Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Equator

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The “Equator” is another vessel with a very historic past that I have driven past countless times, so I thought I would take a little time to learn about her. For many years, she has been stored near the Everett, WA boat launch. Over the years, sporadic progress was made to try and rebuild her, but it looks like it is too far gone and too much, too late to save her.

Here she is in her current location with her purpose built shelter:
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Originally built in San Francisco in 1888 as a copra trader, Equator was converted to steam in 1897 and eventually abandoned in the harbor at Everett, Washington in 1956 along Jetty Island (remember jetty island from this post). The vessel was Everett’s first artifact placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The remains of the hull are protected by a shed near the Port of Everett’s Marina Park. Several attempts to rebuild the ship have failed, and restoration is considered unlikely. Built in Benecia, California she is the last surviving hull of that time period known to exist. In her career she worked under sail, steam, gasoline, and diesel power. She worked copra, fish, tug and support for the Geodetic Survey. Because of her shoal draft she could get close on shore where other vessels couldn’t go.

A sign post recognizing the Equator as a National Historic Place:
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The sign board that currently accompanies the Equator. Click the image to enlarge it for reading:
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A sign indicating members of the Equator Foundation which is now defunct:
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Of special note is that famed Scottish Author Robert Louis Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) chartered the Equator in 1889 for a voyage that visted Butaritari, Mariki, Apaiang and Abemama in the Gilbert Islands, (also known as the Kingsmills) now Kiribati. During the 1889 voyage they spent several months on Abemama with the tyrant-chief Tem Binoka, of Abemama, Aranuka and Kuria. Stevenson extensively described Binoka in In the South Seas.

This was the second of three voyages that Stevenson made (the only one on the Equator) to the Pacific Islands, Micronesia and Samoa. Stevenson’s most famed works include Treasure Island(1883), Kidnapped(1886), and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde(1886).

The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen carrying parrots on their shoulders.
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Black Spot

The Historic American Engineering Record of the National Park Service has an excellent record of the vessel including more photographs here.
(or you can click the following link)http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/wa/wa0800/wa0888/data/wa0888data.pdf

RFPNW…..Very Soon

My airline ticket is booked, room booked, car rented, class reserved and I’m ready to go. Now all I have to do is wait for the calender to click off until it is time to depart. This course is called RFPNW (Ratings Forming Part Of A Navigstional Watch). It is somewhat obscure as far as learning what is required, how to aquire what is required and where to aquire it. The USCG has a policy letter (14-02) that lays out many items, but there are many unanswered questions as well. I have found a course at Fletcher Technical College and spoke with the course instructor a couple of times. They are helpfull and one of the only places that really laid out what I need to do to get this endorsement completed. If you are in a similar place as me regarding RFPNW, it would be wise to contact the school and talk with the instructor.

Until then, I will be adding a few more posts from things around the Everett area and other maritime related posts.

The Western Flyer a.k.a F/V Gemini

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The Western Fyer / FV Gemini just after being raised in the fall of 2012

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Here she is as of March 3, 2013

The wreck of the Fishing Vessel Gemini in Swinomish Channel (A narrow channel near Anacortes, WA connecting Skagit Bay in the South to Padilla Bay in the North) has been identified as the Western Flyer. The Western Flyer has a long a storied past, most significatly, she was chartered in 1940 by author John Stienbeck for an extended trip to the Sea of Cortez. From this trip, Stienbeck authored “The Log of The Sea of Cortez”.

Stienbeck’s 1940 Trip Through The Sea Of Cortez:
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This trip was just a few years after he wrote “Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice And Men”. Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

The Western Flyer later was used a king crab boat out of Dutch Harbor, Alsaka with a very young deckhand from Norway aboard as cook / deckhand named Sverre Hansen, father of Deadliest Catch Stars Sig and Edgar Hansen.

The Western Flyer had been sitting along side the Swinomish Channel for several years and everytime I passed her, I thought that it was a old tribal derelict vessel. It is amazing to read the stories of some of these old girls and the adventures they have been part of. She first sank in the fall of 2012 as noted in the link below, but she also sank a second time earlier this year. A friend of mine recently snapped the photo above on March 3rd.

To read more if this vessel’s history, please follow this link:
The Western Flyer

Twenty and a Tow

Aniversary Tow

 

Yesterday marked my twentieth anniversary to my better half.  How she ever put up me that long, I have no idea. I half jokingly told her “watch, the phone will ring while we are at dinner and I’ll have to go tow some disabled boater in”.

Just as we were a couple miles from home, heading to our dinner reservation, the phone rang and it was Vessel Assist Dispatch.  They had a case of a broken down sailboat at the mouth of the Snohomish River near the Everett Naval Station.

The weather was overcast, but not windy, so my wife said she would go with me and then we would go to dinner.  We were underway in 25 minutes and at the river mouth in 35.  No sign of any boat other than Naval Security.  I called the guy on the phone (no VHF) and he said he was half way to Hat (Gedney) Island.  Well that is about 4 miles from where they said they were.  Some peoples descriptions of where they are just don’t make sense. 

I had one tow last summer in the middle of the night where the guy said he was in the middle of the ferry lane off of Mukilteo.  I motored out there and couldn’t find him.  I got him on the phone and he still insisted that he was in the Mukilteo Ferry lane.  Of course he had no GPS position or VHF but he did have a smart phone.  I told him to download a GPS program and call me back with the coordinates.  A few minutes later he called back with his position……..he was 15 miles away just off of Edmonds Ferry. Please have a working radio and a gps at a minimum!

So we hooked up the tow, brought her into their slip (even had my wife manning the boat hook on the bow) and headed to a lovely dinner overlooking Puget Sound at Ivar’s Seafood House in Mukilteo.

 

Edison Chouest’s AIVIQ visits Everett

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Edison Chouest’s 360′ Icebreaking Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS) AIVIQ has arrived in Everett (as noted in my previous post).
A few quick notes about her:
She’s 360′ Length x 80′ Wide x 34′ Draft
Bollard Pull of 200 Metric Tons
Carries 528,155 gals. of fuel
Heliport suitable for a Sikorsky S92 helicopter on the bow
Main Propulsion is Four Caterpillar C280-12 diesel engines, producing 5,444 hp each
She can make 5 knots through one meter (3.28′) of ice
She’s manned by a crew of 24. Here is the list:
1 Master Unlimited
1 Chief Officer Unlimited
1 Second Mate Unlimited
2 Third Mates Unlimited
1 Chief Engineer Unlimited
1 Assistant Engineer Unlimited
1 Second Assistant Engineer Unlimited
2 Third Assistant Engineers Unlimited
4 ABs
4 QMEDs (qualified member, engineering department)
4 Oilers
4 Ordinary Seamen
2 Food Handlers

See the AIVIQ’s Specs from Workboat.com Here.

She is an impressive vessel to say the least! I took a little cruise around the harbor today to get some photos and see her up close. Luckily for me, the U.S.S. Stennis has left port, so the security inside the harbor was a bit more relaxed. As I was slowly motoring out of the Snohomish River, I passed the Navy security patrol vessel headed upstream. I waved them over and, figuring it was better to ask permission rather than forgiveness as I would normally do, I asked if they would mind if I entered the harbor to take photos of AIVIQ and they said no problem. So I stayed wide off the Navy pier and as far away from the docked Navy ships as possible so as not to bother anyone or raise any hackles at the base.
I was hoping to also see the Ocean Wave, Crowley’s powerhouse tug and the Sisuaq, Harvey Gulf’s Tiger Class Supply Vessel that was also in Everett, but just as I was leaving home to head to the marina, I received an email from Marine Traffic showing that both of these vessels had departed Everett.

I wanted to do this little cruise yesterday, but it was raining so bad I thought I’d wait a day for better photo weather. Today turned out to be rainy and windy also, but I figured I shouldn’t wait any longer or the AIVIQ may also depart. I grabbed my wife’s fancy Nikon (she’s not home) and snapped the photos. I need to take lessons on using a real camera and I’m not sure why the photos appear small on this blog. I’m still learning how to use this site and all of the features that is contains of which there are many. I hope to take good vessel photos like New England Waterman does someday.

AIVIQ with the Everett Alumadome. The alumadome holds wood chips for loading.
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The Navy patrol vessel can be seen in this photo:
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AIVIQ is an impressive sight up close!
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Just past where AIVIQ is tied up to the North, is where Dunlap Towing is located:
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Just behind the AIVIQ is Brusco Tug & Barge:
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Some Harbor Cranes
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The Everett Alumadome again:
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