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, one of the oldest sailing vessels in the United States.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Towns with Strong Maritime Heritage on NTHP List

Congratulations to the towns of Lewes, Del., Monterey, Calif., and Waimea, Kaua’i, Hawaii, for their listings on the The National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2006 "Dozen Distinctive Destinations," an annual list of well-preserved historic communities in the United States. The list is meant to promote heritage tourism. Since 2000, NTHP has honored 84 Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 41 states. This year nearly 93 destinations in 39 states were nominated by individuals, preservation organizations, and local communities. (Full disclosure: Maritime Heritage Network and the MHN Blog are partly funded with an NTHP grant.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bellingham Maritime Writer Interviewed

KUOW-FM, the Seattle National Public Radio affiliate, interviewed Bellingham, Wash. writer Clyde W. Ford, author of the maritime mysteries Red Herring and Precious Cargo, on the station's "The Beat" program March 6. You can listen to the interview via links on the KUOW website.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ontario Cultural Tourism Resource; Great Lakes Shipwrecks Museum; Boeing Connexion Linking Seafarers

Canada is far ahead of the USA in promoting cultural tourism as an economic development tool. This strategy could be important for supporting maritime heritage in the future. Heather Trescases, executive director of the Eastside Heritage Center of Bellevue, Wash. and president of the board of the Association of King County Historical Organizations (I'm the board vice president.) sent me this link to the province of Ontario's Ministry of Tourism website. Look for the "Making the Case for Tourism" toolkit, which is being used throughout the province. She says it's very successful.

Pedro Caleja of the Do fundo do Mar...Sea Bottom blog posted an article about the Great Lakes Shipwrecks Museum.

USA Today published a story of how Boeing is going after seafarers with its Boeing Connexion Internet-in-the-sky product.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Classic Yacht Symposium; Ghost Ships Festival

Kelly at Maritime Compass notes that the New England Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island will host the 2006 Classic Yacht Symposium March 31- April 2. The program includes a keynote by venerated yacht designer Olin J. Stephens II, the restorations of Alera, a Herreshoff, New York 30; Cangarda, the last of the American-built Edwardian-era steam yachts; the Peggy Bawn, a fully restored 1894 George L. Watson small fast cruiser; and the 1925 motor launch Corsair. Folks interested in classic yachts in the Pacific Northwest should contact the the Classic Yacht Association and the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.

The blog Divestor posted an entry about the 2006 Great Lakes Ghost Ships Festival March 24th and 25th in Milwaukee. The seventh annual event is devoted to Great Lakes’ scuba diving, the lakes' maritime history, and the estimated 900 sunken ships in the area.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Kalakala at Seattle's Colman Dock? Two New Maritime History Websites

The Seattle Times reports that Steve Rodrigues, owner of the historic ferry Kalakala, wants to move the vessel from Tacoma to Colman Dock, the main Washington State Ferry terminal on Seattle's central waterfront. The ferry system has so far turned down his request. Kalakala is managed by the Kalakala Alliance Foundation, which has applied to list the 1935 art-deco ferry on the National Register of Historic Places and the state's landmark list.

I ran across two maritime history websites I hadn't seen before: "Maritime History and Naval Heritage Homepage" and "Era of the Clipper Ships."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thoughts on the "Museumification" of Small Towns

There's a growing discussion of heritage tourism as a way to boost local economies and increase revenue for heritage organizations. The blog "Single Planet" has a long, though thoughtful post about the effects of what the writer calls "museumification" on small Chinese communities, which could act as stand-ins for any small town "discovered" and then overwhelmed by visitors. This is recommended reading.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Travel Story on Port Townsend; Musician: Maritime Heritage = "Soul"

The Seattle Times ran a nice profile of Port Townsend, which is in Jefferson County on the north end of Puget Sound. The community relies heavily on a downtown historic district and a number of maritime heritage attractions for its economic and cultural well-being. These include the Northwest Maritime Center, Fort Worden State Park, and the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in nearby Port Hadlock. The schooner Adventuress is also based at Port Townsend., a website for a Massachusetts newspaper, quoted musician Jonathan Edwards, who loves the community of New Bedford. "Due to its maritime history, New Bedford has what I call soul," he says. "I really appreciate the closeness that New Bedford has with the seas and boating, the huge maritime tradition and the ongoing support of recreational boating." If Seattle could learn to love its maritime history more, perhaps it would have a bit more soul as well.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Idaho Group Forms Classic Boat Chapter; ILO Adopts Seafarer Labor Standards

More than 30 antique and classic wooden boat enthusiasts will meet in Boise on Saturday, March 4, 2006 to form the Payette Lakes Chapter Wooden Boat Club and seek affiliation with the International Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Society, according to a news release on the State of Idaho website. The ACBS has a chapter in Washington State based in Arlington. The ACBS has more than 8,000 members and 50 chapters worldwide.

The London reporter for Business Times of Singapore reports that the International Labor Organization has adopted new labor standards for the world's seafarers.