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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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Boat School Launches Vessel; Zodiac Ready for 2006

The Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Wash. launched a Paul Gartside-designed "Hadlock 23" April 24. The vessel was built by students in the 2005 Contemporary Wooden Boat Building under the instruction of Patrick Mahon. According to the NSWWB website, the Hadlock 23 performed flawlessly.

Jo Ann O'Connor of the Northwest Schooner Society and the Zodiac tells me that the historic schooner is back in the water and ready for duty after her annual haul out. She's received some new decking, a rebuilt windlass, and gallons of varnish and paint. "It has never ceased to amaze me the amount of work that gets done on the Zodiac each year and then she heads out to conduct education and sail training programs," O'Connoer says. "She is a perfect example of a working ship."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

MHN Calendar Addition: Stories of the Sea

Here's a late addition to the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for Thursday, May 4, 2006:

  • 5/4/2006: Festival, Stories of the Sea, National Fisherman, 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM, Price: FREE, Highliner Pub -- Fishermen's Terminal, 3909 18th Avenue W, Seattle, 206-728-3163, , A fisherman's storytelling festival sponsored by National Fisherman magazine

MHN is always looking for more events for listing in its Calendar page. If you know of a maritime-related event in the Pacific Northwest, please send details to

Friday, April 28, 2006

Ghosts on Schooner Wawona? It's Possible

The talk of ghosts this week (Sunday, Tuesday) on the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport got me to thinking about four deaths that I've documented on the schooner Wawona, which is now berthed at South Lake Union Park in Seattle. Here's the list: An unnamed second mate who drowned in early 1903; fisherman Maikel Maitak, a Russian immigrant who fell overboard in 1917; Capt. Charles Foss, who died at the wheel during a storm August 13 (yikes!), 1935; and fisherman Nick Field, who fell out of his fishing dory in spring, 1941. In the case of Field, his body was never recovered.

Could one of these men be haunting Wawona? I've worked in the old ship's forecastle and several times got a creepy feeling, but maybe it was the musty air and the dust motes dancing in the light. One time, however, I nearly broke my neck when I stepped into a hatch opening. At the very last second, I felt a heavy push on my hips, and I landed on my butt at the edge of the opening. An inch more to the left, and I would've fell down the hole. At the time, I attributed the safe landing to a piece of plywood, which blocked my way. But looking back on it, that push seems odd somehow and timed too well.

Could something else have happened? Maybe someone should investigate further. Those seaman loved that ship, and I've heard stories that spirits don't always like to leave places they love. What do you think?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MHN Calendar: Puget Sound Ship Modelers; First Woman Ferry Captain

Here's selected events from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for April 27 to May 4, 2006.

  • 4/27/2006: Meeting, Puget Sound Ship Modelers, Puget Sound Ship Modelers, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Price: FREE, Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union Park, 206-282-0985,, Regular meeting of Puget Sound Ship Modelers club
  • 5/4/2006: Lecture, Little, But Oh My!, Washington State Library, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, Price: FREE, Washington State Library, 6880 Capitol Blvd. S., Tumwater, 360-704-5269,, Speaker Jill Johnson lectures on the first female ferryboat skipper on Puget Sound, Berte Olson.

Please contact the organization to verify date, time, place, and subject matter.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cabaret to Feature Jazzy Maritime Poetry and Music

The April installment of Town Hall Seattle's "Seattle Follies," a satirical cabaret show with a political bent, features a maritime theme at its Thursday, April 27 show. Guests include magnetic soul singer and antic monologist Reggie Watts, poets Erin Fristad (bio) of Port Townsend and Rich Bard of Vashon Island, both of whom have performed at the world-famous Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Ore., and jazz singer Joanne Klein, described as the "the torchiest torch singer in town," who entertains with a medley of maritime melodies. Advance tickets are $16/$13 Town Hall members, students & seniors only at $18/$15 at the door. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

CWB Founder Honored; More on Mystic Ghost

Dick Wagner, the founding director of the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, was honored today with the Charles Payton Award for Heritage Advocacy at a ceremony in Seattle. The award was given by the Association of King County Historical Organizations, an association of more than 140 museums, historical societies, ethnic heritage groups, and individuals working to preserve and celebrate King County history. Wagner was honored for his consistent and effective work to preserve the maritime history of the Puget Sound region. (Dick and I are both on the AKCHO board.) Congratulations, Dick!

Kelly at Maritime Compass writes that "a paranormal researcher on board the Charles W. Morgan reported sensing 'the presence of a seaman named Gerald' and 'sickness, death and despair' among about 15 men as they rode out a large storm in their cramped sleeping quarters." Mystic Seaport, home of the Morgan, recently allowed ghost hunters to visit the ship after Seaport visitors claimed seeing a number of apparitions. Hey, whether you believe in ghosts or not, it's great publicity for maritime heritage. Time to plan for the Halloween program!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Curtis & Loretta w/ Hank Cramer Concert Review

The blogger technoshaman in Slouching towards apotheosis attended last Saturday's Curtis & Loretta with Hank Cramer concert at the Center for Wooden Boats. The concert was sponsored by Northwest Seaport. Technoshaman says Hank Cramer "really got his attention." Read the full entry.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ghost Stories: Mystic Mystery; Ancient Pacific Seafarers

Today's post has a theme to it: the dead. According to the blog, the nutmeg grater, specialists in the paranormal are investigating reports of a ghost haunting the Charles W. Morgan, an historic whaling ship at the Mystic Seaport maritime museum. According to the blog, visitors to the ship have reported a man in what appeared to be 19th-century clothing working below deck. The man, who had a pipe in his mouth, nodded at them but did not speak. When the visitors reported the man to a museum interpreter, they were told that no one was assigned to be on the boat that day.

In more scientific news, Science Magazine published a report on archeological finds related to the Pacific Ocean's first seafarers. Scientists have uncovered graves on Efate, in the Vanuatu Islands, that are estimated to be 3000 years old. In that era, aboriginal people began migrating across the Pacific, colonizing islands around New Guinea.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Incredible Seattle MH Opportunity; Sand Man Hours; Pirates Adopt a Hydro

The Washington State Ferries has embarked on a multi-year project to replace Seattle's Colman Dock, the busiest terminal in the nation's largest ferry system. I attended the first meeting in a process that will take five to 10 years to complete, and spoke with a number of people about the maritime heritage opportunities presented by the upgrade. For details on the plans, see today's story about WSF's plans in today's Seattle Times. I'll be keeping a close eye on this and reporting relevant developments in The MHN Blog.

Sand Man Foundation, which owns an historic tug moored at Percival Landing in Olympia, has scheduled regular hours for public tours of their vessel, Sand Man. The hours are Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, view the MHN listing for Sand Man.

The Seafair Pirates, a group of community-minded pirate clowns, has "adopted" an unlimited hydroplane to help promote their work. Here's the story in today's Seattle Times.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

MHN Calendar: Concerts, Maps, Pirates, and More

Here are selected items from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for the weekend of April 21-23, 2006.

  • 4/21/2006: Lecture, Exploring the Deep with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Center for Wooden Boats, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Price: FREE, Center for Wooden Boats, 1002 Valley St., Seattle, 206-382-2628,, Learn about smart vehicles that explore the deep ocean.
  • 4/22/2006: Concert, Curtis & Loretta with Hank Cramer, 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,, Hear traditional and new music from Northwest maritime musicians.
  • 4/22/2006: Lecture, Mapping the West: 18th and 19th Century Cartography, 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,, Robert Hamm will trace the development of maps of the U.S. West, illustrating how the political, social, and cultural contexts of the times influenced the mapmakers’ art and science.
  • 4/22/2006: Cruise, North Hood Canal Exploration, FiberGlassics Northwest, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Price: Contact FGNW, Hood Canal, Begin at county park on east end of HC Bridge, 360-385-5038,, Cruise Port Gamble, Hood Head, Quilcene Bay, Seabeck, Fisherman's Bay and Pleasant Harbor.
  • 4/22/2006: Concert, Puget Sound Pirates Pub Raid, Puget Sound Pirates, 12 Noon to 2:00 PM, Price: FREE, Moon Dog Bar & Grill, Port Orchard, Wash., 360-286-0222,, The Puget Sound Pirates invade a Port Orchard pub.
  • 4/22/2006: Class, Ship Models for Kids of All Ages, Discovery Modelers Education Center, 9:00 AM to Noon, Price: $15, includes fee and kit, Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union Park, 206-282-0985,, Build a sailboat, fishing boat, pirate ship and more from a kit.

Please contact the sponsoring organization and confirm date, time, and subject matter.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Strip-Built Canoe Launched; Derelict Lightship Photo

A student in a boat-building class at the Working Waterfront Maritime Museum in Tacoma has launched his strip-built canoe. The project was one of the first to come out of the initial small boat-building class held at the museum. The builder, Don McAdams, worked on the boat from October 2004 until its launch on Feb. 19, 2006. The museum's second class, which began last fall, meets Monday and Wednesday evenings. Museum visitors can view the progress of class projects on Saturdays. Projects include a classic dinghy, a kayak and a canoe.

A lightship buff has posted an interesting photo of a derelict lightship. Fortunately, Puget Sound's own historic lightship, Swiftsure, is in much better condition. If you have any historic ship photos posted online, please send the MHN Blog a link,

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tacoma Museum Hosts Canoe Carvers; Production of Thea Foss Documentary Under Way

The Working Waterfront Maritime Museum in Tacoma is hosting Native American canoe carvers, who are creating a Salish-style cedar canoe for display at the Tacoma Art Museum and elsewhere. The story is reported in the Tacoma News Tribune. Native styles of canoe carving are resurging in the Puget Sound Area. Carving Cultural Connections of Seattle creates canoes in the Haida style.

The WWMM website also notes that the Foss Waterway Seaport, the Tacoma organization charged with redeveloping the Foss Waterway, and LUNA, a local film and video production company, are producing a documentary on Thea Foss, founder of Foss Maritime, a major force in local maritime history and former owner of the Arthur Foss, an historic 1889 tug now owned by Northwest Seaport. According to WWMM, filmmakers Lucy Ostrander, Nancy Haley and Don Sellers are shooting live footage, working with the Foss family, and capturing historic documents and photos on film.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Foss Vessels to Be Subject of May Talk

Mike Garvey, a founder and chairman of the maritime holding company Saltchuk Resources, will give a lecture in Seattle Saturday, May 13 on the restoration of the yacht Thea Foss, built in 1930 for actor John Barrymore. Originally christened Infanta, the 120-foot steel-hulled vessel was sold to the Lowe family, owners of Alaska Salmon Packers, and renamed The Polaris, according the website Tall Ships Tacoma 2005. At the outbreak of World War II, she was requisitioned by the US Navy and named USS Amber, serving as a guard to the entrance of Puget Sound. After the war, she served as a survey ship before the vessel was purchased by Foss Maritime, which reconverted her to a yacht. The company rechristened the boat Thea Foss, after the founder of the Tacoma company. The 500-ton vessel, now privately owned, has a draft of eight feet and is powered by twin Atlas diesels. (Thea Foss photo courtesy Tall Ships Tacoma 2005)

Garvey will also discuss the 42-foot privately owned Henrietta Foss, a tug built in 1930. Maritime history enthusiasts interested in attending the lecture should contact Rosanne Sachson, 253-857-6302. The lecture and accompanying activities are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $29.00 to cover lunch costs. Reservations must be made by May 3. (Henrietta Foss photo courtesy Rosanne Sachson)

For more maritime history events, visit the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar page.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Catala Oil Leak; Museum About to Be History

A tourist discovered an oil leak in the wrecked Catala near Ocean Shores, according to a story in today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer. My family visited the wreck last month.

A maritime museum in Florida is "dying on the vine," according to a story in the Palm Beach Post. The Maritime and Yachting Museum of the Treasure Coast lacks money, volunteers, and pretty soon, a facility.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

MHN Calendar: Peter Puget, Arthur Foss; Can Kalakala Turn Goodwill Into Dollars?

Here are selected events from the MHN Calendar for the weekend of April 14-16, 2006.

  • 4/15/2006: Lecture, Peter Puget Tells All, Discovery Modelers Education Center, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Price: FREE, Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union Park, 206-282-0985,, Lt. Peter Puget, played by an actor, tells about his voyage of discovery in Puget Sound.
  • 4/15/2006: Workshop, Vessel Engineer for a Day, Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Ctr, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Price: $60 for members of Northwest Seaport or Center for Wooden Boats; $80 for non-members, South Lake Union Park, Seattle, 206-382-2628,, Spend the day working with the power plants of the tug Arthur Foss, the steamer Virginia V, and other historic vessels. Call 206-382-2628 to register.
  • April 15-16, 2006: Festival, 19th Annual World Class Crab Races, Westport Maritime Museum, Price: $2.00 for your own crab; $3 for festival crabs, Westport waterfront, Westport, Wash., 800-345-6223, , Annual seafood and culture festival in the seaport town of Westport

Please check with the owner of each listing to verify place, time and subject matter.

If you're trying to get attention for your preservation cause, it sure helps to get on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic ferry Kalakala was praised in an editorial in the Seattle Times today. But can owner Steve Rodriguez and the Kalakala Alliance Foundation turn the vessel's newly earned goodwill into a restoriation and interpretation program that can sustain the ship for years or even decades?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Another Newspaper on Kalakala; CWB In London Blog

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its story today on the Kalakala's listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Yesterday, a story appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune. For more details, see the April 1 entry of this blog. (Ahem, I hope you noticed that The MHN Blog had this story 10 days before the big media. )

The blog Bristol Fashion: life afloat features a nice entry with a photo on the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Vietnam Patrol Boat Now a Memorial; Kalakala Designation Cited

Vietnam veterans who patroled the rivers of the Mekong Delta and other waterways have dedicated a refurbished boat that carried them on their missions. The boat, called a Patrol Boat River by the US Navy, was 31-feet long, made of fiberglass, and manufactured in Bellingham, Wash. The dedication was noted by the Everett Herald in today's edition. The boat was refurbished at the Bellingham International Maritime Museum.

The listing of the historic ferry Kalakala on the National Register of Historic Places was noted by a story in today's Tacoma News Tribune. See the MHN Blog entry of April 1.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

B&B Heritage Tourism Package; A Wedding Aboard Virginia V

Locally owned bed & breakfasts and small motels/hotels interested in the heritage tourism market might take a cue from the Emerson Inn by the Sea in Rochester, Mass. According to the blog Luxist, the B&B is offering a package that includes the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, the Gloucester Maritime Museum, and the Cape Ann Historical Society, among other historical attractions. Read the blog entry for more information.

A recent wedding aboard the 1922 steamer Virginia V was described by a Seattle blog,

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Center for Wooden Boats Posts Two Part-Time Jobs

The Center for Wooden Boats has two part-time job openings on craigslist for a Business Assistant and an Operations Assistant. Both positions are 20 hours a week and pay $10 to $12 an hour. Click the links to see the full job listings.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Radio Hobbyists Want Maritime Frequency Preserved

A group of radio hobbyists wants regulators to preserve the frequency that the Titanic and other ships once used for distress calls. The 500 kHz was reserved for ships and shore stations to transmit Morse code, which is rarely used these days, except by amateur radio operators. But the Maritime Radio Historical Society wants to maintain the frequency for Morse as an "International Memorial Frequency," and it's approached the International Telecommunications Union, an international regulating body, on the idea. More on on the proposal is available at the Radio World website.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

MHN Calendar: Navy Clocks, Not-Just-Maritime-Treasures Sale

Here are selected maritime heritage events in the Puget Sound region from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for the weekend of April 7-10, 2006:

  • 4/7/2006: Lecture, Navy Clocks, Kitsap County Historical Society, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Price: Contact KCHS, Bremerton, Washington, 280 4th St., 260-479-6226,, A program on clocks with direct ties to the US Navy or with a maritime theme
  • 4/8/2006: Benefit, Not-Just-Maritime-Treasures Sale, Discovery Modelers Education Center, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Price: FREE to shoppers; Vendors: $20/table, Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union Park, 206-282-0985,, The fourth annual sale of maritime and other items takes place on the second level of the Naval Reserve Building.

Please contact the event sponsor to confirm date, time and subject matter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

License Plates Support Wash. Lighthouses

The Washington State Department of Licensing is taking applications for a new series of specialized license plates celebrating the state's lighthouses. A portion of the proceeds for the plate, shown at left, supports lighthouses and lightships cared for by a not-for-profit organizations in Washington. According to Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, the structures and ships include Admiralty Head, Alki Point, Browns Point, Burrows Island, Columbia River Lightship, Destruction Island, Grays Harbor, Mukilteo, New Dungeness, Point Roberts, Point Robertson, Point Wilson, Swiftsure Lightship and West Point lighthouses. The price for the plate is $40, with a $30 annual renewal fee.

The license plates were created by the Washington State Legislature in 2005. Several volunteer organizations led the drive for the new plates, including Keepers of Admiralty Head Lighthouse and the Washington State University Extension in Island County. Friends of North Head, Mukilteo, Point No Point, Dungeness, Point Robinson and West Point (Grays Harbor) lighthouses also helped, according to the Admiralty Head lighthouse website. The lighthouse groups gathered more than 3,500 signatures from supporters.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lady Wash. Group Launches New Web Site

The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, owner of the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Cheiftain, launched a new website today. Executive Director Les Bolton says the website will all aspects of the organization, including the vessels, the facilities, and the programs. The not-for-profit GHHSA is an educational organization that owns and operates the Lady Washington, a replica of an 18th-century trading ship that visited the coast of Washington State. The Hawaiian Chieftain is a steel-hulled replica of a typical European merchant trader of the turn of the nineteenth century. 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.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Kalakala Named to National Register of Historic Places

The historic art-deco ferry Kalakala has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The register, managed by the National Park Service, is the nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Kalakala was added the register on March 22, 2006. Built in 1935, the Kalakala featured a rounded, bulbous nose that tapered to a pointed stern resembling a jet contrail. During the Great Depression and the years after World War II, she symbolized Seattle’s emergence as an industrial city. She was a favorite of photographers. And passengers regarded a ride as more of an excursion than a commute.

In 1967, Kalakala was sold to a seafood company, and wound up in Alaska. She was beached and her interior gutted to make way for processing equipment. In 1984, a Seattle sculptor, Peter Bevis, discovered the rusting hulk, and after 15 years of work, he refloated her and brought her to Seattle. Unable to find backers in Seattle, she was sold to retired engineer Steve Rodrigues, who formed the Kalakala Alliance Foundation to restore and operate her as a floating museum. The vessel is now in Tacoma. (Photo credit: Washington State Historical Society)