A Derelict Ship

UPDATE: OK, I have been corrected by a very dear blogger friend of mine who has vast amounts of maritime knowledge and I’ll promote her blog at the same time: “Your treasure is classic for when a tree trunk with a branch sticking out of it rots in the ocean. Seen it many times walking the coast of Maine as a kid.” https://mariner2mother.wordpress.com/
(However, I might still pretend it came from the ship, but that’s in my own mind.)
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This is another beach treasure I found at low tide on Shilshole Bay in Ballard, outside of Seattle. I didn’t know what it might be until my son sent me an article about the location of our favorite “secret” beach.

(I used to call it SHIThole Bay cos I have the humor IQ of an overgrown teenager until Angel Boy 2.0 repeated what I said, so I had to stop acting like I’m in junior high.)

The derelict steamship SS Bering, also known as “the reindeer ship” on Shilshole Bay, Seattle, January, 1957

Derelict ship Bering on Shilshole Bay, Seattle, January, 1957

A piece of the hull can still be seen at extreme low tides and that’s what I think I found. (I’m not at all happy that the ship was used to transport murdered reindeer.) These are the pilings we see at low tide.

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells.

This is the article my son shared about the history of the SS Bering. Seattle is a fascinating city.

Derelict “Reindeer Ship” SS Bering burns on shore of Seattle’s Shilshole Bay on January 23, 1964.

On January 23, 1964, firefighters from the Ballard fire station in Seattle set ablaze the beached hulk of the former SS Bering steamship. After sitting for two decades on the shores of Puget Sound just north of the entrance to the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the engulfing flames herald an end to a vessel with a long history of service. Among its maritime roles, the ship served the Lomen Brothers reindeer herd business in the far north, for which it earned the nickname the “Reindeer Ship.”

Ship of Several Names

The origins of the “Reindeer Ship” trace to its launching under another name, the Annette Rolph, on July 4, 1918, in Fairhaven, California. The ship was a wooden-hulled “tramp” steamship built for the trans-Pacific trade, under the Rolph Navigation and Coal Company. In her later career for Rolph business interests, she worked the coastal trade and mail line between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Callao, Peru.

The Lomen Brothers purchased the vessel in 1930 and renamed her the Arthur J. Baldwin. It underwent a conversion into a refrigerated ship, for service with the Arctic Transport Co. of Nome, Alaska. For the next six years, it earned the nickname the “Reindeer Ship” for its role in bringing supplies such as lumber and gas to northern ports, and shipments of reindeer meat from the Lomen reindeer fields on return southern voyages to Seattle.

The vessel was next called Bering, starting in March 1936 under the Alaska Steamship Co. The ship was put into general service, which included special runs between salmon cannery ports and longer-range voyages through the Arctic Ocean to resupply Point Barrow, Alaska.

The ship’s final period of active service began in 1942, when it was briefly designated USS Bering by the War Shipping Administration as part of the maritime supply line to Alaska during World War II. Its service was cut short prematurely, when on its maiden voyage to the North it went aground on a reef near Cape Spencer on December 17, 1943. It was refloated by the crew and returned to Seattle, with the owners reimbursed $100,000 by the federal government for the loss.

In 1944, Tregonning Boat Co. purchased the condemned vessel for $1 and beached her at Shilshole Bay as a breakwater, just north of the entrance to the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The breakwater was envisioned as part of the plan for a new pleasure craft marina. However, funding for the new moorage never materialized and the Bering became irrelevant. To the north of the vessel, a new breakwater was later built by the federal government for protection of the new Shilshole Bay Marina. Meanwhile, the Bering remained a fixture on the shoreline for the next two decades.

A newspaper story about the construction of the Shilshole Bay Marina in 1962 described the Bering and its legacy as a local landmark:

“South of the marina, a gray weathered hulk of a freighter seems to have been beached on the shore. You’ll wonder about it. Every sightseer does. You may want to strike off across the mounds of grass and sands to inspect it at close range. At low tide, one can walk all around the ship” (Krenmayr).

In 1964, public debate continued to focus on the ship and its continued presence on the waterfront. Some saw it as an eyesore, while others viewed it as a tangible relic of Seattle’s maritime history and connection to the World War I era.

Fate of Vessel Determined

The arrival of the new Shilshole Bay Marina in the early 1960s was one factor in the public discourse about what to do with the derelict ship. Another was the question about public safety. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that access to the vessel was unrestricted and a liability if left unchecked: “The old ship was an ‘attractive nuisance’ for boys in search of adventure … nine years ago a boy was saved from drowning in a rainwater pool in the hold” (Page).

The final straw came when the Ballard Order of Elks purchased the shoreline on which the beached ship was situated. In the first week of January 1964, the City Council Public Safety Committee recommended that the ship be burned in place. The Elks soon coordinated the planned burning event with the city’s fire department in Ballard. On Thursday, January 23, 1964, firefighters set fire to the hull of the ship, with curious onlookers watching from the beach. Three days later, the fires were still smoldering among the timbers of the hull’s remains, which had burned to the waterline.

https://www.historylink.org/File/20862 By Fred Poyner IVPosted 9/16/2019HistoryLink.org Essay 20862

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction.

Inside my very own magical snow globe

The snow falls, each flake in its appropriate place. ~ Zen proverb ~

That’s what it feels like. A beautifully bewitching soundless shelter, muffled voices and cars and barking dogs. Silence. It’s like living in my very own Chanel snow globe. (Of course, the reality might be that my 102 degree fever from the flu is making me a bit crazy. On that subject, I used to have this very special blanket that would make me feel 100% better when I was sick and I really miss it. Sad.)

But here I am in the snow. SNOW!!!!

The Japanese have a word for the sound of snow falling.

It’s shinshin (say sheensheen). The word “shin” means silence or, more accurately, the absence of sound where there was sound before.

So “shinshin” is more of a feeling than anything else, a protective blanket of silence. The enchanting sound of silence.

Physicists say humans cannot hear falling snow; the pitch is too high. Wolves and bats can, which might explain why right before a snowfall they seem to disappear into shelter. 

And then more and more and more snow, covering cars and houses and the streets and trees. So clean and fresh, like white sparkly frosting on everything.

It’s been years and years since I woke up to the magic of a snow-covered world.

I stepped out into the pure and awesome whiteness of it, snowflakes settling gently on my face and hair, and I recall the wondrous and extraordinary exquisiteness of being alive. It made me want to twirl around and around with outstretched arms, at one with the cosmos. (I did.)

Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness
MARY OLIVER, “Snowy Night”, What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems

I took video of the gigantic snowflakes but my free WP account doesn’t allow vid uploads, so I hope these pics capture the glory.

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PS If anyone wants to gift me that Chanel snowglobe, it really exists. Google it.

 

Shake It Off

Not the Taylor Swift tune, although it’s one of my faves, but I’m talking about shaking off the much too serious posts I’ve been writing about wetiko, death, and the dark night of the soul!

While I haven’t done a whole lot of retail therapy shopping lately unless it’s toys or clothes for a growing Angel Boy 2.0,  I’ll tell you about a heartbreakingly exquisite moment that he and I shared on a recent visit.

Picture this: he lives between Puget Sound and some MAJOR railroad tracks. The good thing is the neverending entertainment of watching boats and sunsets and moonrises and the tiny little beach that’s across the street and the less good thing is the long and loud freight trains that heavily traverse the tracks all day and all night.

However, to a little boy, choo choos are AWESOME and AMAZING ALL THE TIME, exactly like his daddy thought at that age. We often drove to the train museum at Balboa Park and rode the little train there, too.

The day I was leaving, as I was packing my suitcase, Theo came in my room and grabbed my hand. I said, “What’s up, Mr. T? I’m packing up to go home, do you want to help?”

He looked at me intently still holding my hand and pulled me to my feet. In a sweet, small voice, he whispered excitedly, “AmmahAmmah, choo choo!” and raised his arms so I could pick him up. We stood at the window and he patted my back and leaned into me as I read to him all the names on the cars and we counted them until the train passed. I counted 56 cars and never wanted to put him down. I wish there had been 10,556 more.

Time stopped for those few minutes.

Nothing else mattered.

A boy, his grandma, a shared love of trains, and the beauty of a little human whose spirit shines so brightly even at eighteen months that he already knows the meaning of life and of happiness, being fully invested in the moment, the mindfullness of joyful living that some of us seem to lose as we transition into adults.

My little buddy. Beyond adorable…THEO-dorable!

This is the Balboa Park train. Can’t wait to take 2.0 !!!

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I’m BAAAAACCCKKKKK!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Today it rained nonstop in SoCal and you probably saw the record breaking weather on your local news; I’d say our drought is pretty much over. Heavy rain on the deck!

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It was a perfect day for a DIY matcha green tea mask. It’s so easy; just a teaspoon of powdered matcha mixed with a bit of water and a few drops of rosehip oil. Leave it on for about twenty minutes, rinse off, and moisturize.

Did I scare you?

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What else is new with me?

Angel Boy 2.0, my adorable grandson, is going to celebrate his first birthday in a couple weeks. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by.

This is a view from their living room. The Salish Sea (Puget Sound) with the Olympic Mountains seem so close it’s as if you could almost touch them. Spectacular!

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No whales, but lots of boats. This is a busy waterway.

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And during a recent visit, a perfectly positioned squirrel watching us at Golden Gardens, an amazing park near the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, near Seattle.

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So what’s new with all of you?