We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
(PC-1172: dp. 348; 1. 173'8"; b. 23'; dr. 7'7"; s. 20.2 k. cpl. 65; a. 1 3", 4 20mm, 2 det; cl. PC-~ffl)
Olney ( PC-1172) was laid down 29 March 1943 by Leathem D. Smith SB Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Launched 5 June 1943 and commissioned on 6 October 1943, Lt. A. L. Goldstein, USNR, in command.
After commissioning, Olney departed Sturgeon Bay and moved via Lake Michigan, the Chicago and Wabash Canal The Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, arriving on 21 October 1943. She then proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and completed shakedown there just before Christmas. From Guantanamo she went to Key West and joined with PC 1861 for the return passage to New Orleans, tying up on 11 January 1944.
Beginning 17 January, Olney conducted convoy escort patrols along the East Coast and in the Caribbean. On 16 January 1945 she relieved PC-1088 on coastal patrol duty off the approaches to the Ambrose Channel and the port of New York. In this capacity she worked at various times with other PC's, Ready (PG 67) and USCGC Triton.
Olney departed New York on 14 June with PC-1649 to transit the Panama Canal for Pacific duty. Sailing via San Diego and Pearl Harbor, she arrived Eniwetok, 17 August. On 1 September she steamed on to Ulithi to escort a convoy to Eniwetok.
Arriving off Majuro on 21 October, Olney was assigned erash boat duties in support of the B-29 air strip on that island. On 20 December she sailed for Eniwetok via Kwajalein and was subsequently assigned to the Navy Governors of the Trust Territories of the Marshall and Caroline Islands, for patrol rescue and liaison duties. Olney served in this capacity for nearly ten years, returning to San Diego on 26 February 1955.
Olney was placed out of commission in reserve in February 1955 and berthed in the Columbia River, Oregon. On 1 July 1960, she was struck from the U.S. Naval Register and sold on 20 May 1961 to Hateh and Kirk Ine., of Astoria, Oregon.
Olney PC-1172 - History
Although an area, known as Quinsnicket pond, and seventy-one acres was purchased in the fall of 1908 for $3,000 from the Stephen H. Smith family of Franklin, Massachusetts, Lincoln Woods State Reservation started officially on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1909. At a meeting of the Metropolitan Park Commission held at Hearthside, the Commission voted to go ahead with the development of Lincoln Woods. The Hearthside mansion on Great Road, Lincoln, was the original home of Stephen Hopkins Smith, dating from 1810, quite likely the ancestor of the Quinsnicket seller. Between 1908 and 1910, 457.41 acres were purchased to make up the woods and little ponds of Lincoln Woods. By 1918, 458 acres made up Lincoln Woods most of the land was on the northern side of Olney Pond, which by then boasted a small beach. Over the years since, Lincoln Woods has grown to 627 acres, which now rim the pond and include playing fields to the south. The facilities have grown and improved to include changing rooms for the swimmers, a snack bar, nature barn, and park administrative and maintenance facilities. With bridle and hiking trails throughout, the basic feature besides Olney Pond which also caters to fishing and boating including swimming, is a circumferential road favored by walkers and bicycle riders. In 1977, the swimming area was dedicated as the Frank Moody State Beach.
Until the acquisition of the gift of Goddard Memorial State Park in 1927, Lincoln Woods was the centerpiece of the state park system. It was the largest of the ring of state parks and reservations scattered in a six to eight-mile radius of the center of Providence, connected by spoke-like scenic parkways.
Named after the 16th President of the United States, Lincoln Woods was acquired by purchase, gift, and condemnation of farmland and woodlots of the Olney, Arnold, Comstock, and Mitchell families of the Salyersville, Lonsdale, and Quinsnicket areas of Lincoln. Its northern boundary is modern day Brakeneck Hill and Great Roads and the meandering Moshassuck River.
The funds making the early purchases possible came from an open space bond issue of $250,000 approved by voters in 1906 for use by the relatively new Metropolitan Parks Commission, created in 1904/1905 by the Rhode Island General Assembly. One of the aims of the Park Commission was to carry out the plans for parks inspired by the work of the non-profit, volunteer Public Park Association begun in the 1880’s, who advocated a system of parks in and around Providence that would promote public health and recreation agendas.
A rugged, hilly, tree-lined upland, strewn with giant boulders, the park had been fields with springs along a stream for two centuries before its set-aside as a ‘nature reserve.’ Olney Pond, named after one of the principal families, was more man-made than natural. The Olney’s had impounded the meadow at the eastern end of their property to create a dam offering a fall of water sufficient to run a thread mill about a century earlier than the park development. The Thread Mill Brook leads southeasterly from the dam to other ponds along the Moshassuck, hollowed out for industry as it lopes its way towards Providence. The mill was a three story wooden structure built by George Olney, with a few adjacent two family worker houses and a store.
A second mill, directly on the Mosshassuck, now memorialized only by its name, Manchester Print Works, was on the entrance road to the park, near the park headquarters, very near the new ranger booth and covered bridge. This mill that finished cloth by adding colors and designs was a ‘hard luck’ business, having at different times burned down twice and blown up once due to a defective boiler.
Another legacy of interest was part of the Quinsnicket parcel which began the parade of real estate assembly that fashioned the make up of the park. This was the woodlot developed by industrialist and inventor, Zachariah Allen. In 1820, Allen began an experiment in silviculture, a scientific cultivation of certain trees that would ‘re-forest’ species needed in businesses such as home building, commercial construction, and furniture making. According to some forestry experts, this conscientious effort at inducing tree growth was the first such effort in the country, and it lasted sixty-seven years. Allen kept a diary and ledger.
He was only twenty-five years old when he began the experiment of putting his theory that “vacant land may be profitably improved by planting trees” into practice. At the time this 40 acres was within the bounds of the town of old Smithfield. Lincoln was set off from Smithfield in 1871. Prior to Allen’s tree growing the land, which came into his hands from the division of a relative’s property, had been a worn-out pasture, having been used for that purpose for one hundred years, prior. Because of its exhausted state, and because he had neither the time nor the inclination to devote himself to restoring its lost fertility by the means used normally by agriculturalists of the day, he experimented by turning the entire area into a woodlot. His aim was to receive a profit for this effort down the road. His careful nurturing of the lot and his accounting of its production for more than half a century proved him correct.
Allen was able to indulge himself in this program because he owned the mill villages nearby of Allendale and Georgiaville. He ‘invented’ the Factory Mutual Fire Insurance Company, now known as FM Global, the largest insurer of manufacturing facilities in the world, with its world headquarters in Johnston, Rhode Island.
Over its century of public use, Lincoln Woods provided and continues to provide a scenic background for outdoor recreation in all seasons. Picnic tables with fireplaces, hiking and biking trails, ball fields and horseback riding. The beach and swimming area provides summer relief to thousands of city dwellers from Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, and Providence. In the days of crowded triple decker housing, in densely populated industrial districts, the fresh air and woodland scenery of Lincoln Woods was both a destination of healthy change and became a family photo album of happy memories for many. Originally accessible by transportation to the Quinsnicket trolley station on Brakeneck Hill, it is now easily accessible by auto.
For over a century Lincoln Woods administration has been able to find intelligent ways to achieve “proper preservation of the site while affording the greatest good for the greatest number, for the longest time.” Today, the foresight of its original design, influenced by the famous landscape design firm, Olmsted Brothers endures. It boasts two freshwater beaches, 176 picnic tables, 134 fireplaces, toilet facilities, bath house, fishing and boating facilities, ice skating, three game fields, hiking trails, six miles of horse trails, and three miles for snowmobiles.
Guestbook Archive 2000
Really enjoyed your site. Did not know these boats existed. I am a Fairmile B lover as dad worked on one for 25 years on one used as a ferry. I have added your sit
Another ferry in Perth W.A. was ex-war surplus from the US, Believe she had twin or triple Packards in her when new. If I send an image perhaps you could identify the class of vessel. Will keep in touch.
Perth, Western Australia.
Thank you for opportunity for many of us to see and go back and touch the days of the sub chasers of our fathers!
Thank you all that have come to post and share.
My father served on a sub chaser, the SC-648 he thinks. He was on detached service from the Army as a Radioman his whole service time. His name is John Conklin, he lives in upstate NY. He remembers the monkey, the birds etc mentione on board the sC-648. Dad came from Wayne NY at the time of the war.
I’ve been collecting information for my dad. We have shared some great phone conversations, and we even shared the same rate and rank. I was RM2 when I was in the USNR.
Anyone that remembers serving with my father, feel free to contact me!
Alright Splinter Fleet men, get Ted Treadwell’s book. Herein find great text, the final destination o
of all the SCs, and fine photos. See the subchaser with a bone in her teeth see the ragamuffin
crews. Here are the great memories.
Thank you for all the info. My father Glen Dymond served on the USS SC 675. If anyone has info pertaining it please email me.
Hi Ted, Thanks for linking to my site. Congratulations on publication of SPLINTER FLEET
I will order your book as soon as I can get hold of the Naval Institute. I tried this morning
but got tired of waiting.
Are there any photographs,memotos of “ American Bay ” on Corfu ?
Are there any photographs,memotos of Durrazo ?
Are there any photographs,memotos of Captain Juggy Nelson ?
Are there any photographs,memotos of Lt,Cmdr Batesedo ( spelling )
Are there any photographs,memotos of the Splinter fleet in Bermuda, Azores, Gilbrator ?
I am the son of the Medical Officer who served the flotilla, Lt. Leon Clemmer
Can anyone tell me how the resteration of SC-1057 is coming along. I use to fish on her out of Manhattan when she sailed as the Palace
I finally found the time to visit the splinterfleet site. Nice job. Only one error and that is the LOA of most of the SCs. only the Luders designed SC 449 class were 110 ft. and they were only about 30 in number. The rest were of the SC 497 Class designed by Sparkman & Stephens comprised the greatest number and they were 111 ft. and about 6 in. The LOA will have to remain unspecified until I can find my S&S docking Plan which specifed the LOA.
Good old SC 1013 shown above was built by Luders Marine Construction Co. of Stamford, CT. and was their Hull 490. She is still present and lives in Baltimore harbor, Owned by Capt. Bruce Keller.
I would be keen to hear from any SC sailors who may have been on Luders builds, either SCs or PCs. I have been working for about 8 years on a book about the history of Luders Marine Construction Co, to be called Ludership Means Leadership. I would also enjoy hearing from former Luders shipyard workers, any crew on luders vessels after the were sold to other navies or private industry.
Foks may reach me via snail mail at POB 468, Brownfield, ME 04010 . Tel.: 207.935.4655
Cheers to all thse who crewed Luders builds.
Your website looks good to me. I have 1/24 scale SC 1029 french drawings I built from scratch 25 years ago. Keep up good work.
My Dad was a radarman on a subchaser from 1944-45 in the Carribean. Before he passed away he talked with great pride about serving on his subchaser. I would greatly appreciate that if anybody who may recognize my dad’s name, Bob Hosking,or may know of the convoy escort duties he was a part of to please e-mail me so that I may learn more.
Fabulous website. I stumbled on it quite by accident while trying to find where to buy Henry Doscher’s
book " A Saga of the USS-761. I served on the SC-741 during the Phillipine Campaign as an Electrictians
Mate 2/C from April 1944 until it was decommissioned in Subic Bay in 1946. I am a member of the
Sampson WW II Navy Vets who have great museum at Seneca Falls, N.Y. of every kind of ship but no sub-chaser and now I
know why not. I have been trying to find info on subchaser models and you have answered that for me
also. When your book goes to press I would like to purchase an autographed copy of it
Best small vessel web-site that I have seen in a long time. I am very interested in the WW1 subchaser and if any body has a simple line drawing, top view, side view and a couple of bulkheads I would like to get in touch with you as I would like to build a working large scale model of a WW1 subchaser (USN) or WW2 USCG version used during the normandy landings.
Ex Royal Australian Navy
Great website! My son found it for me while searching for a copy of Edward P. Stafford’s
book, “Subchaser”. Stafford was, among other things, CO of the SC-692. Great book -- took
me back to my days on the SC-1029. I will look forward to your book. I served aboard the
1029 as part of the pre-commissioning crew at the builder’s yard on Lake Champlain, through
five amphibious landings in Africa and the Mediterranean, and finally turning the ship over
to the French (after major repair in Palermo, Sicily, having been nearly sunk in the Southern
France landings). Much computer work has put me in contact (or knowledge of) three of our
former officers, but none of the enlisted personnel. People who are interested in SC’s, PC’s,
etc. should certainly contact and join the Patrolcraft Sailors Association -- they have a website
but I don’t have it handy at the moment. I would be happy to tales or information about SC
duty with anyone interested.
What a fantastic site! Excellently done.
I tripped over this site acidentally in response to a web search for “marine plywood”, and a lucky find it was.
My father was an Iwo Jima Marine. He died young in 1968. I went to Arlington, VA on 19Feb95 to the Marine Corps Memorial for the 50th anniversary of the assault on Iwo. I stopped and knelt at the foot of the statue as I have done at every visit in the past and said a Hail Mary. I got to rub shoulders with a very select group of native American Marines, the Navajo code-talkers. As I looked at the generations gathered there for the ceremonies (WWII Marines and sailors and Coastguardsmen, wives, sons & daughters, politicians, and the current generation of young, fresh-faced Marines) I was struck by the sad fact that we’re losing the first-hand accounts of what my mom & dad’s generation accomplished for us in those frightening, turbulent years. Your site adds nicely to that rich tapestry.
Might I suggest that you write an article for “WoodenBoat” Magazine? I’m sure they’d jump at a chance to publish it either as a stand-alone or as excerpts from your book, and you really should send them a promo copy for a book review.(I’m including contact information for your convenience, but I imagine you’re familiar with the publication.)
POB 78 (Naskeag Rd.)
Brooklin, ME 04616-0078
This is a super website. I knew almost nothing about subchasers before reading it. They are really quite elegant, aren’t they.
I am interested in the Shetland connection. There has been a notable resurgence in Shetland-Norway links over the last twenty years, largely based on WWII memories, especially of the “Shetland Bus”. Shetland Publishing Company has published several books on the theme, mostly out of print now I’m afraid.
I welcome anyone to the company website:
I’m glad I found this site. Small naval combatants of both world wars have been an ongoing hobby of mine. I love naval and military history in general. This site is great.
Most of my friends have interests elsewhere in the vast spectrum of pasttimes, usually in the SF end. Not many high school juniors into naval history that I’ve met. Oh well.
Through the courtesy of my brother, Joe (see above) I have been fortunate enough to find this sight. As was mentioned, my father, William Klein, served on SC 759 from 1943-45 in the Pacific Theater. I am intersted in speaking with any surviving memeber of the crew who may have known dad and/or can provide me with details of the ships ports of call, battle record, and commedations/sitations.
Dad recently passed away however, he often spoke fondly of his days in the service. Please contact me if you knew my dad or were a member of the crew of SC 759. Thanks.
Beneath The Surface
The Bainbridge Island Historical Society has asked me to describe some of the activities of early skin divers on the Island, knowing that I was one of the organizers of the first diving club. Other members of the club were young adults and the two young Patrolmen who worked for the town. One objective of the club was to get a compressor capable of filling a SCUBA tank with good air, instead of going to Bremerton or Seattle, It soon became evident as the club grew, that adults did not have the staying power of the younger set. Adults were busy .with growing families, and tended to dive on vacations at warm water resorts. Young enthusiasts convinced us to lower the age limit to 18 and eventually to 14. The youths attended meetings very regularly, and that gives a clue why we settled on the club name:
Bainbridge Island Flounder Pounders
These stories cover a broad spectrum of diving activities that may be outside the usual diver’s experience. In general, they do not include stories of spear fishing, fish identification, specimen collecting, or sightseeing, although we did plenty of that, too.
MEMBERS OF THE FLOUNDER POUNDERS DIVING CLUB
1 A Swing to End All Swings
2 A Marvelous Anchor Lifting
3 The Wreck of the ANDALUSIA
4 A Tribute to the Battleship WEST VIRGINIA
5 Agate Beach
6 Diving on the Russian Freighter LAMUT
7 Flying Underwater
8 Going Over Bear Creek Falls
9 Beach Observations
10 Searching for Treasure
11 The End of the OLNEY
12 The Demise of the Ferryboat CHETZEMOKA
13 Anti-Submarine Warfare on Bainbridge Island
14 The Wreck of the GENERAL M. C. MEIGS
15 A Mystery under Pier 91
16 The Underwater Salvage Business
17 Cops and Robbers
18 Wonders of Cape Flattery
19 Hard Times
20 Mud in Lake Union
21 Raising the GRATITUDE
22 The Lure of Gold
1 A Swing to End All Swings
Shortly after moving to Bainbridge Island in 1961 some friends and I started a skin diving club. It was for adults, and consisted mostly of people who were SCUBA divers. However, we did some schnorkel diving too (I like the original German spelling), It was this activity that interested the younger people on the Island, primarily because they couldn’t afford SCUBA gear. They attended our open meetings regularly and asked good questions, so we lowered the age limit to 18, and later 14, and probably enjoyed diving all the more for including the youthful element.
I believe strongly that everyone interested in SCUBA diving in the Northwest should spend some months schnorkeling. It takes a while to get used to a rubber suit, the tunnel vision implicit with a face-mask, a lead weight belt, water currents, and breathing only through the mouth. A person can learn to be just at home with all their cold water gear as they are in a warm swimming pool in only a bathing suit. Knowing how to handle waves and currents and unusual conditions greatly improves a person’s survivability.
I let my imagination go wild when planning trips for the group. We did a lot of schnorkeling around Bainbridge, but we also dove in the straits of Juan de Fuca we swam into mysterious sea caves we inner-tubed down the white water of the Dosewallops River in the Olympics we went over the falls at Bear Creek near Steven’s Pass we observed trout and salmon in deep, icy mountain streams and we surf boarded at Point Grenville on the Pacific coast. All of these activities added to everybodys’ self confidence in the water. Almost everybody, that is…
I remember well the time Bruce Gifford and I were SCUBA diving north of the old Country Club ferry landing. We’d been diving together for about a year, exploring nooks and crannies in rocky areas. We had investigated some interesting conglomerate cliffs and small caves, and gradually worked toward shallower water and the Country Club float. Looking for bottles on the bottom, I noticed that the light had suddenly dimmed and realized we were under the Country Club float. Then, all of a sudden there was a big cloud of mud, and Bruce was gone! I followed up to the surface not far away, and there was Bruce paddling for shore at high speed. When I get there his eyes were still wide open to the max and he was breathing very fast. He was in total panic! After some time his surprising story came out. He had never before realized that he was a claustrophobe. He couldn’t stand the idea of being trapped under anything. And now that the latent phobia had broken through, he couldn’t stand being underwater! Bruce had been a capable and enthusiastic explorer, but he sold his gear and never dived again.
The Flounder Pounders also spear-fished while drifting with the currents through Agate Pass. To make things more interesting at Agate Pass, I used to drop a long neoprene line down seventy feet from the bridge railing. At high tide we could go way up the bank and make a giant swing in a swooping 150 foot arc, and drop off into the icy water. It was great fun, and it was always difficult to announce the last turn, and take down the rope.
Years went by and we all grew up a little. The kids started doing things on their own. I heard that they had installed their own rope on the bridge, and had left it there permanently. I thought that this was not such a good idea, but didn’t object. However, I wanted to see the setup, so the next year, when Ron Laes invited me to try out the swing I was glad to accept. Ron had become an excellent diver.(He now works in Hawaii full time as a jeweler and has a fantasy life underwater in his off hours.) Ron had hung an old manila line from the bridge further out from shore. The takeoff was not from shore, but from the top of a concrete pier just under the bridge, about fifty feet over the water. We walked out on the bridge in our rubber suits, trying to be inconspicuous, and climbed down to the jumping point. Ron jumped into the air and dropped straight down with a yell and made several giant swoops to slow down before dropping off and swimming ashore. When my turn came I grabbed the rope, stepped off, and went not in a swing, but straight down, crashing into the water at full speed, flat on my face in a semi stretched-out position. Dazed, sinking down through all the foam, I really wished that I had back some of the air that had been knocked out of me and also the buoyancy that went with it. With great effort I kicked and clawed my way to the surface, only to hear Ron yell from the beach, “Why did you let go?” I couldn’t talk, but in response I held up the five feet of old rope that I still clutched somewhat desperately in my hands. I signaled that I needed help and Ron obligingly swam out and towed me to shore.
My face and my chest really stung, and my neck hurt like after football practice. I thanked God for giving me a strong neck, thanked Ron for pulling me out, and apologized for breaking his rotten rope. We figured that there can, indeed, be too much of a good thing, and it was probably illegal anyway. I didn’t actually jump off the bridge as some people say, but I survived a fall almost as high, and learned another lesson or two in the process.
2 The Marvelous Anchor Lifting
(Published in the Bainbridge Review and Northwest Diver)
Agate Passage is the steep-banked, narrow channel that separates Bainbridge Island from the Kitsap Peninsula. Tidal currents in the pass are strong, making the navigational buoys lean far over with a rippling wake. SCUBA divers who search for unique specimens for the Poulsbo Marine Science Center are attracted to Agate Passage because rocky areas with good currents spawn other-worldly gardens where the flowers are really animals. A moderate current gives the SCUBA diver an effortless sight-seeing tour over drifts of shell and fields of giant whale barnacles. He goes with the flow, up and over or around huge glacially transported boulders that the geologists call ‘erratics’. Almost every car-sized boulder is the vantage point for a giant sculpin or ling cod lying on top, hidden in its natural camouflage waiting for something edible to pass by.
The usual Agate Pasage dive starts at one end and ends an hour later a mile downstream. We always use a float with the international ‘Diver Down’ flag attached. I like to tie a lightweight grapnel (a small anchor with four or five flukes) on the float line so I can dig it into the gravel bottom when I want to stop for a while.
In 1973 I was enjoying the beautiful carpet of white sea anemones between boulders when I noticed an unnatural pattern in the gravel, a six inch long sort of question mark. With a quick flip of the grapnel I stopped drifting and started to dig around the strange mark. As I moved sand and gravel away the object grew into a spade shaped piece of iron. It resisted any attempt to lift it. The reason was clear after several minutes of digging.
It was the tip of a fluke of a large Navy-type anchor. The rest of the anchor lay hidden beneath the sand. I cleared enough sand and gravel to be able to estimate its size and weight: about five feet long and 500 plus pounds. This was a real find! So I re-anchored the grapnel firmly and made my way to the surface, forty feet overhead. I took some bearings at the surface so that I could come back to the same location later. One hundred yards away the bridge was a good reference. Satisfied, I retrieved my grapnel and buoy and excitedly told my diving buddy about the find. We had become separated when I stopped so suddenly.
At the next meeting of our diving club, the Bainbridge Flounder Pounders, my proposal to recover the anchor as a club project was met with enthusiasm. It would prove to be an interesting and educational dive, and a whole lot of fun.
We easily rounded up three used 55-gallon drums, and club member Bob Stone welded up a clamp that could hold the three drums together. A beautiful sun greeted us on the momentous day selected for its gentle outgoing tide change. A truckload of gear had to be taken down the steep trail to the shore under the bridge. As the incoming tide slackened I swam out to my memorized site, dove down and found the anchor, and tied a marker buoy to it. By this time the other divers had clamped the drums together. Swimming the three drums out to the buoy had to be done quickly to take advantage of the short slack period. But our team of eight strong teenagers and young adults rose to the challenge and pushed and pulled the unwieldy mass into position.
Sinking the drums was a little tricky since we didn’t want them to come down any distance from the anchor. As the drums filled with water we pulled on the line to the anchor, and maneuvered the three-drum assembly into position right beside the anchor. It took only a moment to chain the drums to the anchor stock. As this was being done another diver plugged up the top holes, and I began blowing air into the bottom holes of the drums, using a spare SCUBA tank with a short hose. It didn’t take long for the assembly to rise up to a vertical position. My job was to go from tank to tank with the air hose, maintaining an even air distribution and balance.
Like clockwork, everything went just as planned. The first thrill was to see the float assembly rise into position over the anchor. Visibility was really good because the current had started to run a little, and any disturbed sand and mud was neatly swept away. The next thrill was seeing the anchor stock come to the vertical. And best of all, to see the whole assembly start to rise majestically like a great stratosphere balloon, moving faster and faster each second as the air inside the drums expanded. The openings in the bottom of the drums were now jetting rusty water like a rocket. And we all moved back in a cheering, arm-waving circle. There was a chance something might break, and we had all agreed that we should not be under the anchor as it rose.
In a storm of bursting bubbles the float assembly beat us to the surface, but not by much. I wonder what residents along the shore thought when a bunch of yelling, cheering, whooping divers exploded out of the water. What a moment!
We still had some serious work to do: pushing the assembly across current toward shore. The current was taking us toward the main part of Puget Sound, and it would be embarrassing to continue that course. But by pushing just a little toward shore we hoped to get into the current that rounded the Suquamish headland. This proved fairly easy and allowed plenty of relaxing surface time for singing and telling each other what a wonderful day it had been. Rounding Suquamish head we were about 30 or 40 yards from our destination: the concrete boat-launching ramp where a friend was waiting with his tow truck, an easy swim. So we hooked up to the truck’s hoist and gave the anchor its first look at sunshine in thirty or forty years. The local crowd was duly impressed and full of questions. We could only guess that the anchor had been lost during the construction of the Agate Pass bridge, probably in 1949 or 1950. Later a Bainbridge historian suggested that it might have been used to anchor the anti-submarine net which had been in Agate Passage during the war.
The anchor was deposited in Hawley in the front yard of Stan Berg, one of the key workers in the salvage operation. It sat there for several years while the Flounder Pounders thought about what to do with it. Then Stan’s brother Carl Berg, vice-president of the American Marine Bank, decided that the anchor fit in with the bank’s marine theme. Carl offered a place of honor outside the lower level door of the bank and the club was happy to donate the bit of Island history. Few people realize that the important history behind the anchor is the story of how an enthusiastic bunch of youngsters worked as a team to achieve a difficult and unusual goal.
3 The Wreck of the ANDALUSIA
The Panamanian freighter ANDALUSIA was outbound in the Strait of Juan de Fuca one afternoon in 1949 with a heavy load of 5,000,000 feet of British Columbian lumber. When an uncontrollable fire broke out below decks the captain decided to run her aground on the nearest shore. Unfortunately, her deep draft and local topography conspired against her, and her stem struck a very solid rock reef one half mile from the beach. She stuck fast and settled in fifty feet of water.
Much of her above-water superstructure was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers. What remained was a hazard to navigation, and was blasted to provide clearance down to about thirty feet. The shallow wreck became a favorite destination for fishermen launching their boats from the Clear Creek resort. That is where Ron Taggart and I began a pleasant cruise in a rented kicker boat on a sunny day in the early seventies. Conditions were ideal.
A big kelp bed clearly announced the location of the wreck about twenty-five feet below. We anchored right in the middle. To a Bainbridge diver, the clear water of the outer strait is a heavenly treat. Hundreds of marine species enjoy the natural health drink delivered by the north Pacific: beautiful blue, clear, cold water full of nutrients and spiced with extra oxygen added by nearby breakers. In the outer straits every species seems to be a prize winner: the biggest anemones, starfish, octopus, mussels and sea-cucumbers the fastest fish the most colorful coral and sponge the ugliest (and most friendly) wolf eels.
The forest of bull kelp fractured the strong sunlight into many shifting rays, highlighting the remains of the superstructure. It could have been an ugly jumble of broken steel plates. Instead, it was an Dali-esque pallet of many colors. It was a zoological garden cared for by schools of ever-moving fish weaving in and out of the forest of kelp risers, constantly inspecting every nook and cranny.
Ron and I explored, moving slowly, reluctant to leave any part of the garden. Scanning the environment continually in all directions as a good diver must, we detected a serious hazard on the main deck. It was crowded with lashed-down stacks of lumber about 12 feet high. Some of the water-logged planks were scattered about, but presented no real obstacle. That is, until we noticed that some stacks were swaying with the current! The tie-downs had finally yielded, and would soon free the boards to go in any direction.
In the forward section of the ship I found a hole leading to a short companionway. I went in about ten feet moving very carefully so as to not stir up the silt that covered everything in the quiet water inside. Going through a bulkhead I was amazed to find a small machine shop dimly illuminated by sunlight shining through a hole in the far wall. My jaw would have dropped if it hadn’t been clamped onto my mouthpiece. Here was an almost normal room. A peaceful scene amongst the chaotic jumble outside. There was a drill press and a six foot lathe against a wall. Both were still connected by belt drives to the pulleys of an overhead drive shaft. I touched the belt cautiously, and it did not crumble as I half expected. The leather must have been well tanned. The lathe was set up with a metal cutting bit in the tool post, and had a three-jawed chuck, but no work in progress. A single, unshaded light bulb on a cord hung down in front of the lathe. I looked closely, and sure enough, there was water inside the clear bulb! I would have loved to have that lathe in by hobby shop. It was not to be. But I found a more portable prize when I looked at the wall across from the lathe.
The wall supported a rack of rusted tools and raw stock. There were plain cylindrical billets of various kinds of metal to be used when remaking broken ship parts on the lathe. I was attracted to one billet with a familiar green patina. Picking it up, I saw immediately that it was brass or bronze. The underside shined like gold where it had been protected from corrosion by the ever-present anaerobic mud. I had to stir up a lot of mud getting the foot long, four inch diameter billet out because it weighed about 25 pounds.
Ron and I were used to diving alone, so I was not surprised when I didn’t see him as I emerged from the companionway. Since I was getting low on air, I decided to surface with my prize, and inflated my ‘Mae West’ life vest for added flotation. (We hadn’t graduated to the modern buoyancy compensator vest at the time.) The added flotation wasn’t quite enough to give positive buoyancy, but I had no trouble swimming to the surface with the heavy weight. There in the sunshine the green and gold billet looked prettier than ever.
Getting to the boat was quite a challenge. Normally, a 100 yard swim would be no problem. But swimming on my back with the prize on my stomach put the Mae West on top, making it useless, so my head would go under water. It was best to schnorkel clutching the billet to my stomach. But this way, only the tip of my schnorkel was above the surface, and only intermittently, too. I swallowed a lot of water rather than breathe it in. Of course, if I had really been in trouble I could have dropped either the billet or my weight belt, or both. But I didn’t want to loose either one. It turned into a mental exercise. How close can you come to drowning and not actually drown? Every few minutes I had to really exert myself in order to porpoise up and see if I was still on course. Time turned into molasses. An inner conflict raged between the naïve part of my mind that said “You can do it.” and the cynical part that said “You are not making any progress.” Ages passed before I finally reached the boat.
Getting the heavy slug into the boat seemed impossible. To get my head out of the water I had to tread water like crazy, and when I raised the billet up my head went under. I finally got one hand on a gunwale while holding the unwieldy billet to my chest with the other. In this position I could rest for a while and maybe wait for Ron. But Ron’s air always lasted twenty minutes longer than mine, so rather than wait, I tried and finally was able to muscle the prize up and over the gunwale with a great sigh of relief.
The billet was a perfect artifact of the dive. The deep green corrosion was hard as enamel, and covered one half of the billet. There was a narrow, dark red stripe between the green and the underside gold. And the gold had a shiny crystalline finish due to the selective leaching of the tin in the bronze in an anaerobic environment. Ron was very impressed.
4 A Tribute to The Battleship USS WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48)
A battleship in Eagle Harbor seems highly unlikely today. Yet for a few months in the late 1960s the WEST VIRGINIA was tied up at the Washington state ferry maintenance yard in Winslow, Bainbridge Island. The famous vessel certainly made a big impression on the natives of our island. She had been prominent in much of the action in the Pacific during the later phases of WW II. Even blinded and de-fanged as she was by the mothballing process, she still dominated everything in the harbor
On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the WEST VIRGINIA was moored in Pearl Harbor with 40 feet of water beneath her keel. Her crew was engaged in routine peacetime duties, not expecting to be one of the prime targets of a surprise attack. Japanese planes, flying from a six-carrier task force, commenced their well-planned attack just before 0800 hours local time. The WEST VIRGINIA took seven 18-inch aircraft torpedoes in her port side and two hits by armor-piercing bombs. Severely damaged and aflame, the WEST VIRGINIA settled to the harbor bottom on an even keel. Surprisingly, she was re-floated and departed Pearl Harbor for a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton. Subsequently she engaged in extensive actions at sea and at Leyte, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The WEST VIRGINIA was decommissioned on January 7, 1947 and placed in reserve, as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet.. In 1959, she was sold for scrap and later was moved out of the busy Bremerton port. And for a while, the was tied up Eagle Harbor. Too bad that we could not have kept her here as a museum, but we were not a city then.
The WEST VIRGINIA was guarded intermittently, but not enough to keep local pirates from sneaking aboard under cover of darkness and hoisting a skull and crossbones up her topmast. It was probably their way of acknowledging her superiority. I also wanted to experience this magnificent giant somehow. So one day I donned SCUBA gear and swam over to the bow quietly and actually touched her. Sinking down slowly I left behind the possibility of detection and interference. Nobody would see me again for an hour.
I drifted down to her bottom, 30 feet bellow, just five feet from the mud. The straight, vertical stem was rounded, not sharp, but looked strong enough to cut through many enemy ships. A few barnacles decorated the bulb on the bottom of the stem. The two-foot diameter bulb was unlike the huge protuberances of most modern ships. Turning over, I started down the keel slowly, swimming on my back, looking up at the keel, scanning with my flashlight. My primal instincts sent a shiver down the length of my own keel as a reminder of the many tons of metal hanging above me. As the ship bulged out to its full 94 foot beam all light from the surface disappeared. A good underwater flashlight was essential for keeping on course. Time had no meaning in the black, silent world.. No protuberances, no vents, no heat exchangers were visible at any point in the entire 624 foot length of the keel. It seemed an eternity, and I wondered if my air would hold out. But a diver on his own in the dark learns to follow the plan, to stay on course…..or suffer the consequences.
At last the steel sky overhead started to change character as the flat bottom began to re-shape itself into a proper stern. A huge rudder was flanked by two drive struts on each side. I was disappointed to find bare propeller shafts protruding from the struts. The propellers had been removed to facilitate towing.
All in all, it was a dive like no other, and an awesome experience
5 Agate Beach
The Flounder Pounders, the original Bainbridge Island diving club, often dove at Agate Beach on the straits of Juan De Fuca. Agate Beach is a dozen miles past Port Angeles, just beyond Crescent Beach and an abandoned coastal defense fort that is now Salt Creek State Park. Agate Beach and two miles of shoreline was owned by a kindly old fellow that wanted to keep it open to the public forever. We camped at Agate Beach many times.
A hundred species of marine fish and invertebrates inhabit the rocky point just east of Agate beach. A shelf with crevices is dry at low tide, presenting teeming tide pools. An underwater drop off of fifteen feet leads down to a rock-strewn slope and kelp forest. It used to have many many long-spined purple sea urchins. Commercial harvesters were thrilled to find this bonanza of delicacies so favored in the orient.
One fascinating feature is a water-level cave in the cliff at Agate Beach. It is at the end of a crevice in the shelf. When a wave runs up the crevice into the cave, the cave spouts back quite vigorously at all tides above medium, even with moderate waves. The spout lasts an appreciable time, and goes out twenty feet or so. At the edge of the shelf drop-off, the crevice is about eight feet wide and it narrows to about three feet when it goes into the cliff. At the cliff the water is 6 or 8 feet deep. You can stand just outside and see a wave go into the cave, and four or five seconds later, hear a distant BOOM as it hits the end.
The elderly owner liked to watch us dive. He said that the only person who had ever swum into the cave was an Indian, and he had come out crazy…..So, of course, we couldn’t wait to schnorkel in.. After a short way the cave opens up to a room about 20 feet in diameter with a domed ceiling six feet above the water, and a nice pebble beach at the end. Fun to sit there in the dim light coming up through the water and see the waves coming in, maybe almost scraping the ceiling of the entrance. At high tides it can make your ears pop!
On one memorable weekend, several families were enjoying a beautiful day at Agate Beach exploring, looking for agates and diving. In our wetsuits. Brian Waterman and I tried enthusiastically to describe to the landlubbers the rich life lining the sides of the channel leading to the cave in the cliff. On shore Jim Billingsley, who had recently moved to Seattle from central Texas, was utterly fascinated. He really wanted to see for himself. We explained that the water was too cold for swimming without a rubber suit. But Jim was a real sport, and felt that a suit of woolen long johns would be enough protection. With a borrowed mask Jim jumped four feet down into the channel to the cheers of the other picnickers. In seconds Jim came up with eyes bulging and mouth wide open making funny Ugh Ugh Ugh noises. He was pawing the water ineffectively, making a big splash. Hurriedly, we pulled him to the side, fearing a possible heart attack. Friends ashore quickly pulled him out onto dry land. Our concern abated somewhat when he started to breathe again, very fast at first. After a few minutes Jim was able to breathe regularly and appeared to be recovered. He explained, “Criminee that’s cold! I just couldn’t breathe.”
A little east of the cave crevice there is another smaller, underwater crevice in the shelf, wide on the bottom, but very narrow on top. There is only one place where the top opening is wide enough to schnorkel through, and it is hidden by the plentiful sea grass. I used to have fun with the kids at high tide challenging them to follow me. I’d dive down eight feet or so and disappear vertically into the grass. Then I would swim out 25 feet to the face of the drop-off and come up, well away from the entrance. It’s best to try it first the other direction, of course, but some of the young Flounder Pounders had skill enough and the nerve to follow me. You have to know exactly where to go.
As always in the Northwest, tides are important. At Agate Beach incoming tidal currents try to sweep you around the point between Agate and Crescent beaches. There is a narrow, funnel-shaped channel between some rocks of the point. If you schnorkel in the vicinity of the broad western end in mild currents, you will be sucked in, and will pick up speed as you go east until finally you are spit out through the narrow exit. The currents are strong around the point, too, so there is no hope of swimming back. It is a long walk back to Agate Beach on shore carrying all your SCUBA gear and a weight belt.
The water at both Agate Beach and Salt Creek Park seems unusually clear and healthy. The abundance of many kinds of large marine animals is awesome. And the bright, almost iridescent colors of plants and invertebrates is a memory to treasure on gloomier days.
6 The Wreck of the Russian Freighter LAMUT
James Gibbs, a noted author, editor and marine historian was of great assistance in pinpointing sunken shipwrecks. His extensive research stripped away many misleading myths and provided me with good landmarks and bearings. Jim was a world-class expert in the history of ships that had met with disaster in the Northwest and the precise circumstances of their tragic demise. Strangely, he was uninterested in the current condition of the corpses. But he helped me locate several ships lost in the infamous “Pacific Graveyard”, ( the title of one of his books.) He pointed out that the wreck of the LAMUT was not where a popular wreck book said it was, and gave me the real location.
In 1946 the Vladivostok-bound Russian freighter LAMUT had a serious fire in stormy weather some distance off the coast near La Push, Washington. In desperation, the captain turned toward shore, hoping to find the mouth of the Quillayute river. Unfortunately, the land that finally emerged from the mist and rain was Teahwhit head, a jumble of rock cliffs and islands. To the captain, an opening between two walls of rock appeared to be a channel to safety, but it was not so. Once in the false channel, the LAMUT ran head-on into another rock wall and suffered severe damage to its hull. Water flooded into the hold causing the ship to heel over on its port beam. The Russians were able to scramble ashore to a rock ledge on the cliff face except for one female crew member who died when she was tossed into the sea as the crew attempted to launch a lifeboat. Responding to an S.O.S., Coast Guard rescuers hacked a trail two miles to the cliff top and lowered a line made of shoelaces. The Russians attached a heavier line which was used to bring the surviving crew to safety. The LAMUT was a total loss.
Photo by Lyon McCandless
The tip of the arrow in the photograph above shows the rocky entrance through which the desperate captain hoped to get to a soft beach. Unfortunately he ran straight into the head wall of the solid rock box which soon became the LAMUT’s coffin.
On a beautiful day in the nineteen seventies, Ron Taggart and I rented a kicker boat at LaPush and headed south for Teahwhit head. We knew exactly where to go because we had seen aerial Coast Guard photos of the sinking ship trapped in its dead-end channel, and I had scouted the site by air. We were now happily living every wreck diver’s favorite dream: a virgin wreck that no other divers had ever visited!
As we entered the unlucky channel we were enveloped by a sense of foreboding. We soon realized that the beautiful ocean water had lost its spirit. It had turned brown. Not the muddy brown of a river delta, but a dismal coffee brown. When we dropped the grapnel anchor it was obvious. Just two feet down the anchor disappeared from view. The only good news was that the anchor landed on a solid bottom fifteen feet down. I jumped in to ‘set the hook’ with an easy dive to fifteen feet. Lifting the mouthpiece of my ‘Mae west’ style buoyancy compensator, I released air to get rid of my positive buoyancy. I watched the boat disappear as I descended into darkness expecting to feel the ship at any moment. But there was no bottom and no light from the surface. Bringing my luminous depth gage up close to check, I received a jolt. I was fifty feet down and dropping fast! I quickly added some air to the buoyancy compensator to halt my descent. Obviously, I was in some kind of hole in the wreck, and in serious danger of drifting sideways under some totally unknown part of the wreck. So, moving as little as possible, I added buoyancy and followed my bubbles to the surface.
It was a miserable dive. After my mistake we followed the anchor line down with lights. At the bottom, even with lights the visibility was only four feet. We gradually explored and memorized the wreck in an area no more than 40 feet from the anchor. The superstructure where we first landed had a brass railing, now in many pieces. It was brittle as a dried stick due to the corrosion of the zinc by salt water. Ron found a corroded steel portlight still mounted in a small section of crumbly plywood wall. From Coast Guard aerial photographs we later determined that it had been part of a small radio shack mounted aft of the pilot house. It was a jury-rigged addition to the ship, made in wartime with cheap materials.
Ron made a wonderful discovery lying on the bottom near the stern. It was a taffrail log designed to be mounted on the after railing when needed by the navigator. A beautiful little bronze device, it had held a mechanism to count the number of revolutions of the log line clipped to a coupling on its back. The log line trailed the ship some distance and had a spinner on the end. The navigator could determine the ship’s speed by counting the revolutions over a given time. The counter mechanism was now a puddle of gray flakes, but the bronze housing was uncorroded except for a rich sea-green patina.
A deck cargo of copper rods caught my attention because of their color. Since copper was then at an all-time high price, I brought up as many of the eight foot rods as I could until my air ran out. It was several hundred dollars worth, and I left another 100 pounds on the top deck of the freighter. Both Ron and I welcomed the sunshine and were glad when our air tanks ran low and brought an end to the ordeal.
It had been a dive into a nightmare. There are undoubtedly many more interesting things to discover on that wreck, but not by us. We guessed that the horrible coffee-colored murk was caused by the constant pulverizing of spruce and cedar logs in the dead-end channel. The beach in that area is littered with hundreds of tree trunks and other wooden debris. In that false channel the logs constantly grind against the rough cliffs, keeping company with the ghosts of the Russian freighter and her lost woman crewperson.
7 Flying Underwater
A “sea-sled ” is a low-tech device used to carry a SCUBA diver underwater over a moderate distance much faster than he can propel himself. When searching a large area, the sea-sled is towed on the end of a line attached to a sturdy surface boat. The length of the line must be at least three times the maximum depth to be reached. The towing boat sets the search pattern. The diver controls the cruising depth and has only very limited lateral control. One more very important control the diver has is a quick release for the towline. This is operated in case of trouble, or when an object of interest is spotted and the diver decides to stop.
Notice: Sea-sleds are very dangerous and can get a diver into trouble fast. They are NOT recommended.
My sea-sled was a thing of beauty: an underwater airplane with stubby diving vanes and a shapely vertical stabilizer. It was small, only about seven feet long. The thing that contributed most significantly to the attractiveness of the sled was a beautiful ojive-shaped clear plastic canopy that sheltered the diver’s head and shoulders as he lay outstretched face down on the sled. It was salvaged from an airborne searchlight housing. In each hand the diver held a control stick linked directly to the short diving planes that looked much like small wings. A push forward and the sea-sled would head rapidly for the depths. Left hand forward and the right back would initiate a roll to the left. The diving vanes were dynamically balanced, so the sled would respond nicely to a moderate pressure on the controls.
You could fly upside down or do slow rolls quite nicely. The diver was not fastened in. Behind the shelter of the canopy, just holding the control sticks gave him a pretty good purchase on the vehicle, and for added security his legs straddled the vertical fin and tucked easily under a thick rod protruding from both sides of the tail fin.
When the quick release was pulled, a weight on a line was dropped, and the positively buoyant sea-sled would rise to the surface with a red aluminum pennant displaying on the tail-mounted staff. The diver could then easily leave the vehicle in order to inspect his find, and secure a line to it if needed. The sea-sled attracted a lot of attention sitting in its cradle on top of my station wagon. It was good for business.
Searching for the wreck of the DIAMOND KNOT in the straight of Juan De Fuca near Port Angeles led to an incident that I remember so well. I was cruising along nicely about 70 feet down with about 50-foot visibility. The bottom ten feet below was fairly regular with occasional boulders of non-threatening size. All went well until suddenly I saw something off to the left just at the limit of visibility. In my excitement I leaned back and raised my head for a better look, forgetting where I was. I was underwater! The force of the water rushing past the canopy was like a fire hose. It tore off my mask, tore out my two-hose mouthpiece, and sent a big slug of salt water down my throat. Ducking my head back inside the sled, I started to pull the control sticks back, but realized that was a bad idea, since the sea sled could ascend much faster than my body could adjust. So I concentrated on recovering my mouthpiece while staying in blurry visual contact with the bottom. Getting the mouthpiece in place was easy, but I had to swallow an awful lot of water to clear the mouthpiece and my throat before I could breathe. Having faith that air would be coming soon helped me to endure the extreme discomfort of choking. And when I finally had air I could enjoy to the fullest a lovely fit of coughing. After that, finding the mask behind my head, getting it back in place, and clearing it was easy.
The rest of the dive was uneventful, but we did not find the DIAMOND KNOT on that trip. The DIAMOND KNOT is indeed a fabulous wreck, but that is another story…..
Frank Foley and the author with a second-generation sea sled which he designed and built. It was constructed on Mercer Island, driven to California, Florida and Massachusetts where it was sold. Note cockpits for two divers sitting upright.
8 Going Over Bear Creek FallsIn the Northwest, a good rubber suit not only makes swimming more pleasant, it allows entrance to a multi-dimensioned realm of possibilities. New worlds of adventure and exploration that are otherwise invisible and inaccessible to naked mammals without thick fur. The Bainbridge Island Flounder Pounders was a diverse group that shared an enthusiasm for water activities including sunken wreck exploration, cave diving, river running, spear fishing, shell fishing, recovery of sunken objects, antique bottle collecting, sight seeing, running currents on the bottom, octopus wrestling, jumping from giant rope swings, and body surfing. The variety of activities helped each student diver develop a great water sense and self confidence.
The Flounder Pounders ran a number of rivers without the benefit of kayaks in winter and in summer. We used small and large inner tubes, or even no float at all except the buoyancy inherent in a good foam rubber suit. Northwest rivers are friendlier than some, with water-worn rocks and fewer sharp points. We drifted with the flow on the Dosewallops, Sultan, Green, and Skykomish rivers, and at Bear Creek, near Index. We used topographic maps and scouted the terrain ahead of time, sometimes by air from my little Aeronca Champion. There were no serious accidents except for the time a wave bounced me just as I was passing under a tree across the Dosewallops river, and I broke my nose. That was pretty serious for a few minutes, but only for me.
We loved diving into the deep river pools to observe cutthroat trout and salmon taking a break from their serious business. Amongst our treasured memories Bear Creek Falls is a jewel, a sea of glittering diamonds and pearls. The water of Bear Creek flows through a small smooth canyon in granite bed-rock, leaps over a lip, and plunges five feet into a crystal clear pool. twenty feet deep and fifty feet in diameter. Underwater, a fantastic inverted thunderstorm of bright silver bubbles is accompanied by a steady muted thunder.
Small trout dart about in mid-water, and larger salmonids hug the bottom, swimming against the current, all pointed at the falls as if they were dedicated spectators. Many of them have obviously damaged noses. We see them try the jump and sometimes succeed, but very rarely.
After thoroughly scouting for obstructions, we water lovers had to see what it would be like to be a bubble in the joyous celebration. We posted rescue divers in the pool to make sure that no one got caught in a strange vortex, and then, one by one we all went over the falls. Launching into the smoothly flowing water in the six foot wide upper canyon, it is strange to see the falls going over the lip from the inside. No turning back, now.
A real visual alert! And then ooops
wn ………… , joining the bubbles in the softest feather bed imaginable. And the mother of all a pillow fights, pushing your body this way and that and turning around, and which way is up, please? Amazing how strong the currents are. But they eventually deliver everything downstream to shallow waters.
Nobody ever had to be rescued. Flounder Pounders went over the falls again and again all afternoon. Others jumped from the canyon walls. We played tricks on each other, hiding behind the waterfall curtain. Some took movies above and below water. We went over with SCUBA gear and without, wearing a rubber suit or just bathing suit. (Only in late August is the glacial melt-water warm enough for that.) A lovely spot for a picnic, and a great place for total immersion in an awesome environment.
Because it is a natural trap, the stream within 200 yards of Bear Creek falls is posted and closed to fishermen, but somehow we always found a few shiny lures caught on the bottom rocks.
9 Beach ObservationsIn the Northwest we don’t have just sandy beaches. We have rocky promontories encrusted with exotic life forms. We have sand flats where hidden squirters express their enthusiasm with two foot fountains sloughs where each cup of mud contains a hundred living things winding estuaries spawning myriads of newborn creatures that crawl, burrow, swim, or fly on to their greater destinies. Inquisitive persons often celebrates the low tides of summer with family expeditions to local beaches where experienced marine biologists often help budding scientists understand the life around them. Nothing is needed except curiosity and a spare pair of dry socks.
Rocky beaches to the west of Port Angeles abound with crystal clear tide pools and beautiful, other-worldly marine life. The goal of a good observer is to learn without harming any living thing. So we look, take notes and pictures, and sometimes look under rocks in the inter-tidal zone, being careful to replace them as they were originally. It is always interesting to see how an animal protects itself from predators or from the air and sun at low tide. Mussels and barnacles shut their doors tight and survive in the hot sun for hours. Small fish flee from a shadow to safety under a rock. Feather duster worms retract in a flash into their tube homes when they detect a disturbance in the water. Caught out of water by the receding tide, sea stars stop moving and hunker down in their tough skins close to the rocks to conserve their water. They casually flaunt their bright colors because land animals don’t like their taste. Their primary enemy is another starfish, the sunstar. You may see the many-legged sunstars lurking just outside the low tide level. These omnivorous ogres are too bulky and soft to survive for long out of water, so they rarely venture into the shallows.
A biologist will tell you that starfish belong to the echinoderm family, and that there are other members, too. Echinoderm means spiny skin. A good observer will note that most sea stars have five arms with many tiny legs on the underside. Each leg has a tiny sucker on the end that holds things and tastes them at the same time. These are called tube-feet. Submerged sea stars seem to glide over the bottom, with hundreds of tube-feet somehow working together to get the star to its destination. The suckers enable the star to hold its place even when the waves are very forceful. Only a few stars get caught in high waves without a firm grip on an anchoring rock. Their dried bodies are sometimes found entangled with driftwood and other flotsam above the high tide mark.
Where are the other echinoderms? Look for tube-feet in unlikely places. Such as under a red or green sea urchin or under a dark red sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers are easier to pick up than sea urchins, and their tube-feet are obvious. There are big red sea cucumbers and small white ones out in the open, and red ones that live under rocks with only their feathery feeding plumes showing. Quite different in appearance and behavior, but all belong to the sea cucumber family. If you also discover that both the sea urchin and the sea cucumber have five segments, like the sea star, then you may be confident that you have discovered more members of this interesting family of invertebrates. Echinoderms are important to the health of Puget Sound because they spend their lives cleaning up organic debris. Sand dollars are also in this family, but are less likely to be found on rocky beaches.
Where waves and currents are strong, rocks provide an essential anchor. Various species invent unique ways to hold their places. Barnacles and rock scallops use a permanent water-proof cement to stake their claim. Mussels use an amazingly strong glue and many small, tough organic threads that can be replaced if broken. Slow moving limpets, snails, chitons and abalone (yes we have abalone here) rely on a strong foot for suction to hold them in place.
Other shellfish abound. Cockles, scallops and various clams are found in sandy areas between the rocks. Surprisingly, fossils of some of these shellfish may be found in the nearby sandstone cliffs. There is nothing like the thrill of cracking a rock with a hammer and chisel and finding a perfect scallop shell inside! Grey, rounded fossil nodules are common. Many nodules are formed around a piece of organic material: a leaf, a crab claw, a crinoid stem, or a shell. As the soft organic material decomposes in the mud it gives off chemicals that harden the mud around it, eventually forming the rock nodule.
Fossil Crab in Natural Rock Nodule – Photo by Lyon McCandless
Many beach rocks have interesting stories to tell. Look for a fist-sized dark gray or black rock with white spots. You may be able to see wood grain or tree rings on the end, indicating that it is probably a piece of petrified wood. The white spots are actually the burrows of Toredo worms, now filled with a white mineral. You can be sure that this rock has had some interesting adventures.
It was once part of a living tree growing on dry land, breathing air and drinking fresh water. The fact that the rock exhibits wood-like grain and tree rings indicates that it was once a part of a deciduous tree. (Probably of the Cenozoic Era rather than the older Paleozoic or Mesozoic Eras which were dominated by giant ferns.) Except for sub-tropical salt water mangroves, most deciduous trees depend on fresh water in the atmosphere and ground. The fossil’s closely spaced tree rings indicate relatively slow growth in a climate with seasonal changes and an atmospheric makeup similar to the current one. A warmer atmosphere with higher CO2 content would result in wider growth rings.
The tree probably grew quite close to the ocean because eventually a fairly large piece of it was submerged in salt water. It may have been transported by a land slide. It must have stayed in salt water less than 100 feet deep for at least six months to become so infested with boring Toredo worms. Toredos, sometimes called the bane of wooden ships, look like a worm, but are a type of mollusk that burrows into wood instead of sand. What would be a shell in other mollusks has moved to the end of the Toredo and changed into jaws that gnaw into the wood.
The tree eventually sank to the sea bottom where it joined clamshells and crabs that were slowly being covered with mud and sand. And as the years went by it was buried so deep that the surrounding sand and clay became cemented together in a form of sandstone. Hot, mineralized water replaced all the wood fibers with stone, and filled the worm holes with calcite crystals.
10 Searching for Treasure
Lost treasure stories all seem to have some common elements: a tragic loss, conflicting legends, accidental rediscovery, and frustrated attempts to recover. My story is no exception. It started in 1959 when a scruffy character straight out of Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson knocked on the front door of my Mercer Island home. A bearded, elderly man in old surplus army clothes asked for me by name. Disturbed by his appearance, my wife told him to come back later and hurriedly closed the door.
The next Saturday I was home when he knocked again. It turned out that he had walked from downtown Seattle, again! Gradually he unfolded an interesting tale. He had seen a picture of my sea-sled in the Seattle newspaper and noted my name. He figured that the sea-sled was just the thing to find a lost treasure ship out in Neah bay.
His best friend, a diver named Bill Benjamin, had found it about 25 years ago. Benjamin had been contacted by some native Americans who claimed they could see a ship’s cannon on the bottom in water about 60 feet deep, the very limit of visibility. So eventually Benjamin put on his full hard-hat diver outfit, dropped into the water, and found a cannon. His curiosity aroused, Benjamin trudged into deeper water to find the source of the cannon. He was in luck. At a depth of about eighty feet, invisible to the natives, he found a ship’s hull, apparently burned to the waterline. Not much remained, but inside he could see many sealed oak casks. That got Benjamin to thinking, and he did not mention his find to the Indians when he came up.
So Benjamin and his son did some research and eventually concluded that the hulk was that of the UNA, the victim of a massacre and firing by hostile Indians in the 18th century. A beautiful coat of arms hinting at European origin was molded into the canon near the touch hole. The Benjamins did considerable research on the emblem, but could find no match. There were various myths about Indians and wrecks, but the Benjamins favored the one that said the UNA carried gold ore concentrates in oak barrels, and was lost near Neah bay. Benjamin planned to make a private return visit, but as in all treasure stories, he died before he could do it.
I was entranced by the old fellow’s story, and explained that I really couldn’t get away for a weekend, but I’d be glad to drive him back to Seattle. And then I made an expensive mistake. I said “What happened to the cannon?” He replied, “His son still has it. He was offered $5,000 for it, but wouldn’t take it.” Woops!
Instead of driving him to his flop house in Seattle, we high-tailed it right then to West Seattle where we met with Bill Benjamin Jr. Bill Jr. took us to his garage where he pulled back a very dusty canvas to reveal the beautiful ancient bronze cannon about six feet long. Probably a ‘salute’ cannon. What a heart thumper! So we sat down and had a long chat. Bill Jr. had a marine chart on which his father had located the wreck with good bearings from a nearby point and from Wada Island. He had tried to follow his father’s bootsteps, but had developed an incapacitating lung problem. Being of like mind, the three of us agreed to be partners in a venture to re-locate the UNA. We quickly drafted and signed an agreement for a three-way split of the treasure.
James Gibbs, the Marine historian, later identified the coat of arms as belonging to Massachusetts, and the ship as the Ellen Foster, lost in 1867.
Our team attracted a lot of attention when we drove into the town of Neah Bay with the yellow sea-sled on top of my cream colored station wagon. It worked for us. I had no trouble lining up an idle fishing boat captain to take us out at a reasonable rate.
The search went like clockwork, but was uneventful. I used up two full air tanks searching a grid centered over the secret spot, and saw nothing more interesting than a big octopus sprawled on the sandy bottom. The visibility was excellent, about 70 feet. The boat captain started gradually, giving me time to push both control handles forward and ‘fly’ to the bottom. We proceeded at about eight knots in a westerly direction. At the end of the course the captain stopped and I used the positive buoyancy of the sled to float up to report. Then we moved over 100 feet and repeated the process in the other direction. The location was right, but the depth was wrong: only forty or fifty feet, when it should have been eighty. All through the grid the water was too shallow. Dreams of wealth for the three partners were lost along with the wreck. Myself, I would have been deliriously happy just to find another cannon.
For twenty years I searched there again whenever I could. I finally came to the conclusion that things had changed in the 25 years since Benjamin Sr. had discovered the wreck. A long breakwater had been built connecting the Olympic Peninsula headland with Wada island, thus turning Neah Bay into a well-protected harbor. The breakwater stopped the currents that had previously scoured the channel free of sand. Now it is a settling basin. I’m sure that the treasure wreck is still there, entomb
11 The End of the OLNEY
Background - In the mid sixties I spotted a half-sunken Landing Craft, Vehicle/ Personnel (LCVP) in the Duwamish tidal flats across from the Boeing building where I worked. After it remained immobile for six months I went over and talked to the adjacent property owner. He said that it had been abandoned for more than a year, and he wanted to get rid of it. Bruce Gifford and I saw it as an ideal salvage boat when fitted out with an A-frame hoist, and spent several days cleaning mud out, patching holes, and tying on floats. We used the tides to get it free of the mud and towed it with a small outboard motorboat down the Duwamish and hours later, into Eagle Harbor. We moored it near the south shore.
The motorless 36 foot long LCVP was essentially a barge with high sides, giving it quite a sail area. To our dismay it broke loose twice in several months. Once we caught it drifting in the harbor, and another time it dragged anchor and stopped near what is now the Winslow waterfront park Feeling very lucky that it had not smashed into any other boats, we decided that our wild monster would serve better as a fish hotel, an artificial reef. So we sank it in front of my Ferncliff residence at a high tide depth of about thirty feet, ideal for training schnorkel divers. Bruce and I put on our SCUBA gear and opened the sea cock to the cheers of nearby kids in rowboats. Taking the plunge was a unique experience with a fantastic froth of shining bubbles surrounding us and continuing for many minutes. It was totally satisfactory.
For several years the LCVP sheltered many fish of various kinds, to the delight of our schnorkel divers. Unfortunately our pet ecosystem naturally included Toredo worms which completely destroyed the wood in a little over three years. We found that car bodies lasted for only two years, so we longed for something more permanent.
The OLNEY - The opportunity came when Russell Trask took on the job of remodeling the 173 foot long submarine chaser (PC-1172) renamed OLNEY after decommissioning in 1955. I had been doing diving work for Russ in 1970 when I noticed that he was cutting about 15 feet off the stern of the OLNEY. The center part of the ship eventually became the 120 foot M/V Gleaner and went to service in Alaska. The cut-off end was three-sixteenth steel and included a watertight bulkhead, the rudder steering quadrant and a sea cock. The scrap value was low, so Russ gave our diving club, the Bainbridge Flounder Pounders, a good deal: We traded work hours for the whole stern section, separating many bronze fixtures from steel scrap using hand tools.
USS OLNEY PC-1172 Commissioned October 1943
We closed small holes in the stern section with whittled plugs and a plywood hatch in the bulkhead. We also scrubbed out all traces of lubricants and removed anything that wasn’t iron. When Russ Trask hoisted the end compartment up with his giant crane and placed it on the water and it actually floated, it was a tremendously satisfying event. Then came a slow four mile tow behind a borrowed trawler around Wing Point to Ferncliff where kids and families on shore and in small boats awaited the christening of the new fish hotel. After positioning the ‘end’, Bruce and I cleared the top hatch away, entered the stern section and opened the sea cock. We planned to ride it down in our wet suits as usual. But as it slowly went down it became unstable. Bruce and I scrambled when it rolled upside down and thrashed around like a dying whale. The similarity was enhanced when the sea-cock was above water, spouting air and spray a good six feet high, making a great whooshing sound. And then came the foam and great bubbles as it finally went down, boiling for ten minutes.
As the great finale came to a close there was much yelling and cheering, and we suddenly realized that some nearby children were yelling “It’s sinking! Its sinking!” And we said, “Yes, we know, it’s supposed to sink.” And the urgent reply came from five children crowded into a small row boat, “No no. We mean our boat. It’s sinking.” So we dashed over and verified that the swamped rowboat was indeed headed to join the in a very short time. Only one tin can for bailing. Bruce and I grabbed on and used our oversize swim fins to push toward shore for dear life as hard as we could. People on shore were still yelling or cheering. What a sight as all the kids either rowed, splashed water out, or paddled with their hands, and Bruce and I made as much wake as we could. It was a long fifty long yards until the water was shallow enough for us to touch bottom and hold the gunwales above water. Exhausted, but safe and happy.
We went underwater again to remove the temporary plywood door from the bulkhead opening. With the top hatch open too there were two ways to get in and out. It was a really cool clubhouse. All the Flounder Pounders agreed not to spear any fish there, so it soon housed many big rockfish, perch and even an octopus underneath. The sea anemones found it quickly. It was really fun to schnorkel into the dark chamber and see tame big fish silhouetted against the bright hatchways.
Twenty years later the end of the OLNEY was still there on the bottom, a little worse for wear, but still a great clubhouse and fish hotel.
ed under thirty feet of sand.
In later years I did things the easy way. When searching visually for an underwater object, I descend from a drifting boat on a line carrying a light grapnel-type anchor, and let the ever-present currents take me for a comfortable ride. I never found treasure, but many searches led to other interesting adventures.
12 The Demise of the CHETZEMOKA
Long ago, someone told me that the waterfront was full of busted dreams. Succeeding years have reminded me of this phrase all too often, but never more so than when, in the spring of 1977 I read this article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
“The venerable Puget Sound ferry CHETZEMOKA sank at 8:53 yesterday morning as she was towed down the coast to a planned new career in San Francisco. The 240-foot wooden, diesel-electric boat went down nine miles northwest of La Push, on the Washington coast, after an all-night struggle with the seas by crewmen of the tug Express. “
I felt involved because I had put several temporary patches on her hull a while ago. I had told the owner that she must be repaired before undertaking his planned tow to San Francisco for conversion into a waterfront restaurant.
It began when I got a call asking if I could patch a hole right now. The ferry CHETZEMOKA had been docked at Eagle harbor for many months, kept afloat by a bilge pump. It had recently started taking on water faster than the bilge pump and two other pumps could handle. I affirmed my availability, since I made a practice of always having at least two SCUBA diving tanks on hand fulled to capacity.
The owner met me at the ship and conducted me down into the engine room The hull was double planked with an inner planking on the inside of the ribs. They knew approximately where the leak originated, because they could hear the water trickling down between the two hulls. They were frustrated because there was no direct access and the hole was obviously in the outer planking.
In the water, it was quite clear what had happened. The CHETZEMOKA’s anti-fouling paint had been severely abraded on each side of both bows where the hull flares out. Probably by minor floating objects such as pieces of wood. The Toredo damage was severe, and I could feel the current of salt water rushing into a slot that I could put four fingers into. I touched the hull and a finger sized piece broke off, sending a chill down my spine. This area was fragile, and could collapse at any moment! I had visions of being either sucked into the space between the ribs, or being held against the hull by water pressure for a long time. So I treated the venerable lady with more respect thereafter.
The owner was not surprised when I made a full report to him. He had the necessary supplies, and I agreed to patch up the two worst leaks, one on either end. I first cut a piece of one-eighth inch sheet rubber to fit over a broad area and tacked it in place. Next I used lots of longer nails to secure a 2’ x 4’piece of quarter-inch plywood over the rubber. This was a standard emergency fix that I’d used before, and it worked well to stop the leaks.
The old CHETZEMOKA continued to sit in Eagle Harbor for months. Too many months, in my opinion. Relief came when she was moved to Seattle, supposedly for some hull work. Unfortunately, the owner had decided to dry-dock her only once, and that was to be in San Francisco where she would be converted into a restaurant. Instead of the much-needed hull work, the local shipyard prepared her for towing by closing up the forward car deck opening with some sort of temporary barricade. There was no trouble leaving the Sound, but when the CHETZEMOKA rounded Cape Flattery under tow she ran into unseasonably high waves and winds. The car-deck barricade gave way and all hell broke loose. In the words of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
“Monday night the tug Express turned about off the coast when the ferryboat's seams opened and she started taking water. Tugboat skipper Tom Kent hoped to make it back into the protection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. But at 5:30 yesterday morning the Express radioed the Coast Guard for help. The Coast Guard delivered three pumps to the CHETZEMOKA, and two tug crewmen boarded the ferry to try to keep her afloat. They were Larry Frank, 48, of Everett and Tom McGuirk, 27, of Seattle. Frank and McGuirk couldn't keep up with the flooding, though. A Coast Guard 42-footer picked them off, and the CHETZEMOKA sank.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Wed. June 1977.
And in this way, the classic, wooden-hulled CHETZEMOKA joined the hundreds of ships already sunken in the Washington coast area known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. The Coast Guard summarized the cause simply as: “unseaworthy”.
13 Anti-Submarine Warfare on Bainbridge Island
If you know where to look at the former site of Fort Ward on Bainbridge Island, you can still find huge concrete gun emplacements overlooking Rich Passage. The Fort was designed to protect the Bremerton naval shipyard from attack by sea. Large caliper guns took care of surface ships, and an anti-submarine net and sonar sensors prevented underwater attacks. Guns and nets are gone now, but anchors for the submarine net are still there, an interesting, but invisible remnant of the defense system. They were, of course, designed to be unmovable.
After the Pearl Harbor attack, an anti-submarine net was made of heavy steel cable fastened together like chicken-wire with six-foot holes. It was suspended from two floating booms: one was anchored at Bean’s Point on Bainbridge and the other at Orchard Point across Rich passage. There were provisions for opening the net and swinging it aside using two tugboats to allow the passage of warships and other ships critical to defense. On each shore cables from the boom were coupled to buried concrete anchors. On the beach the cables were supported by two rock-filled wooden cribs just visible at high tide, but dry at low tide. Seeing these cribs on the shore, I knew that there must be something more to anchor the net further out on the bottom.
The beach at the eastern-most gun emplacement, Battery Warner, provided good access to the water. Swimming straight in line with the rock cribs I found a thick growth of kelp about fifty yards out. This was the key to one of the most interesting dive sites anywhere near the Island. Marine life always thrives where there is a good foothold and a strong current. At moderate depths you can count on a wide variety of species and plants in those conditions.
The anchor was immense, designed to hold back even a large submarine. It consisted of three blocks of concrete linked together by steel beams. The reinforced blocks were about ten feet by ten feet by eight feet high:
Schools of small perch watched from the penthouse garden of kelp on top of each block. Well camouflaged giant sculpin resting in sea lettuce looked for unwary strays. Striped greenling were busy catching shrimp among the bottom rocks, melting into the brown algae so beautifully.. And big ling cod, the kings of all, resting here and there watching everything, but ready to rise up on fin tips and dash away if approached by something as large as a diver. There were many varieties of sea stars, sea cucumbers, and nudibranchs. Plumose anemones took residence anywhere there was a solid, spare inch. In the darkness of octopus dens under the concrete blocks, a diver could often see large suction cups arrayed to make the usual defensive portcullis. And varieties of crabs.
Many spider crabs. It was unsettling to approach one of the big blocks from the up-current direction and see a hundred spider crabs jammed together on its face in a living wall. Each with arms outstretched toward you with wide open white-tipped claws. Hard not to take it personally. Though so alien in appearance, the slow moving crabs were harmless, of course, and could be handled gently. They were always on the upstream side, waiting for food to be delivered by the current. Four times a day when the current died they would climb up and over the big concrete block to take up a position on the other side. I missed a chance for a good experiment. It would be interesting to put a spot of paint on several and see if they came back to the same location.
After many searches I found that there were four of the large anchor assemblies in a line across Rich passage, two on each side. Going straight toward Manchester from the first one, I found another about sixty feet down at low tide. It supported a smaller number of residents and no algae. The arrangement was mirrored on the other side of the passage. Following the line to a depth of ninety feet produced no new discoveries except giant ling cod, always facing into the current.
I spent many happy hours at the site observing with friends and occasionally collecting specimens for the Poulsbo Marine Center. I was watching a beautiful red six-foot octopus some distance from the first anchor one day. I stayed about eight feet away quietly admiring the way he use his graceful arms to investigate nooks and crannies on the rocky bottom. After five minutes the octopus seemed to become aware that I was observing him and started walking purposely, with increasing speed, in the direction of the concrete anchors. When I followed along he shifted into high gear and turned on the jet, zipping along just about as fast as I cold swim. He was headed straight for the nearest anchor and the safety of the large hole at its bottom. I watched him zoom in at high speed, thinking the show was over. But in a few seconds, out of the hole came a big cloud of sand and a dozen madly writhing tentacles, many of them white. The commotion didn’t last long. The hole soon spat out a pure white octopus, my old friend, I think. He blurped out a cloud of ink, shot past me and then settled down, slowly moving away, still all white. I am sure he was reminding himself: “Never, never go into the old man’s den without knocking first.”
The Wreck of the GENERAL M. C. MEIGS
The troop transport ship GENERAL M. C. MEIGS (AP-116) made nineteen trips across the Pacific after World War II. A good sized vessel, she was 622 feet long and had a beam of 75 feet. She carried thousands of troops to ports in Japan and South Korea before going into layup in the Reserve Fleet at Olympia, Washington in 1958. Subsequently it was decided to transfer the Meigs to the remaining West Coast reserve Fleet near San Francisco.
Early one morning in January 1972 the San Francisco tug Gear departed the strait of Juan De Fuca towing the unmanned GENERAL M. C. MEIGS in spite of gale warnings. The Meigs carried valuable cargo bound for the reserve fleet, including two steel harbor tugs lashed to her deck. Shortly after she rounded Tatoosh island, the MEIGS was torn loose from her tow by high winds and seas. She was driven ashore at Shi-Shi beach seven miles south of Cape Flattery, and was broken in half on a needle-like spire.
Laura and Brian McCandless and the General M. C. Meigs
Navy personnel spent many months guarding the wreck and cleaning up the spilled bunker oil. One of the two tugs had broken loose and was salvaged. The ship lay in limbo for more than a year as the Navy debated on the next step. It was not refloatable, and there was no easy access by either land or sea.
When the Navy stopped guarding the MEIGS, Makah Indians moved in and salvaged everything they could in partial, unofficial payment for damage to their traditional clamming and fishing grounds. It was very strenuous and somewhat dangerous work. After a year the ship was pretty well stripped.
One calm weekend in January of 1974 we visited the tribal chief’s representative and got permission to visit the MEIGS and look for souvenirs. Three of my children and I lugged our schnorkel gear two miles down a very muddy coastal watch road left over from WW II. As we progressed through the dense spruce forest the boom of distant breakers lured us on. Emerging suddenly from the dark forest to a cliff edge we were hit with a Cinerama spectacular with 3D sound turned up high. Ocean swells boomed as they hit the two pieces of the MEIGS and spouted foam sixty feet into the air. Rocky spires, islets and an archetypical smuggler’s cave made it an adventurer’s dream.
The two sections of the MEIGS, separated by several hundred yards, acted as a breakwater, calming the near-shore water, and making for a pleasant schnorkel. As we boarded, we could feel the shudders that ran through the ghost ship as big swells pounded the hull. The bridge had been stripped by Makah salvagers, and most of the portholes were gone too. My son Douglas was intrigued by the harbor tug still lashed to the foredeck, claming that it wouldn’t be hard to get it off if we had the right tools. Its wheel and navigation instruments were gone, but it was still a beautiful vessel. Tempting, but not practical. Seeing many bunks below decks reminded us of the thousands of troops who had once slept there in tight quarters. Son Brian proposed that we sleep there too overnight instead of camping on shore. It was a thrilling idea, but the bunks were too slanted to use and we couldn’t get them loose.
The once great MEIGS was being torn to pieces by the incredible force of North Pacific Waves. Reinforced steel bottom plates six inches thick were torn and twisted like paper. Like a beautiful statue attacked by barbarians, she would soon return to the elements from which she was born.
When I returned two years later the MEIGS was barely a ripple off-shore. The steel tugboat had been ripped from the deck and was now wedged between some rocks underwater, crumpled like an old tin can. Its bent bronze eight-foot diameter propeller was still attached. Twisted pieces of porthole frames lay green in the rock crevices. The MEIGS had been torn apart as she moved over the solid rock sea-floor like cheese on a grater.
Porthole frames are mounted from the inside. Almost all ports were gone except for ones near the waterline that could be accessed only from underwater. We were able to schnorkel down about 15 feet and come up inside the wreck to get to these compartments. Easily said, but dangerous and difficult to do. Going down and getting under the wreck was simple, but we had to find a clear path up to the surface inside the ship. The diver scout had to be prepared to run into a dead end and retrace his path to the outside at any moment. Once inside, one of the team could loosen the twelve nuts holding a porthole frame while another person outside held a bolt head firm. We were each able to save one porthole and a few other interesting things from certain destruction. Free-diving through the wreckage underwater to the outside with the heavy ports was tricky. And then we lashed them to driftwood logs for a last trip ashore.
Hauling the fifty pound portholes and all the tools up the cliff and down the two-mile mud road deserved a special Olympic medal. I was proud of daughter Laurie who cheerfully packed out her own porthole and gear. Douglas had scored two portholes, and staggered down the road with them both on one backpack. We kidded him about being too lazy to make two trips.
Today the area is part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and such activities are not permitted. My three children who were on the MEIGS expedition eventually sold their beautiful 18” diameter bronze portholes when their youthful needs shifted to the more ephemeral. I installed my own porthole in a five-hinged door between my workshop and a playroom at home in Port Madison. It remained there for twenty-five years until son Brian heard that we were considering selling the house. He then flew over from Albany, New York, replaced the holey door, and shipped the porthole to his home. A true romantic.
15 A Mystery Under Pier 91
We arrived at the Pier 91 security office with great excitement. I was carrying a letter of permission signed by the head of the Seattle Port Authority giving me clearance to SCUBA dive and retrieve objects from the waters surrounding piers 91 and 92 in Seattle harbor. The significant fact was that the U.S. Navy had just closed the Pier 91 Naval base and had turned the area over to the Seattle Port Authority, and it was currently not in use. The Navy had not allowed recreational divers anywhere near for many many years. Working with the chief of the Port Authority, I had written up a liability release, insurance and authorization papers, and was now going to be the first civilian to explore this terra incognita. Experience back East had taught me that there is a wealth of interesting lost objects around shipyards, but I had never before dived at a Navy facility.
After registering with the security office, my son Brian and I carried my diving equipment down the deserted pier. It was a long pier, long enough for two cruisers to tie up end to end on one side. This was to be a scouting expedition, just to get some feel for the possibilities. I had no idea of what lay beneath.
Several hundred yards down the pier I suited up in a sheltered spot near a ladder fastened to the side of the pier. Brian would stay on top paying out a quarter inch line that I could fasten to any significant discovery. Going into the water was not encouraging. It was murky, spoiled by muddy fresh water coming from Queen Anne hill. But my spirits rose as I descended deeper into the gloom. The warm, muddy layer was only a few feet thick. I emerged into fairly clear cold water like an airplane breaking out of a cloud layer. Twenty foot visibility. Good, but not enough to see the bottom fifty feet below. As always, it was spooky going down alone into blackness, watching the anemone-covered pilings of the pier sliding by slowly. Then suddenly the ghostly bottom jumped out of the darkness. A strange visual surprise after peering down into utter blackness for minutes, seeing the soft blue-green light reflected from the rolling velvety landscape criss-crossed with innumerable crab trails.
Mud. Mud and gravel. Some upright coils of wire rope. I hoped that there wasn’t much more of that. I’d have to be on the lookout. Then, my flashlight centered on something interesting: a rigger’s hook. A sharp steel hook coming from the middle of a short wooden handle, making a “T”. It was the handy tool that longshoremen often carried on their belts for moving boxes and bales. Just like the one used in the scary fight scene in Marlon Brando’s movie “On the Waterfront”. A nice souvenir. I picked it up and continued the search. Ahead, a pile of clothes emerged from the gloom as I moved closer. No, a clothes model? A crash dummy? No! And a new chill went down my already cold spine as I saw the exposed ankles. Regular shoes, and fleshy legs except where the crabs had eaten them down to the bone. Thank goodness he was face down. What had I gotten into? I’d gone maybe fifty feet along the bottom and found a body. My God, these piers are more than 300 yards long! If there’s a body every fifty feet….? Pulse racing, I backed off and concentrated on making a controlled ascent.
As I came up the ladder I felt that hidden eyes were watching me. Brian was full of questions, but I wouldn’t talk until I was close enough to whisper, “I found a body. Let’s get out of here.” What was going on, I wondered? Gang warfare? Smuggling? The pier seemed totally deserted, but I nervously scanned all sides as we hurried to the Security Office. I still had the lethal-looking rigger’s hook in my hand. I wondered. “Are the police in on it?”
The security people seemed friendly enough, though, and called the Seattle Police Department. A squad car came in a few minutes, and a police diver team arrived in an hour, anxious to go. My pulse calmed as we got into the routine of registering and reporting. The officers were experienced and were not surprised. I did not tell them the result of my mental calculation. If there was a body every 50 feet along the 300 yard pier, and four sides of the piers… The police divers found the body easily without my further help, and took over from there. Brian and I were glad to be released in a short time. But I didn’t feel really comfortable until we were on the ferry for Bainbridge Island.
Two days later the Seattle police called to let me know that the body was that of a ‘hippie’ who had disappeared one night several weeks before. Three hippies had gone out for a private row from Queen Anne, about a mile west of Pier 91. Two had come back and had no idea of where the other had walked off to. The police were not unduly concerned, and wouldn’t need any further help from Brian and me. Apparently the body had drifted along the bottom until it was stopped by the Pier 91 pilings acting like a sort of sieve.
For more than three years afterward, my children, other partners and I dove at Pier 91, surprisingly without competition. Up and down both sides of both piers. We recovered many boatloads of copper, brass, tools, a bicycle, lots of long brass shell casings for a three-inch cannon, a hundred fire hose nozzles of various types, many heavy bronze steam valves and a lovely chrome-plated six-inch diameter armor-piercing shell about 30 inches long, but never again a body. I sold a box of 5 or 6 corroded antique fire hose nozzles to each of about a dozen antique and junk dealers in Seattle. Some were big, two-man nozzles with leather handles, others had valves, some were fog nozzles. some big, some small. I was worried that they would be mad when they heard about the glut of fire hose nozzles. But when I came back a year later with some other junk they all asked hopefully if I had more nozzles. I learned from a sailor that ships returning from a two-year cruise in the Pacific Theater had to pass an inspection. Anything not on the inventory had to be returned to the supply officer with proper paperwork. It was much faster to just ‘deep six’ an extra item.
I often think that the gods of chance must have chuckled to themselves when they dropped me, unerringly, on the one place on that long, long pier where I would have the most excitement.
16 The Underwater Salvage Business
Ken Chausee and I arrived at Neah Bay with lots of full air tanks, looking for salvage jobs and adventure in this wild place so far from the tame hills of Seattle. Unfortunately, the first person we talked with turned out to be a local diver. He said he lived there and had done some underwater jobs, and there was nothing else to do. So we were left to walking around, looking for long-shots, asking about wrecks. We were temporarily excited when one old timer said that there had been a wreck in the big southerly storm a few years back. A large barge had broken its mooring chain and had fetched up on the breakwater rocks across the bay. But we lost interest when he added that the barge had been salvaged, so we continued walking.
At an ice house on one dock the owner said that his big, expensive 12-inch diameter ice hose had disappeared one night a week ago. He said it might have been stolen, but might just be on the bottom. So I dropped in, found the big ice hose and had a line on it in twenty minutes. The owner was happy to give us $50.
Thinking about the wrecked barge, we figured that before it broke its chain, it must have stretched the chain out in a northerly direction. We rented a kicker boat and began a search. I went to the bottom a bit west of the middle of the harbor, about thirty feet deep, holding my five-pronged grapnel hook attached to a 100 foot line to the kicker boat. Ken towed me straight east, and in ten minutes I saw a very big chain and dug in the grapnel. We found three good small anchors hooked into the big chain, which was about 200 feet long. Inflating a lift bag tied to each anchor made getting them up to the surface quite easy. The lines to the fouled anchors had all been cut by their undoubtedly disgusted owners. As we hoped, on the south end, the big chain terminated in a HUGE old Navy-style fluked anchor with a cross-piece. The shank of the seven hundred pounder was over six feet long!
A crowd of questioners gathered when we unloaded the kicker boat at the guest dock. We told the whole story and asked if anybody wanted an anchor? Right away we sold two of the anchors for $50. I kept the third, a nice Danforth that I used for years afterwards. Then a big fellow came forward and wanted to know more about the huge anchor. We described its size and how it was covered with marine growths, including many anemones. The fellow said that he owned a large commercial fishing boat and was looking for a new mooring anchor. He offered to pay $100 for the anchor as it was, on the bottom, if we would cut off the chain and fasten a line to the anchor. We didn’t take long to shake hands on the deal.
The skipper’s big boat had a good winch and boom for hauling the monster up. So we went out once more and I tied a stout line to the anchor and then spent half an hour hack-sawing through one of the huge chain links underwater since the captain did not want the chain. Up on the deck again, we all watched the hoist and boom strain against the load. And when he saw the anchor emerge, all encrusted with sea life, the captain was both delighted and aghast. He said, “I didn’t realize it was going to be that big!”
The author and the Nah Bay Anchor
Ken and I felt good about making $200 in one day, so we decided to do a sport dive the next day. I recommended revisiting the nearby wreck of the Andalusia. (See previous story “The Wreck of the Andalusia”) Since the Andalusia was just about a half mile out from Clear Creek resort, we rented a rowboat there instead of a kicker boat. It was a relatively calm day with no wind, so we had no problem rowing out to the wreck. The wreck was marked by a sort of ventilator shaft that stuck out of the water at low tide, so we tied up to that. It had changed considerably in the few years since I had visited her. The tremendous load of lumber that had been lashed to her deck was gone. The ship was a hazard to navigation, and had been blasted up by the Army Engineers. We spent a while prowling around the deeper end underwater and looking at the big fish swarming all about. The ship was broken into unrecognizable pieces, but was a beautiful sight in the clear water, coated with bright yellow and orange sponge and sea anemones. On a planned ascent, we worked our way towards the shallower end. And then I turned a corner and was surprised to see a wrecked boat on the bottom. A rowboat missing its stern. There was still a line tied to its bow, leading upward. Suddenly I realized that it was our boat! Talk about a revolting development!
When we went to the surface we deduced what had happened. The current had shifted, and there was now quite a wake behind the stack we had used for a mooring. The boat had swamped and the strong current had ripped out the stern. There were no fishermen around, so we had to swim for shore. It was not a big problem, but it took almost a hour to swim the half mile wearing full SCUBA gear. It would have been easier underwater, but we were out of air. Of course, you never fight the current. So we ended up about a half mile down the shore and had to walk back to the resort carrying the gear.
The Clear Creek resort manager was a little shaken up to see us walk up sweating, without his rowboat. He didn’t think it was funny. After a little discussion about the obvious age of the rowboat he agreed to sell it to us for $150 and not charge for the rental. So what had been a triumphant weekend ended up being educational rather than profitable.
Epilogue: The fishing boat captain soon found the anchor too large for practical purposes, and sold it to a Neah Bay motel operator. It sat in front of his motel in Neah Bay for many years. But finally the motel operator went broke when the fishing industry turned bad and sold the anchor to a Clallam bay commercial boat operator. The boat operator lost the anchor in Clallam bay and moved on. The big anchor was then re-discovered underwater by local divers from a new dive shop there. It was picked up and moved temporarily to a place just off the highway as a sort of advertisement. It was still there five years later, about 1995, just another roadside attraction. It still has the two links of heavy chain that I left on for no good reason.
17 Cops and Robbers
The water’s surface hides many things from the view of most people. The tendency to think of the underwater world as something separate from ours has caused many problems. Some people even dump refuse or contraband into the water and believe that it is gone forever.
The Agate Passage bridge has been used for dumping for many years. We divers know, because the passage is an attractive place to dive. Large rocks jumbled around the pier footings are like a fortress with secret corridors for timid fish. In the middle of the passage, scattered car-sized boulders, probably glacial erratics, make good footholds and cover for invertebrates, schools of fish and predators. There are areas where white plumose anemones are a dazzling wall-to-wall carpet (self-cleaning, too!). But under the bridge there is some junk. Broken things, stolen lawn ornaments, et cetera. Over the years my diving partners and I have recovered three guns. A totally rusted revolver. An almost unrecognizable shotgun….and a machine-gun.
It appeared to be a standard M-16 army issue not available then on the open market. Several years previously, as a civilian guest/observer in an Air Force training program, I had actually fired such a gun. The M-16 has an automatic fire mode that spits out 10 rounds a second. Even though it was covered with rust and mud my son Brian was fascinated with it and happily brought it ashore. About eight hours later, after a bath and good dinner, I asked Brian, “Whatever happened to the machine gun?” And he said, “Come on. ” we went down to the workshop where Brian unwrapped a beautiful, cleaned and oiled gun. It looked like new! He had spent hours taking it apart, removing the very light coat of rust, oiling and re-assembling it. He said “Watch.” as he inserted a long dowel into the barrel. With a grin Brian pulled the trigger and the dowel jumped an inch. The firing pin worked! The internal carriage worked. The rifling was shiny. The serial numbers were very clear. I sighed, “Oh, Brian, it’s in operating condition!”
In those days it was against the law to have a machine gun without a license. Brian had visions of being the only kid in the block to have a real machine gun on his bedroom wall instead of a BB gun. I felt that we had to turn it in to the county sheriff, (There was no Bainbridge Police Department in those days.) since it might have been used in a robbery. I really lost points with my son when I called the sheriff.
The deputy to whom I spoke was mildly interested, and said that they would send a car to pick up the machine gun in a couple of days. So we were a little surprised when a sheriff’s car pulled up ten minutes later. A polite deputy thanked us for our help and said they would check out the gun and let us know the results.
A few weeks later the sheriff called to say that the gun had been stolen from a Marine Corps base in North Carolina, but didn’t appear to have been used in any robberies. I asked if they could disable the machine gun with a spiked or welded barrel and give it back to us. But the sheriff said that he was sorry, they couldn’t do that. And that was the last time we played cops and robbers underwater.
18 The Wonders of Cape Flattery
One of the seven wonders of my private world is Cape Flattery, Washington. The easily accessible rock promontory defines the very tip of this northwest corner of the state of Washington. On the right the broad Strait of Juan de Fuca is a natural east-west boundary between Washington and Vancouver Island. On the left the never-ending waves of the Pacific Ocean crash against vertical cliffs. The view is a sensational reward for making the half-mile hike from the parking area down through old growth cedars, wind-twisted spruce trees, through narrow trails, and finally out onto the flat top of the promontory forty feet above the waves,
Even on quiet days waves striking the rocks send glistening spray high into the air, while other waves rush headlong into the sea caves, finally booming like distant thunder. The natural beauty seems timeless, just as it might have been ten thousand years ago. There is no sign of man except for a sturdy lighthouse built into the rock ramparts of Tatoosh Island, one half mile offshore. If ever a lighthouse was needed, it is here. Ship-cracking reefs lurking beneath the waves match the obvious dangers of plummeting cliffs and whorling currents. Yet it is here that hundreds of ships each year must round the northwestern corner of the United States, often in thick fog, to enter the quiet safety of Puget Sound.
From atop the cliffs it is easy to see an abundance of marine life. Close-packed colonies of gooseneck barnacles and mussels clearly thrive on the oceanic nutrients and clean, oxygen-saturated water brought by Pacific waves. Deeper down, starfish and huge sea anemones flaunt vivid colors in full view, apparently surviving because of their unpalatable taste. Purple sea urchins, enough for an army of sea otters, scrape out pockets of safety in the rock. Mysterious caves and misshapen rock pinnacles are on either side.
There are a few calm days each year when it is possible for a SCUBA diver to enter the seas of Cape Flattery in safety. Twenty feet down in the crystal clear water the diver enters the kind of peace and serenity usually reserved for cathedrals. It is hard to imagine that only a few months earlier, these seas would have meant sure and sudden death. Now the shore surge and gentle currents are but a small reminder of the furious forces that once reigned.
Schnorkel-equipped swimmers can explore the cliffs and caverns as no-one else can, but there is one unusual problem. As you rise and fall with the swells you can look down as see long strands of algae and reef grass surging back and forth with other-world grace. Almost hypnotic. After fifteen minutes of this, my 14 year old son Brian threw up into his schnorkel. But he recovered quickly and we went on to explore the depths of a water-filled sea cave. It was pretty dark inside about 150 feet but the fully recovered Brian wanted to continue. Finally he said, “Dad, I can see light!” And we turned a corner and found a watery passage to another sea cave connecting to the other side of the point. It would provide a convenient return path instead of fighting the high currents around the point
On the shoreline there are rocks rich with fossil shells and even fossil wood. Wormholes in the petrified wood are now filled with clear calcite crystals. A sure sign that crustal movements have caused some ancient seabed to rise. Down at eighty feet we see caves and pillars very similar to the formations found at today’s shoreline. These testify that the sea level was once at least one hundred feet lower. A sea lion, busy investigating the caves seems to nod his head and then goes about his ways. Divers and sea lions don’t threaten each other. There are no enemies here. The environment is not hostile, just alien.
The vertical cliffs yield an occasional access to land, a place where the surge is up and down, not sideways.. Timing is everything. We stand off a few feet treading water studying the rhythmic crash of surf against rock, and then dash in as the flood reaches its peak, clawing for a temporary anchor as the receding water tries to reclaim us. We must scramble higher before the next wave snatches us back.
We relax on a lower shelf and look across a water-filled chasm to sightseers exploring the flat top of the Cape Flattery promontory. The visitors are peering cautiously at the churning water far below. We remember the beauty beneath and smile, and wonder what these gentle visitors would think if they knew of the labyrinths beneath their feet, of the high vaults echoing with muted thunder. if they knew that coastal carving, while temporarily slowed, is still continuing.
After scouting the area, we make a plan to fit the conditions, and don SCUBA gear. The clear water is like champagne. Thirty feet down we thrill to a fantastic rock massive rock garden with house-sized boulders. We flit like lazy butterflies from one dazzling display to another. Red, yellow and purple sponge. Strange plants waving in the ‘air’. Colonies of white, green and variegated anemones. Clouds of silver fingerlings following like sparrows looking for dropped crumbs. Dense baseball sized sponges seem to have shrunken until hard enough to survive. Bare-blasted rock clearly defines corridors of fury, while a sheltered valley nearby is floored with flour sand and a sprinkling of fragile sea urchin skeletons. A huge brown carpet floats close to the bottom, slowly undulating toward the depths, flowing up and over rocks and sponges, through defiles. Blurry edges reveal the truth: myriads of tiny brown shrimp are traveling very close together at a constant one-inch off the bottom. Momentarily disturbed shrimp quickly re-join the immense throng. Who guides this wondrous blanket?
All too soon we must yield to the tyranny of our air gages. Rising slowly from the depths, we proceed along the bottom of a sloping canyon, using the surges, yielding to them when they go shoreward, then quickly grasping a bottom rock to keep from being swept backward. The simpler cave life gives way to anemones, sea urchins, beacon-bright purple fronds of seaweed, and finally the zone where the rock is completely covered with some form of sea life. Even the smallest area reveals a miniature world in which strange struggles rage silently sometimes for food, sometimes for light, sometimes for water, and perhaps the most important here, for a foothold. Soon we too are looking for a foothold.
The bright sun in the above-water world makes us squint. In just a moment, it seems, our black foam rubber suits are unbearably hot. Gasping, hearts pounding, we climb higher on strangely nude rock to a level spot where we can complete our metamorphosis. Ears pop, circulatory systems readjust, old rhythms re-establish themselves, and we are home again, landlubbers. Sounds and the sweet pungent smells of the shoreline return to our sensory world. Gliding underwater, our perceptions were usually directed to the scenery below. Now, stuck fast to the ground, our perceptions rise up and out.
The air is suddenly filled with alarm cries! All around us seagulls are swooping, diving with high pitched screams of danger. We are surprised and confused until we see the clear pattern. The Herring Gulls are diving, not at us, but at a nearby tree. Then, a shock of awareness. an eagle is sitting on a low branch less than thirty feet away! His dark mass is almost invisible against the thick spruce tree on the edge of the gorge. He is utterly impassive. Disdainful and aloof both to the near-miss swoops of the gulls and to the presence of man. Dark beak and absence of light colored head feathers indicate that he is an immature bald eagle. Even so, he is a very large bird.
The seagulls derive courage from the uneven odds. Each one puts on a show of bravery by swooping past the eagle at high speed, screaming. The worst offenders dive straight at the great bird and veer off at the last instant. But, aware of the danger, they never come within reach, and never slow down their approach. Why do they pester this noble creature? Perhaps an old contention over a choice fish? Perhaps an attack in flight, with the eagle skillfully intercepting a dropped fish, soaring swiftly to his aerie? The eagle remains undisturbed, giving no hint of his plan until the moment for action comes. Suddenly the eagle turns around on the branch. In the next instant he has launched out over the cliff, and has become a winged blur aimed at the other side of the gorge. The seagulls, like leaves scattered by a sudden gust, are left far behind. The objective of his swift flight seems to be an abandoned nest on a small rock outcropping. With an impressive spread of wings the eagle brakes to a landing and composes himself. He examines the area around the nest, heedless of the panic-stricken gulls flying about him. Deliberately, he pecks at a crevice running horizontally from the outcropping. He moves along the crevice slowly, head held sideways so that he can thrust his beak into the narrow crack. Occasionally his talons slip from the near-sheer rock face, and a quick wing beat is necessary to restore equilibrium. He reaches the end of the crevice and suddenly stops. Then, with a great thrust of body and wings, he pulls a reluctant denizen from its refuge! In a moment he is repositioned for flight. A taloned claw now grasps the victim. The exposed outcropping is not of the eagle's choosing now. He flieses to the shelter of a nearby overhang. It is a sanctuary safe from the frantic seagulls. Their cries and dives are to no avail. Because of the overhang they cannot dive from overhead at high speed. They dare not approach directly in level flight. The eagle straightens up and again becomes the magnificent conqueror of the skies. And conqueror he truly is, for a young pigeon-sized seagull flaps helplessly upside down in his talons.
And now we realize the true significance of the features we had admired in this bird of prey. This way of life is just as much a part of him as are his great wings. He is blameless, and yet our sympathy lies with the gulls. Only once is the attention of the seagulls diverted. Shortly after the capture, a second young gull toddles out of the crevice, bewildered. What had happened to his nest mate? Should he follow? The answer comes quickly as his parents swoop back with an alarm cry. In seconds the youngster has toddled back deep into the crevice, and moments later his parents are back screaming at the eagle's perch.
It is obvious now that they are his parents. After the capture, the other gulls soon left, having resigned themselves to the loss. Only two birds continue to dive and cry, resting very briefly on high ledges, only to dive again in less than a minute. It seems that their high pitched voices are becoming lower, hoarser after half an hour. But our judgment is biased. Gulls rounding the point occasionally join in for one or two half-hearted swoops, then wing on, perhaps headed back to the rookery.
Soon we too must leave without participating in this affair. And we wonder why this pair of gulls had chosen such an isolated spot for a nest. Sail Rock, a few minutes flight away, is covered with nesting gulls. Surely even an eagle would hesitate to attack the home grounds. Had overcrowding forced this pair to abandon the favored way for one more perilous?
19 Hard Times in New York
With our fiftieth wedding anniversary gone a few years now, it is amusing to think back and relive the early days, and remember the fragility of our relationship to the material world. Patricia and I were engaged shortly after I got a new job that raised my Associate Engineer’s pay from $50 per week to $70 per week And with regularly scheduled overtime my paycheck was $90 per week before deductions. We spent most of our wedding present money on our Saint Croix diving honeymoon, and returned reluctantly and only slightly in debt (since we did not have the advantage of credit cards) and living in an expensive $100 per month apartment in the Bronx.
Things went well for several years until union negotiations failed, and my employer, Arma Corporation, closed the doors to all employees for what was to be a seven-week strike. It soon became clear that Arma had a tacit understanding with all other similar engineering companies in the New York area not to hire Arma engineers. Tough! It was a tight labor market, too, and my old friends in the Concrete Workers Union could not take me back, either.
As fate would have it, I had recently put aside my home-made diving helmet and had purchased a genuine Aqualung directly from Cousteau’s factory in France. Having read a shelf full of books on the subject, I was prepared to make underwater salvage the source of income for my poor, hungry family, so I ditched the picket line after two days.
I prowled the by-ways of City Island, home to many boatyards and yacht clubs. My father-in-law Frank Foley kept his cruiser, the Westward Ho there at the famous Harlem Yacht club. I tacked up and otherwise distributed a hundred brand new UNDERWATER SALVAGE cards with great hopes. My first commission, to retrieve an outboard motor dropped from the stern of a moored yacht proved rewarding in about 15 minutes. The wind was just as it had been the day before when the motor was dropped, and it was about five feet aft of the stern. I agreed to search for it the next afternoon. When I found the motor in the very murky water, it was covered with mud and sea anemones. As previously agreed, I left it hanging underwater on a line tied to a cleat on the yacht so the air would not get to it before it was properly cleaned. That evening, when I came to collect my fee, I was surprised to have the owners disclaim any knowledge of the motor. Besides, it was badly corroded. We all came to the same conclusion, so I dove in again at the same spot and came up with an identical, but shinier motor. It seems there are always surprises underwater.
I cleaned up various things around City Island, and finally exhausted the potential with a really tough day’s work that paid eighty dollars, which was very welcome, as it was about the fourth week of the strike. So I had all the money changed into single dollar bills. As I climbed the steps to my in-law’s front door I stuffed bills part way into my shirt front, into my sleeves, every pocket, and put quite a few under my beat-up old hat, then rang the doorbell. When Trish answered, I said “Hi honey”, lifting my hat so dollar bills blew all over the place. After her initial shock we both laughed as we chased the treasure trove around the door stoop, and things looked a little brighter.
An engineer friend, Henry Blazek was also a SCUBA diver. He needed money too, so I told him how much fun it was to retrieve anchors, moorings, and such, and so we joined forces. I had been diving alone, usually without a tender, so this was a good partnership. Hank knew where there were a lot of boatyards on the south side of Brooklyn. They rented out hundreds of small ‘kicker’ boats to local fishermen. Alas the boatyard owners said that they hadn’t lost anything….except that the boat renters kept losing many small anchors on which there was a $5.00 deposit. If we could get any back, the owners would pay us two or three dollars, depending on their condition. I had a chart of the area, and noticed that there were four or five submarine telephone cables stretching between Brooklyn and Coney Island right in the area popular with the fishermen.
Full of great expectations, Henry and I rented a boat and motored out to the most likely area. We set up a course perpendicular to the orientation of the cable and tossed a grapnel over the side. After ten minutes of dragging the grapnel was hung up fast. The theory seemed to have worked, so over the side I went, and down about forty feet. Sure enough, it was a cable, and there was an anchor! And another! And another! There were anchors about every three feet! It soon became clear that some had been there for many years and were not worth salvaging. Almost every anchor had a ball of tangled fishing line about a foot in diameter around the shank, some with living fish still attached! We developed a theory and later saw it in action: When a fish is hooked, it heads for the nearest obstruction and dashes around it as many times as it can. Thus, many fishermen who loose their gear ‘snagged on the bottom’ in reality have been purposely tangled up by a fish! Each anchor had to be disentangled and brought to the surface for further cleaning. This took some time, but we were able to retrieve and sell about 25 anchors that first day.
We worked out a scheme to reduce the time spent going from the bottom to the surface and back down. We took down bags of little bottles wound with 50 feet of stout cord. We could both work underwater, selecting and untangling the anchors, and tying on a bottle to each, setting it to one side of the cable, free and clear. This worked well. We went down the line and prepared about thirty anchors, each with a line attached and a float topside. When we were out of air we went back to our kicker boat and prepared to haul up a boatload of anchors. But the tide had started to run, and was so strong that all of the floats were dragged underwater! We couldn’t come back right away, so three days later at slack tide we returned and searched and searched, but never found a bottle. I hate to admit it, but we did the same thing again, this time using a foot long piece of two by four for the floats. We went in at slack, fixed up twenty or so anchors, and came up to find the wooden floats underwater. First lesson on the strength of currents…We were too tired to wait around six hours for the evening slack, so we decided to return the next day.
I have learned one truth about New York: there are lots of people there. Messing around, into everything, anything. When we came back the next day we found only two of our floats. It was easy to imagine some curious flotsam picker hauling up a funny piece of wood, and then noticing a line of similar floats stretching off into the distance….
And con artists…. One day, going down a cable, we came to an end! It was an electric power cable, with an inch and a half core of copper wires. Interesting, so we turned around and eventually found the other end several hundred yards away. Wow! At $1.00 a pound, there was a fortune in copper there. We figured that it must have been discarded when they put in one of the major lines. So the next day we came back with hacksaws, pulled up an end, and started to saw off a fifteen foot long piece, wondering how many we could do in a day. We had just started when two men in a small boat came over and asked what we were doing. We explained that we had found some salvage, (not telling its true nature). The men said that they worked for the power company, and had stored a cable there, never expecting anybody to find it, and to please put it back. They were very serious, never quite threatening, so we felt lucky that they hadn’t called the police. We left, and never went back But thinking about it later, we decided that it was not like the power company to do that. It was more likely that the two men worked for the power company and had taken the traditional New York ‘cut’ of anything passing through their hands. There was indeed a fortune there, but it belonged to some New York con artists.
We had worked the area of Flushing pretty hard, and had never again found an ‘anchor graveyard’ quite as rich as that first day. So we decided to explore a new area, the jetty at the end of Coney Island.
The rocks of the jetty spilled over into the sea and onto the sea floor, making a good environment for interesting marine life including lobsters and many fish. There were some anchors, too, mostly old, and each with a tremendous ball of fishing line, hooks and weights around the shank to accommodate all the fishermen on the jetty who preferred shore casting to boat fishing. We were happily exploring along the jetty, attempting to stay in the safe zone between the jetty fishermen and the trolling boats. It was sort of funny. The fishermen were trying hard, using their best gear, to cast far out from the jetty. But the bottom was flat and uninteresting there! All the fish were around the rocks of the jetty, or the ones spilled out a little way. And the big balls of fishing line on snagged anchors were all around the rocks. Did we find any good anchors? You bet we did: culminating in a 600-pound monster with a six-foot shank, classic folding cross-bar and a short length of broken chain. We were ecstatic, and hurried home to make plans for retrieving the beast.
We scrounged up a surplus hand-cranked hoist of adequate capacity and mounted it on a platform that we could tow with a ‘kicker’ boat. The platform was an old WW II surplus balsa wood 20-man life raft that we decked over with salvaged planks. It was loosely tied together, but the hoist was securely mounted in the center and was ready for action. Henry’s brother Tom had volunteered to help us at no charge, and we were glad to have a third hand. As luck turned out, he was one of those people with no water sense. He was totally useless running the kicker boat, or steering or keeping things lashed together. Still, we crossed several miles of the bay and anchored over the big anchor without too much trouble. We soon were chained to the monster and took up the slack by operating the winch. Taking turns on the winch, we started the slow process of lifting the anchor clear of the bottom. It was tough work, and we could have used more mechanical advantage. When it came Tom’s turn to crank, disaster struck. To change places, Tom somehow stepped on the side of the platform that was already almost under water due to a rising current.. The other side started up, and the current caught under the raft and it was well on its way to completely capsizing and losing the winch and the platform. Henry and I hung on to the edge that was rising up and yelled to Tom to “Get off, GET OFF!” Finally Tom jumped off and we manage to restore stability once more. And there was Tom, speeding away in the current that drains the East River and the New York harbor. The current was too strong to swim against, as Tom was busy proving. Luckily there were a couple of fishermen anchored a hundred yards farther towards the open ocean. We yelled to Tom: “Grab onto the boat”, only to see Tom turn around and politely ask “May I hang on to your boat?” And by the time they said “What?” he was already gone downstream. Hank and I were scared.
By the time it would take to cut loose the kicker boat, start the motor and reach Tom he would be out in the big waves headed for Europe. It would be hard to even find him. But one more small boat was anchored between Tom and the horizon. We yelled and yelled, “GRAB IT, GRAB IT!” And Tom, finally sensing something wrong, grabbed first and asked later. Turned out it was a nice couple, who shortly delivered Tom back to us. The rescuers became good spectators, asking questions and enjoying the action while we got the big anchor free and clear of the bottom and started up our now inadequate outboard motor. It was a long trip back against the current with that high-drag load, but we were very happy with the day’s work. We finally beached our big haul on a boat ramp where we were able to winch it up into my Willys Jeep station wagon for a severe test of the rear springs. Part of the anchor stuck out the back, and the leverage was so great that the front wheels just barely touched the road. My headlights, even on dim, were pointed up, causing oncoming motorists to curse and turn their brights on me.
During the next three days we went all over City Island posting cards and offering the big anchor at a bargain $150. We had established that new ones cost about $500. One captain offered $100, but we wouldn’t accept it. But at the end of three days we decided that $100 was enough, so we went back to the man who had offered it. He said “Too bad, I just bought a big $100 mushroom anchor for my mooring instead.”
I had to get the aromatic, barnacled behemoth out of my car, so we unloaded it at an out of the way spot in the boat storage yard of my father-in-law’s yacht club. The boatyard was patrolled, and we felt that it would be safe there.
The strike soon ended, and Hank and I went back to being engineers. We put up a few cards advertising the anchor for $100 and had no responses. A year went by, and then another. Winter yielded to Spring, and Memorial Day came with its opening day ceremonies at the yacht club. And much to my surprise, there, in front of the clubhouse, in a position of honor, was the refurbished anchor, now a beautiful silver color. I half jokingly suggested the club might pay me for it, and they jokingly said they might charge me for storing it for a year and a half. And that’s the way it is, in New York.
20 MUD IN LAKE UNION
In the late fifties Rick Higlin and I had a small diving business on the side, complete with a converted LCVP ( Landing Craft Vehicle/Personnel) tugboat, (the GULL HAVEN), a shallow water diving helmet and pump, and our SCUBA gear. We went from marina to marina in lake Washington picking up dropped gear, small sunken boats and motors. There was very little competition in those days. We did a little advertising and distributed our company cards to businesses all around the waterways. Of course, it was mainly a way to convince our wives that diving was not really just an expensive hobby.
One day I received a desperate call from an elderly man who lived in a houseboat on Lake union. A 26-foot cabin cruiser which had been tied up to his houseboat had sunk while he was gone for three days. He said that he needed a diver to put a sling around the cruiser so that a friend with a fishing boat and a hoist could pull it up. Speed was important since sunken boats become waterlogged very quickly. Well, Rick wasn’t available and I was, so I agreed to meet the distressed boat owner. Sure enough, there were mooring lines under tension going straight down from his houseboat. He had 200 feet of 2-inch hawser for the sling. I dove down and surveyed the sunken boat sitting upright 30 feet down. I was very careful not to disturb the mud, since I knew well the diving conditions in Lake union. Ever since installation of the locks many years ago, silt has been settling out of the slow moving water. You could touch the bottom and reach down through the mud the whole length of your arm and hardly feel any resistance. So I swam around the 24-foot boat not touching anything, memorizing the layout carefully, because I knew that I would soon be working in total darkness.
I had to use the old man as a diver’s tender for managing the two-inch rope. I instructed him to feed me the line “on demand”, and started down with a knotted end of the heavy hawser. The plan was to dig tunnels down from each side of the boat and pass the line under and around the boat. Once near the stern and once near the bow. Simple enough. I needed no special tools, just my hands. Underwater lights would be useless. Working in the blackness I easily dig the first hole down to the keel and passed the large knot through to the other side. Needing more slack, I pulled on the rope as I stood head down in the hole. I felt the rope go slack and then start coming down. And coming down. And coming down. I could feel it piling up on my feet, on my legs, all around! “STOP! STOP!’ I thought, “Please stop,” to no avail. I realized that all 200 feet of the heavy rope was now in a very big pile on top of the hole, on top of me.
After the first automatic panic reaction I quickly stopped trying to get out of the hole. I thought: “I have 45 minutes of air left. But if my regulator jams with mud it will free flow for maybe 10 minutes. Plenty of time to dig out.” So I just went sideways, digging like a very focussed underwater mole through the thick mud soup. It was not hard at all. The big problem was figuring out which way was up. I came up out of the mud about six feet away from my first hole, I think, still in total blackness, and felt liquid water around me with relief.
Drifting slowly up through the cloud of silt was like being born again. The faint light became brighter with each second, until finally there was air and sunshine. I hauled myself out onto the deck of the houseboat and sat there breathing deeply, content just to be back again in the fresh air. And the old man came over and said, “Are you finished yet?” And after a pause I said with a sigh, “No, not yet.”
21 Raising the GRATITUDE
Under cover of darkness some things go BUMP in the night, and other things go BLURP. Bilge pumps fail, power goes out, seams suddenly open up, or enemies open the drains of a boat floating high in the water, and another boat goes blurp. I have re-floated eight boats that suffered such humiliating disasters. They are never the owner’s fault. Just like it is never the captain’s fault when a line gets firmly wrapped around a propeller drive shaft. It is always the wife who didn’t take in the slack. (Manilla lines can get really tight, but the new nylon lines are ten times as bad. While the skipper is gunning the throttle the nylon lines are busy melting into a glob that turns rock hard when cool. A diver has to use a hack saw and chisel to get rid of the mess.)
CHIEF NOOKSAK was a sad sight one morning in the early 90’s, with only her mast and funnel visible at her dock space in Eagle Harbor. Her owner was sure that some enemies had done her in. The picture below shows her after Greg Hyatt and I had re-floated her by tying seven water-filled 55 gallon oil drums to her. When we inflated them with air she came to the surface once more in a slightly less than stately manner. Her cabin was clear at that point, but inside was a horrible sight with all her radios and navigation equipment dripping sea water. The picture below shows the CHIEF NOOKSAK after we beached her at high tide, and after the tide had run out. It was easy for the owner to pump her out after that.
Photograph by Lyon McCandless
But the job that was the most fun was the raising of the GRATITUDE, an ancient seventy foot cargo carrying motor-sailer. Like the CHIEF NOOKSAK, she had sunk overnight when the automatic bilge pump stopped. It was fun because it involved a whole community of people.
The first crisis was caused by the leakage of many gallons of diesel fuel oil from her large fuel tank. I followed the underwater trail of oil globules to their source, a one inch pipe coming out of the deck with a U-shaped ending. It was the air vent which allows for fast filling of the oil tank. It was now leaking oil globules out as water went in. We quickly whittled a tapered plug and I hammered it in. No more leak, but the water surface, dock and nearby boats were a mess.
An emergency response team of friends was organized to collar the large pool of oil and soak it up with absorbent batting. Disposal of oil-soaked flotsam was also a problem. True conservationists and animal lovers including Jolynn Merriam and Diana McCandless spent all day wringing out almost 100 gallons of oil into buckets. It was an awesomely dirty, but very important job. Eagle Harbor had to be saved!
The hulk was upright, somewhat down at the stern. At low tide both stern and forward hatches were out of the water for about an hour. If we could close all holes and pump very fast, there was a chance we could bring her up. Russ Trask called everyone he knew and was able to recruit eight friends with two-inch gasoline driven high capacity pumps. It was up to Greg and me to close all the holes we could find. In GRATITUDE, we dove down to close all port holes we plugged some through-hull openings and we nailed a temporary hatch cover over the after hatch. We inserted the intake hoses into the forward hatch in preparation for the big race against the tide.
As low tide approached the team of eight pump handlers stood chomping at the bit, ready to start their engines. As soon as the forward hatch broke the surface an engine started up and accelerated to full throttle. Then another, and another until all eight gasoline engines were going at full blast. What a noise! You couldn’t even hear the nearby environmentalists cheering. Fortunately, Greg and I were underwater most of the time positioning the intakes. The water level inside the GRATITUDE was going down at a satisfying rate. After half an hour it was down four feet, leaving another three feet to go. But the hull did not rise at all. And she was still stuck in the mud when the forward compartment was empty. Just a few feet of water in the after hold. And then all the water was gone and still the GRATITUDE did not float!.
The tide had reversed, the boat was empty, and she was still stuck. All eyes were riveted on the water as the incoming tide crept over the stern, over the sealed after hatch, and towards the forward hatch. If it got to the forward hatch it would refill the holds, undoing all our work. But there was still some hope because as more of the boat went underwater there was more buoyancy. Suddenly someone yelled, pointing. The creeping threat had stopped in its tracks! And then EVERYBODY was cheering and yelling and jumping up and down and congratulating their neighbors. The water slowly reversed, and then went back faster and faster as the GRATITUDE broke free of her muddy tomb. And there she was, smiling in the sunshine, high and dry on top of the water. Hip hip hooray! What a team!
It was a memorable occasion, every bit as thrilling as the great balloon launches we used to have on the Fourth of July before downtown Winslow got so crowded.
The GRATITUDE’s owner sealed the leaks, completed a very nice conversion and lived aboard the ship in Eagle Harbor for many years afterwards.
22 The Lure of Gold
The ‘horseshoe’ bend of the upper Sultan river was a favorite place for family adventure. We used to park in a clearing at the ‘neck’ of the horseshoe, use diving tanks to inflate big inner tubes, and roll them 200 feet to the start of some nice rapids. After a bouncy half-mile ride through the scenic canyon loop we could beach just 200 feet downhill from the car, climb back up, and do it again. We did it without inner tubes, too, in the springtime when the water was high.
The horseshoe was famous for being a rich source of placer gold in the early 20th century. A mining company used Chinese laborers to divert the river across the neck of the horseshoe so they could clean gold from the bedrock in the loop. The river flow at the beginning of the horseshoe was diverted by a dam and a five foot deep channel cut into the bedrock. The channel led the river to a vertical shaft which connected to a horizontal tunnel that dumped water back into the lower river. We were able to follow the dry channel, climb down the shaft and exit through the tunnel. Floating down the river we could see large areas where a ‘monitor’ nozzle and hose had been used to wash a big placer deposit into a series of sluice boxes. It must have been quite a sight in its hey-day with hundreds of coolies cleaning up the river bed. But they didn’t get it all. Some gold still washes down from the hills and collects in strange places.
We usually took gold pans. Almost every pan full of gravel yielded two or three very small grains of gold which we picked up with tweezers or an eye-dropper. The gold looked bigger In the small bottle of water we each carried on a thong around our necks. We tried scraping the bottom of deep pools, but bedrock was now covered with boulders, making collection impractical.
Arvid Natwick, a geologist-engineer friend at Boeing thought that panning was kid stuff. But I finally convinced him to come along one weekend. He enjoyed the scenery, but grumbled about the poor prospects. He liked to dig into the many potholes in spite of my reminder that the books said that they were unproductive sucker bait. One time, as we were packing up he was just finishing the hard job of cleaning rocks and gravel out of the bottom of a deep, two foot wide pothole. He carefully put all the fine-grained remainder in a pan and went down to the water. A few minutes later we heard a yell and went to investigate. Arvid tilted the pan and swirled the water around to reveal half of the pan bottom shining all golden like the sun! It made the day for all of us.
I couldn’t go back the next weekend, so Arvid went by himself. And again the next weekend, and the next weekend. His wife complained, but he really had the bug. For the next four months he re-visited the site whenever he could, but never again got a pan half covered in gold.
A favorite childhood fantasy of mine involved finding a deep pool under a waterfall, just paved with gold. A pool, totally inaccessible by ordinary prospectors. A pool waiting for me… So every chance I had, I actually dove under waterfalls in the Cascade Mountains, sampling the bottom sand and gravel under a dozen waterfalls over many years. But it was hard to get down to bedrock. All good placer miners know that is where the gold goes.
A good chance came when I was driving across the USA alone. I knew something of the geology and mining history of the West, and traveled a broken route visiting some of the many old ghost towns. There had been gold mines up river from Libby, Montana, and the Kootenai Falls were a little down stream. So there was a chance that gold had gone over the falls. The falls were in two steps. First a small plunge of five feet over bedrock, then a hundred feet of swift current to an angry series of rapids and falls. Holes under the upper falls should be the first to catch anything especially dense.
I needed an assistant for safety, so I signed up a local stakeholder as partner pro tem. His job was to manage a rope tied to my waist so I didn’t go over the very turbulent and much more dangerous falls downstream. Everything worked according to plan. Using SCUBA gear I swam underwater towards midstream hugging the face of the rock wall behind the falls in order to avoid the current. My partner kept a slight tension on the safety line. Smooth exposed bedrock was just what I wanted, but I needed a hole of some sort to collect the gold. At a depth of about ten feet I found just the thing: A natural two feet by ten feet trap a foot deep. My adrenaline surged as I saw that mixed in with small boulders were nails, bolts, and odd pieces of iron. My theory worked! It took me almost an hour of to clean out the debris. Then I was down to sorting small stones from the black sand. (Black sand is a heavy iron oxide and is always found with placer gold). Then I carefully swept all the sand and remaining gravel into a container I had brought.
My slightly concerned partner was glad to see me finally emerge from the stream after an hour. Not even waiting to take off my rubber suit, I dumped my spoils into a gold pan and started the slow, regular swirling that uses water to separate sand and gravel from heavier things. As I carefully spilled out the light material I could feel that there was something dense rolling on the bottom of the pan. And finally I could see the unusual particles. I swirled the black sand aside, and there they were: thirteen little, roundish gray nodules on the bottom of the pan. They were bullet slugs from rifles and pistols, and fishing weights! Not a single glimmer of gold. The gods were probably chuckling again.
At least the theory had worked. If there had been any gold nuggets around, I would have had them, too. I thanked Sancho Panza sincerely for his significant assistance and set off to find an alchemist, carrying the lead treasure close to my heart.
The emergence of Lyme disease
1 Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 2 Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Address correspondence to: Allen C. Steere, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, CNY 149/8301, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA. Phone: (617) 726-1527 Fax: (617) 726-1544 E-mail: [email protected]
1 Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 2 Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Address correspondence to: Allen C. Steere, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, CNY 149/8301, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA. Phone: (617) 726-1527 Fax: (617) 726-1544 E-mail: [email protected]
1 Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 2 Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Address correspondence to: Allen C. Steere, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, CNY 149/8301, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA. Phone: (617) 726-1527 Fax: (617) 726-1544 E-mail: [email protected]
Find articles by Glickstein, L. in: JCI | PubMed | Google Scholar
Since its identification nearly 30 years ago, Lyme disease has continued to spread, and there have been increasing numbers of cases in the northeastern and north central US. The Lyme disease agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, causes infection by migration through tissues, adhesion to host cells, and evasion of immune clearance. Both innate and adaptive immune responses, especially macrophage- and antibody-mediated killing, are required for optimal control of the infection and spirochetal eradication. Ecological conditions favorable to the disease, and the challenge of prevention, predict that Lyme disease will be a continuing public health concern.
In the late 20th century, Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, was recognized as an important emerging infection ( 1 ). It is now the most commonly reported arthropod-borne illness in the US and Europe and is also found in Asia ( 2 ). Since surveillance for Lyme disease was begun in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported cases has increased steadily, and in the year 2000, more than 18,000 cases were reported ( 3 ).
Lyme disease was recognized as a separate entity in 1976 because of geographic clustering of children in the Lyme, Connecticut, area who were thought to have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (4, S1 ). It then became apparent that Lyme arthritis was a late manifestation of an apparently tick-transmitted, multisystem disease, of which some manifestations had been recognized previously in Europe and America (S2–S6 ). In 1981, Burgdorfer and colleagues discovered a previously unidentified spirochetal bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi, in a nymphal Ixodes scapularis (also called Ixodes dammini) tick (S7 ). This spirochete was then cultured from patients with early Lyme disease, and patients’ immune responses were linked conclusively with that organism, proving the spirochetal etiology of the infection (S8, S9).
Based on genotyping of isolates from ticks, animals, and humans, the formerly designated B. burgdorferi has now been subdivided into multiple Borrelia species, including three that cause human infection. In the US, the sole cause is B. burgdorferi (S10 ). Although all three species are found in Europe, most of the disease there is due to Borrelia afzelii or Borrelia garinii, and only these two species seem to be responsible for the illness in Asia (S11, S12 ). During the 20th century, conditions evolved in the northeastern US that were especially favorable for enzootic B. burgdorferi infection ( 5 ). In this setting, Lyme disease continues to flourish and spread.
The agents of Lyme borreliosis belong to the eubacterial phylum of spirochetes, which are vigorously motile, corkscrew-shaped bacteria (Figure 1). The spirochetal cell wall consists of a cytoplasmic membrane surrounded by peptidoglycan and flagella and then by a loosely associated outer membrane. The B. burgdorferi (strain B31) genome has been completely sequenced. It has a small linear chromosome that is just under one megabase ( 6 ), and nine circular and 12 linear plasmids that constitute 40% of its DNA ( 7 ). Some of these plasmids are indispensable and could be thought of as mini-chromosomes. Although it has been difficult to manipulate the B. burgdorferi genome, progress has recently been made using modified selectable markers and shuttle vectors ( 8 , S13–S18 ).
A scanning electron micrograph of B. burgdorferi spirochetes in the midgut of a nymphal I. scapularis tick. The picture is a kind gift of Willy Burgdorfer.
The most remarkable aspect of the B. burgdorferi genome is the large number of sequences encoding predicted or known lipoproteins, including outer-surface proteins (Osp’s) A through F ( 6 ). Lipoproteins are found in the outer leaflet of the cytoplasmic membrane, and in both the inner and the outer leaflets of the outer membrane. Some of these proteins are differentially expressed, and one surface-exposed lipoprotein, called VlsE, undergoes extensive antigenic variation ( 9 ). In contrast, the genome encodes very few proteins with recognizable biosynthetic activity, and therefore, the organism depends on the host for most of its nutritional requirements. A very unusual feature of B. burgdorferi is that it does not require iron, at least for growth in vitro ( 10 ). This may allow the spirochete to circumvent the usual host defense of limiting the availability of iron. Finally, the B. burgdorferi genome encodes no recognizable toxins. Instead, this extracellular pathogen causes infection by migration through tissues, adhesion to host cells, and evasion of immune clearance.
The genus Borrelia currently includes three pathogenic species that cause Lyme borreliosis (S10–S12 ) and eight closely related species that rarely if ever cause human infection (S19–S25 ). These spirochetes live in nature in enzootic cycles involving ticks of the Ixodes ricinus complex (also called the Ixodes persulcatus complex) and a wide range of animal hosts (Table 1) ( 11 ). These enzootic cycles have evolved somewhat differently in different locations (S26 ). The important vectors of the three pathogenic species of human Lyme borreliosis are the deer tick, I. scapularis, in the northeastern and north central US Ixodes pacificus in the western US the sheep tick, I. ricinus, in Europe and the taiga tick, I. persulcatus, in Asia.
The genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi and their tick vectors and locations
In the northeastern US from Maine to Maryland and in the north central states of Wisconsin and Minnesota, a highly efficient, horizontal cycle of B. burgdorferi transmission occurs among larval and nymphal I. scapularis ticks and certain rodents, particularly white-footed mice and chipmunks ( 12 , S27 ). This cycle results in high rates of infection among rodents and nymphal ticks and many new cases of human Lyme disease during the late spring and early summer months (Figure 2). White-tailed deer, which are not involved in the life cycle of the spirochete, are the preferred host of adult I. scapularis, and they seem to be critical for the survival of the ticks (S28 ).
The enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi infection in the northeastern US and intersection with human Lyme disease. I. scapularis ticks feed once during each of the three stages of their usual 2-year life cycle. Typically, larval ticks take one blood meal in the late summer (A), nymphs feed during the following late spring and early summer (B), and adults feed during the fall (C), after which the female tick lays eggs (D) that hatch the next summer (E). It is critical that the tick feeds on the same host species in both of its immature stages (larval and nymphal), because the life cycle of the spirochete (wavy red line) depends on horizontal transmission: in the early summer, from infected nymphs to certain rodents, particularly mice or chipmunks (B) and in the late summer, from infected rodents to larvae (A), which then molt to become infected nymphs that begin the cycle again in the following year. Therefore, B. burgdorferi spends much of its natural cycle in a dormant state in the midgut of the tick. During the summer months, after transmission to rodents, the spirochete must evade the immune response long enough to be transferred to feeding larval ticks. Although the tick may attach to humans at all three stages, it is primarily the tiny nymphal tick (∼1 mm) that transmits the infection (F). This stage of the tick life cycle has a peak period of questing in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice. Humans are an incidental host and are not involved at all in the life cycle of the spirochete.
The vector ecology of B. burgdorferi is quite different on the West Coast in northern California, where the frequency of Lyme disease is low. There, two intersecting cycles are necessary for disease transmission, one involving the dusky-footed wood rat and Ixodes spinipalpis (also called Ixodes neotomae) ticks, which do not bite humans and which maintain the cycle in nature, and the other involving wood rats and I. pacificus ticks, which are less often infected but do bite humans (S29 ). Similarly, in Colorado, wood rats and I. spinipalpis ticks may be infected with Borrelia bissettii, one of the nonpathogenic species, in a cycle that is not known to cause human infection ( 13 ). In the southeastern US, nymphal I. scapularis feed primarily on lizards, which are resistant to B. burgdorferi infection because of complement-mediated killing of the spirochete ( 14 ). Therefore, Lyme disease is rare in that part of the country.
In Europe, there is still debate about the preferred animal hosts of I. ricinus. These ticks feed on more than 300 animal species, including large and small mammals, birds, and reptiles ( 15 ). In Asia, immature I. persulcatus commonly feed on voles, shrews, and birds, and adult ticks feed on virtually all larger animals, including hares, deer, and cattle ( 16 ). Because the Borrelia species differ in their resistance to complement-mediated killing, small rodents are important reservoirs for B. afzelii, B. bissettii, and Borrelia japonica, whereas birds are strongly associated with B. garinii, Borrelia valaisiana, and Borrelia turdi ( 17 ).
The earliest known American cases of Lyme disease occurred in Cape Cod in the 1960s (S30 ). However, B. burgdorferi DNA has been identified by PCR in museum specimens of ticks and mice from Long Island dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (S31 ), and the infection has probably been present in North America for millennia ( 2 ). During the European colonization of North America, woodland in New England was cleared for farming, and deer were hunted almost to extinction ( 5 ). However, during the 20th century, conditions improved in the northeastern US for the ecology of Lyme disease. As farmland reverted to woodland, deer proliferated, white-footed mice were plentiful, and the deer tick thrived. Soil moisture and land cover, as found near rivers and along the coast, were favorable for tick survival ( 18 ). Finally, these areas became heavily populated with both humans and deer, as more rural wooded areas became wooded suburbs in which deer were without predators and hunting was prohibited.
During the past 40 years, the infection has continued to spread in the northeastern US ( 19 ) it has caused focal outbreaks in some coastal areas (S30, S32, S33 ), and it now affects suburban locations near Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the most heavily populated parts of the country (S34 ). In the year 2000, the overall incidence of reported cases in Connecticut, the state with the highest reported frequency of Lyme disease, was 111 per 100,000 residents ( 3 ). However, most of the cases still clustered in foci, particularly in two counties in the southeastern part of the state where the original epidemiologic investigation took place in the town of Lyme (S1 ). In a large, two-year vaccine trial, such high-risk areas had a yearly incidence of the disease of greater than 1 per 100 participants, and the frequency of seropositivity to B. burgdorferi at study entry was as high as 5 per 100 participants ( 20 ).
As in America, the European agents of Lyme borreliosis have probably been present there for many thousands of years. They are now known to be widely established in Europe’s remaining forested areas ( 15 ). The highest reported frequencies of the disease are in middle Europe, particularly in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Sweden ( 2 ). In 1995, the yearly incidence of the disease in Slovenia and Austria was estimated to be 120–130 cases per 100,000 residents ( 2 ), similar to the frequency in Connecticut.
To maintain its complex enzootic cycle, B. burgdorferi must adapt to markedly different environments, the tick and the mammalian or avian host. The spirochete survives in a dormant state in the nymphal tick midgut during the fall, winter, and early spring, where it expresses primarily OspA ( 21 ). When the tick feeds in the late spring or early summer, the expression of a number of spirochetal proteins is altered (S35 ). For example, OspA is downregulated, and OspC is upregulated ( 21 ). OspC expression is required for infection of the mammalian host ( 22 , 23 ). In addition, the spirochete binds mammalian plasminogen and its activators, present in the blood meal, which facilitates spreading of the organism within the tick ( 24 ). Within the salivary gland, OspC expression predominates, but some organisms express only OspE and OspF OspA and OspB are absent ( 25 ).
After transmission of the spirochete, human Lyme disease generally occurs in stages, with remissions and exacerbations and different clinical manifestations at each stage ( 4 ). Early infection consists of stage 1, localized infection of the skin, followed within days or weeks by stage 2, disseminated infection, and months to years later by stage 3, persistent infection. However, the infection is variable some patients have only localized infection of the skin, while others have only later manifestations of the illness, such as arthritis. Moreover, there are regional variations, primarily between the illness found in America and that found in Europe and Asia ( 1 ).
After an incubation period of 3–32 days, a slowly expanding skin lesion, called erythema migrans (EM), forms at the site of the tick bite in 70–80% of cases ( 26 , 27 ). In the US, the skin lesion is frequently accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as malaise and fatigue, headache, arthralgias, myalgias, and fever, and by signs that suggest dissemination of the spirochete ( 28 ). In about 18% of cases ( 27 ), these symptoms are the presenting manifestation of the illness ( 29 ). In contrast, EM in Europe is more often an indolent, localized infection, and spirochetal dissemination is less common ( 30 ).
In addition to the Lyme disease agent, I. scapularis ticks in the US and I. ricinus ticks in Europe may transmit Babesia microti (a red-blood-cell parasite) or Anaplasma phagocytophilum (formerly referred to as “the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis”) ( 31 – 33 ). In a recent prospective study in the US, 4% of patients with culture-proven EM had coinfection with one of these other two tick-borne agents ( 34 ). Although these two infections are usually asymptomatic, coinfection may lead to more severe, acute flu-like illness ( 35 ).
In most patients, immune cells first encounter B. burgdorferi at the site of the tick bite. Depending on the Borrelia species and the host, complement-mediated lysis of the organism may be the first line of host defense (Figure 3) ( 36 ). On histologic examination, the resulting EM skin lesions consist of mild to marked perivascular infiltrates of lymphocytes, DCs, macrophages, and small numbers of plasma cells ( 37 ). As a part of the innate immune response, macrophages engulf and kill spirochetes ( 38 – 41 ). Inflammatory cells within the lesion produce primarily proinflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α and IFN-γ ( 37 , 42 ). B. burgdorferi–stimulated PBMCs from patients with EM produce Th1 proinflammatory cytokines, especially IFN-γ ( 43 ). Within days after disease onset, most patients have an IgM antibody response to OspC or the 41-kDa flagellar protein of the spirochete ( 44 ). Thus, both innate and adaptive cellular elements are mobilized to fight the infection.
Host mechanisms of spirochetal killing. Complement-mediated lysis of the organism may be the first line of host defense. Spirochetal lipoproteins and other spirochetal signals activate macrophages, leading to the production of strong proinflammatory cytokines, especially TNF-α and IL-1β. Macrophages engulf spirochetes and degrade them in intracellular compartments. Spirochetal lipoproteins, which are B cell mitogens, also stimulate adaptive T cell–independent B cell responses. Humoral immune responses to nonlipidated spirochetal proteins are more likely to be T cell dependent. The primary role of B. burgdorferi–specific CD4+ Th1 cells is to prime T cell–dependent B cell responses, and antigen-specific CD8+ T cells may be a significant source of IFN-γ. Antibody-mediated spirochetal killing occurs by complement fixation and opsonization.
Within days to weeks after disease onset, B. burgdorferi often disseminates widely. During this period, the spirochete has been recovered from blood and cerebrospinal fluid (S7, S36, S37 ), and it has been seen in small numbers in specimens of myocardium, retina, muscle, bone, spleen, liver, meninges, and brain ( 45 ). Possible clinical manifestations include secondary annular skin lesions, acute lymphocytic meningitis, cranial neuropathy, radiculoneuritis, atrioventricular nodal block, migratory musculoskeletal pain in joints, bursae, tendon, muscle, or bone, and, rarely, eye manifestations (reviewed in ref. 4 ). Less often, spirochetal dissemination is asymptomatic.
To disseminate, B. burgdorferi binds certain host proteins and adheres to integrins, proteoglycans, or glycoproteins on host cells or tissue matrices. As in the tick, spreading of the spirochete through tissue matrices may be facilitated by the binding of plasminogen and its activators to the surface of the organism ( 24 ). A 47-kDa spirochetal protein (BBK32) binds fibronectin, an ECM protein ( 46 ). The sequences of OspC vary considerably among strains, and only a few sequences are associated with disseminated infection ( 47 ), probably because they bind as-yet unidentified host structures. A 66-kDa outer-surface protein of the spirochete binds the fibrinogen receptor (αIIbβ3) and the vitronectin receptor (αvβ3) ( 48 ), which may allow the organism to establish an initial foothold and disseminate in the vasculature. A 26-kDa Borrelia glycosaminoglycan-binding (GAG-binding) protein, Bgp, binds to the GAG side chains of heparan sulfate on endothelial cells, and to both heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate on neuronal cells ( 49 , 50 ). Finally, spirochetal decorin-binding proteins A and B (DbpA and DbpB) bind decorin, a proteoglycan that associates with collagen ( 51 ). This may explain the alignment of spirochetes with collagen fibrils in the ECM of the heart, nervous system, or joints ( 45 ).
Despite an active immune response, B. burgdorferi may survive during dissemination by changing or minimizing antigenic expression of surface proteins and by inhibiting certain critical host immune responses. Two linear plasmids (lp’s) seem to be essential, including lp25, which encodes a nicotinamidase ( 52 ), and lp28-1, which encodes the VlsE lipoprotein ( 53 ), the protein that undergoes antigenic variation. In addition, the spirochete has a number of families of highly homologous, differentially expressed lipoproteins, including the OspE/F paralogs, which further contribute to antigenic diversity ( 54 ). B. burgdorferi may downregulate lipoproteins because of host immune pressure ( 54 , 55 ). For example, in a mouse model, the development of antibody to OspC, a prominent early response, induces downregulation of OspC and therefore, this antibody response does not completely clear the infection ( 56 ). Finally, B. afzelii and, to a lesser degree, B. burgdorferi have complement regulator–acquiring surface proteins that bind complement factor H and factor H–like protein 1 ( 57 ). These complement factors inactivate C3b, which protects the organism from complement-mediated killing ( 57 , S38–S41 ). In contrast, B. garinii is efficiently killed by complement (S42 ).
As shown definitively in mouse models, both innate and adaptive immune responses are required for optimal control of disseminated infection (Figure 3). B. burgdorferi lipoproteins, which are B cell mitogens (S39 ), stimulate adaptive T cell–independent B cell responses ( 58 , S43, S44 ). For example, antibody responses to OspC kill spirochetes ( 59 ). In addition, humoral immune responses to nonlipidated spirochetal proteins, which are more likely to be T cell–dependent, aid in spirochetal killing ( 60 , 61 ). The primary role of B. burgdorferi–specific Th1 cells is to prime these T cell–dependent B cell responses ( 62 ). The combination of these responses leads to the production of antibodies against many components of the organism ( 63 , 64 ), which promote spirochetal killing by complement fixation and opsonization (S45 ). Within several weeks to months, these antibody responses, in conjunction with innate immune mechanisms, control widely disseminated infection even without antibiotic treatment, and generalized symptoms resolve.
After weeks of disseminated infection, the Lyme disease agents may still survive in localized niches for several years. By this time, systemic symptoms are minimal or absent altogether. Although each of the three pathogenic species may spread to the joints, nervous system, or other skin sites, they seem to vary in the frequency of dissemination to these sites and in their ability to persist there. B. burgdorferi, the sole cause of the infection in the US, seems to be the most arthritogenic. Months after the onset of illness, about 60% of untreated patients with this infection experience intermittent attacks of arthritis, primarily of the large joints, especially the knee ( 65 ).
As shown in a mouse model, neutrophil extravasation into the infected joint is a key initial step in the development of joint inflammation ( 66 ). In the human infection, CD4+ Th cells are of the proinflammatory Th1 subset (S46, S47 ), and B. burgdorferi–specific CD8+ T cells are found as well (S48 ). Within the joint, B. burgdorferi–specific γδ T cells may aid in the regulation of these inflammatory responses (S49, S50 ). Compared with other inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6 mice are protected from severe arthritis by IL-6 and IL-10, despite large numbers of spirochetes in the joint ( 67 , 68 ). It is unknown, however, whether certain human patients control joint inflammation in this way. Patients with Lyme arthritis have very high antibody responses to many spirochetal proteins, suggestive of hyperimmunization due to recurrent waves of spirochetal growth ( 63 , 64 ). Even without antibiotic treatment, the number of patients who continue to have attacks of arthritis decreases by about 10–20% each year, and few patients have had attacks for longer than 5 years ( 65 ). Thus, these immune mechanisms seem to succeed eventually in eradicating B. burgdorferi from the joint.
In Europe and Asia, B. afzelii may persist in the skin for decades, resulting in acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, a skin condition that occurs primarily on sun-exposed surfaces of distal extremities in elderly women (S51 ). Compared with EM lesions, infiltrates of T cells and macrophages in acrodermatitis lesions had a restricted cytokine profile, lacking IFN-γ production ( 37 ). Consistent with this finding, ultraviolet B irradiation of B. burgdorferi–infected C3H mice decreased the Th1 response ( 69 ). Thus, spirochetal persistence in acrodermatitis skin lesions may involve both spirochetal factors and an ineffective local immune response.
B. garinii, which is also found only in Europe and Asia, appears to be the most neurotropic of the three Borrelia species. It may cause an exceptionally wide range of neurologic abnormalities ( 70 ), including borrelial encephalomyelitis (S52 ), a multiple sclerosis–like illness. In the US, a rare, late neurologic syndrome has been described, called Lyme encephalopathy or polyneuropathy, which is manifested primarily by subtle cognitive disturbances, spinal radicular pain, or distal paresthesias ( 71 , S53 ). With each of these three late neurologic complications, the possible duration of spirochetal persistence and the pathogenetic mechanisms are unknown.
Treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis. About 10% of patients with Lyme arthritis have persistent joint inflammation for months or even several years after standard courses of antibiotic treatment ( 72 ), a complication rarely noted in Europe (S54 ). Although B. burgdorferi DNA can often be detected by PCR in the joint fluid of these patients prior to antibiotic treatment ( 73 , S55 ), PCR results are usually negative after antibiotic treatment ( 73 ), suggesting that joint swelling may persist after complete or nearly complete eradication of the spirochete from the joint with antibiotic therapy.
To explain this course, it has been hypothesized that these patients may have persistent infection or infection-induced autoimmunity ( 74 ). In support of the persistent-infection hypothesis, ex vivo–infected synovial cells contained B. burgdorferi in the cytosol ( 75 ), a site that might be protected from antibiotics. However, spirochetes have not been seen in intracellular locations in situ in human or mouse synovia ( 45 ). Moreover, PCR results for B. burgdorferi DNA were negative in synovial tissue in all 26 patients with treatment-resistant arthritis who underwent arthroscopic synovectomy a median of 7 months after the completion of antibiotic therapy ( 76 ). This methodology may be insufficient to identify rare spirochetes and would not detect retained spirochetal antigens.
In support of the autoimmunity hypothesis, treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis is associated with HLA-DRB1*0401, 0101, and other related alleles ( 77 ), and with cellular and humoral immune responses to OspA of B. burgdorferi ( 78 , S56–S58 ). In an epitope-mapping study, 15 of 16 treatment-resistant patients had T cell reactivity with the OspA165–173 epitope, the immunodominant epitope presented by the DRB1*0401 or 0101 molecule, compared with only one of five treatment-responsive patients ( 78 ). One homolog of this epitope, human lymphocyte function–associated antigen 1αL332–340 (LFA-1αL332–340), acted as a weak, partial agonist for OspA165–173-reactive T cells in DRB1*0401-positive patients ( 79 , 80 ), but the LFA-1 peptide did not bind the 0101 molecule ( 77 ), which suggests that the LFA-1 peptide is unlikely to be a relevant autoantigen. Although the pathogenesis of this syndrome is incompletely delineated, future technologies may allow the identification of spirochetal components or a relevant autoantigen, or both, in the synovia of these patients.
Post–Lyme disease syndrome. A small percentage of patients with well-documented Lyme disease may develop disabling musculoskeletal pain, neurocognitive symptoms, or fatigue along with or soon after symptoms of the infection (S59–S62 ). This post–Lyme disease syndrome, or chronic Lyme disease (the terms are used interchangeably), which is similar to chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, persists for months or years after standard antibiotic treatment of the infection. In a study of such patients who then received intravenous ceftriaxone for 30 days followed by oral doxycycline for 60 days, or intravenous or oral placebo preparations for the same duration, no significant differences were found between the groups in the percentage of patients who said that their symptoms had improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same ( 81 ). Therefore, it is hypothesized that B. burgdorferi may trigger immunologic or neurohormonal processes in the brain that cause persistent pain, neurocognitive, or fatigue symptoms, despite spirochetal killing with antibiotic therapy ( 82 ). Among B. burgdorferi–infected patients, a prior history of depression or anxiety seems to be a risk factor for the development of chronic Lyme disease ( 83 ).
A counterculture has emerged regarding chronic Lyme disease ( 84 ). In contrast with the findings of evidence-based medicine, some people believe that the tests for Lyme disease are often inaccurately negative, and that antibiotic therapy is necessary for months or years to suppress the symptoms of this often incurable illness. A number of investigators at academic medical centers have reported series of patients referred for chronic Lyme disease in which the majority of patients had pain or fatigue syndromes with little or no evidence of past or present B. burgdorferi infection ( 85 – 87 ). Prolonged antibiotic therapy may be harmful. In studies of patients with unsubstantiated Lyme disease, minor side effects were common ( 86 ), prolonged ceftriaxone therapy sometimes resulted in biliary complications ( 88 ), and in one reported case, the prolonged administration of cefotaxime resulted in death ( 89 ). Furthermore, prolonged use of antibiotics was recently associated with an increased risk of breast cancer ( 90 ). Although antibiotic use may not be causally related to cancer, this observation reinforces the advisability of prudent use of antibiotics.
Algorithms for the diagnosis and treatment of early or late Lyme disease are presented in Figures 4 and 5. Except in those with active EM, the diagnosis is usually based on the recognition of a characteristic clinical picture (S63 ) and a positive antibody response to B. burgdorferi by whole-cell sonicate ELISA and Western blot, interpreted according to the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (S64 ). Evidence-based treatment recommendations are incorporated from those presented by the Infectious Disease Society of America ( 91 ).
An algorithm for the diagnosis and treatment of the early events surrounding Lyme disease in the summer months. Serologic testing for Lyme disease has limited utility during the first 1 or 2 weeks of infection, and early treatment, without serologic testing, is recommended. If serologic testing is done, acute and convalescent samples should be obtained. GI, gastrointestinal.
An algorithm for the diagnosis and treatment of late organ-system involvement in Lyme disease. By the time that organ-system involvement is present, which is at least several weeks after the onset of infection, almost all patients have a positive IgG response to B. burgdorferi. Depending on the manifestation, treatment with either oral or intravenous antibiotic therapy is recommended.
Every summer, the lay public and physicians in endemic areas deal with the early events surrounding Lyme disease, including tick bites, early infection, and coinfection (Figure 4). Since 24–72 hours of tick attachment is necessary before transmission of the spirochete occurs, removal of the tick within 24 hours of attachment is usually sufficient to prevent Lyme disease ( 54 , S65, S66 ). If an engorged nymphal I. scapularis tick is found, a single, 200-mg dose of doxycycline usually prevents the infection ( 92 ). Serologic tests are insensitive during the first 1 or 2 weeks of infection and depend largely on detection of a positive IgM response, which may still represent a false-positive response ( 63 , S67 ). Because of these limitations, treatment is recommended for 10 to 20 days, without serologic testing, for presumed EM, most commonly with doxycycline in adults or amoxicillin in children ( 93 , S68 ). If serologic testing is done, both acute and convalescent samples should be obtained, since most patients have a positive IgM or IgG response by convalescence at the conclusion of antibiotic treatment, and the demonstration of seroconversion provides better serologic support for the diagnosis. Reinfection may occur in patients who are treated with antibiotics early in the illness ( 94 ).
Flu-like illness during summer is a more difficult issue, since most cases are not caused by B. burgdorferi infection. However, if a patient from a highly endemic area has a febrile illness with headache and joint or muscle pain, without respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice, antibiotic treatment may be indicated (Figure 4). For such patients, a second-generation serologic test, an IgG ELISA that uses a peptide in the sixth invariant region of the VlsE lipoprotein of B. burgdorferi, may be valuable, since this test typically becomes positive before five IgG bands are present on Western blot ( 29 , 95 ). Although both babesiosis and anaplasmosis are usually asymptomatic, coinfection should be considered in a patient with more severe flu-like symptoms, including high fever, particularly if the patient is very young or old or asplenic (Figure 4). Fortunately, Lyme disease and anaplasmosis can both be treated with doxycycline. For severe cases of babesiosis, intravenous clindamycin and oral quinine, or oral atovaquone and azithromycin, may be effective (S69 ).
By the time that organ-system involvement is present in Lyme disease, which is at least several weeks after the onset of infection, almost all patients have a positive IgG response to B. burgdorferi ( 63 ) (Figure 5). Objective neurologic abnormalities require treatment with intravenous antibiotic therapy, usually intravenous ceftriaxone (S70 ), with the possible exception of facial palsy alone, without other neurologic manifestations. Lyme arthritis may be treated with either oral or intravenous therapy ( 72 , S70 ), but oral therapy is easier to administer, is associated with fewer side effects, and is considerably less expensive (S71 ). Reinfection has not been reported in patients with the expanded immune response associated with Lyme arthritis.
After antibiotic treatment, antibody titers fall slowly, but IgG and even IgM responses may persist for years ( 96 ), as may the IgG response to the VlsE peptide ( 97 ). Moreover, asymptomatic IgG seroconversion to B. burgdorferi occurs in about 7% of patients in the US ( 98 ). If patients with asymptomatic seroconversion or past infection have symptoms caused by another illness, the danger is to attribute them incorrectly to Lyme disease, and therefore, the clinical picture must always be considered with the serologic result.
If patients with Lyme arthritis have persistent joint inflammation after 2 months of oral antibiotics or 1 month of intravenous antibiotics and the results of PCR testing are negative, we treat them with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or arthroscopic synovectomy. In those with post–Lyme disease syndrome, we follow the guidelines for treating chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia ( 82 ).
Ecological conditions favorable to Lyme disease, the steady increase in the number of cases, and the challenge of prevention predict that the infection will be a continuing public health concern. Personal protection measures, including protective clothing, repellents or acaricides, tick checks, and landscape modifications in or near residential areas, may be helpful ( 99 ). However, these measures are difficult to perform regularly throughout the summer. Attempts to control the infection on a larger scale by the eradication of deer or widespread use of acaricides, which may be effective, have had limited public acceptance ( 99 ). New methods of tick control, including host-targeted acaricides against rodents and deer, are being developed and may provide help in the future.
In the 1990s, recombinant OspA vaccines were developed and shown to be safe and effective for the prevention of Lyme disease in the US ( 20 , S72, S73 ). Although one of the vaccines was licensed commercially, its acceptance by the public and by physicians was also limited, and it was withdrawn by the manufacturer in 2002 ( 100 ). Some of the reasons why its acceptance was limited included the low risk of Lyme disease in most parts of the country, the need for booster injections every year or every other year, and the relatively high cost of this preventive approach compared with antibiotic treatment of early infection (S74, S75 ). In addition, there was a theoretical, though never proven, concern that in rare cases, vaccination might trigger autoimmune arthritis.
For now, control of Lyme disease depends primarily on public and physician education about personal protection measures, signs and symptoms of the disease, and appropriate antibiotic therapy ( 99 ). However, if the risk of the infection continues to increase or if public perceptions change, vaccine development may again become a priority. Experience gained in the last ten years has proven the feasibility of vaccination for the prevention of this complex, tick-transmitted infection.
This work was supported in part by a grant from the NIH (AR20358), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement (CCU110291), the English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation, the Lyme/Arthritis Research Fund, and the Eshe Fund.
Due to space constraints, a number of important references could not be included in this article. Interested readers can find a supplementary reading list at http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/113/8/1093/DC1.
Nonstandard abbreviations used: outer-surface protein (Osp) erythema migrans (EM) linear plasmid (lp) lymphocyte function–associated antigen 1 (LFA-1).
Conflict of interest: The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.
Olney PC-1172 - History
The church stands on the bank of the River Great Ouse and, with its fine spire, dominates the southern approach to the town. It is thought that Olney Church was originally situated at the north end of the town, near the present ‘Amaya’ restaurant, and there is some suggestion that that church was founded in 1018. It is likely to have been on a modest scale.
The greater part of the present church was built in the fourteenth century between c.1330 and 1400, in the ‘Decorated Gothic’ style then in vogue. The finest feature of the church is the spire, which is unusual for Buckinghamshire. Set on a tall tower, it reaches a height of 185 feet. [56.5 m] The tower originally housed a peal of six bells, the oldest of which is dated 1599. See Bells for details.
The church has a slightly unusual appearance due to the fact that the roof of the nave is lower than the roof of the chancel, and of slate rather than tile. This is because the nave was altered in 1807, when the clerestory was demolished and the old roof timbers and lead were sold.
The north aisle was partly rebuilt in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the south aisle was largely rebuilt in 1831. The windows in both aisles display the flowing tracery characteristic of fourteenth century ecclesiastical architecture, although they were much restored, and in some cases replaced, in the nineteenth century.
The church yard has been closed for some years and is under the care of Milton Keynes Council. Among the graves in the south-east corner is the grave of John Newton and his wife Mary (re-interred from St. Mary Woolnoth, London in 1893 when they were clearing the burial grounds).
While it is not necessary to arrange a tour to visit the church, we recommend a formal arrangement be made for larger groups. This will allow us to get a guide to assist you and make the experience more beneficial.
Olney PC-1172 - History
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods and Olney is a neighborhood of cultures. Today Olney is the most diverse of Philadelphia&rsquos neighborhoods and its 5th Street business corridor serves recent immigrants from Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti, and West Africa alongside the African-Americans, Ukrainians, Irish, and Germans who have been here for generations. But Olney was originally a much simpler place.
Olney is at the north end of Philadelphia, bounded by Godfrey Avenue to the north, Roosevelt Boulevard to the south, Tacony Creek to the east, and 7th street to the West.
In the beginning, Philadelphia was only 2 square miles and the area that is now Olney, about 7 miles to the north, was wilderness. Immigrants carved out farms to serve the needs of the growing city. As the city became more populated, many wealthy residents built country homes in the areas around the city to escape the heat and fevers of summer. In 1840, Alexander Wilson built his estate near Tacony Creek at what is now Olney Avenue and Westford Street, just east of Rising Sun. Wilson was an admirer of William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper"), a British poet who lived in Olney, England, and he named his estate Olney, which became the name of the neighborhood. Cowper is most famous for The Olney Hymns, a collection of over 300 hymns written by Cowper and his good friend, John Newton. The collection, published in 1779, includes Amazing Grace, written by Newton after Cowper succumbed to the depression that ended his creative career.
- In the 1930s, Olney High School had about 3600 students, the highest enrollment in the city. One graduate, Del Ennis, was a successful outfielder for the Phillies.
With the Act of Consolidation in 1854, the city went from 2 square miles to almost 130 and Olney became part of Philadelphia proper. It remained a quiet, rural area until the 20th century. At that time, industry began to move north and by the 1920's, large factories such as Heintz Manufacturing and Brown Instrument were attracting workers to the area. Many of the German and Irish immigrants who had come to work in the factories of Frankford, Port Richmond, and Kensington moved north in search of space and clean air. New schools, a branch library, a thriving business district, and Fisher Park, donated to the city by Joseph Wharton, attracted more residents.
The Olney Transportation Center, constructed in 1928, was the northern-most stop on the Broad Street Line until 1956. It is still the second most frequented station on the line, after City Hall.
In the 1960s, factories began to close and the skilled workers of Olney left to find other jobs. The resulting drop in housing prices became an opportunity for others to move in and build the vibrant community we see today.
Thomas Olney, Sr
Thomas Olney, born in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, which city formed a part of St. Alban Parish, the seat of one of the most ancient monasteries and long celebrated in English history as the center of spiritual influence. Of his early life we know nothing.
He received a "Permit to Emigrate to New England" April 2, 1635 and came to Salem, Massachusetts by the ship Planter. He was appointed surveyor in January 1636, and granted 40 acres of land at Jeffrey Creek, now known as Manchester, near Salem. He was made freeman the same year and early associated with Roger Williams. With a number of others, he was excluded from the colony. They formed a new settlement at the head of Naragansett Bay which they named Providence in grateful remembrance of their deliverance from their enemies. They thus became the "Original 13 Proprietors of Providence" having purchased their rights from the Indians. In July 1639, he and his wife and their companions were excluded from the church at Salem, "because they wholly refused to hear the church, denying it, and were re-baptized."
His prominence in the Colony is shown by the various duties he was called to perform:
- In 1638, he was chosen the first treasurer.
- In 1647, was chosen to form a town government.
- In 1648, was chosen assistant for Providence and held the office continuously until 1663.
- In 1665 with Roger Williams and Thomas Harris, he was chosen a judge of the Justices Court.
- In 1656 was chosen to treat with Massachusetts Bay about the Pawtuxet lands.
- In 1663, the name appears among the grantees of the Royal Charter of Charles II.
He was one of the founders of the First Baptist Church in Providence, and at one time acted as pastor. He was the leader of a schism in the church upon the question of "laying on of hands" about 1652-1654.
He was evidently a man of stern and decided opinion, who did not hesitate to advance his views among his neighbors. Of him, in his occupation as surveyor, it is said, "as he entered upon the surrounding lands with his field book, chain, and compass, and mystic words, with the peculiar dignity of official characters of that day, he may well have inspired the Indians with profound awe, and led them to feel that no Indian could henceforth dwell upon that part of their tribal property again."
Marriage 1 Marie ASHTON b: ABT 25 AUG 1605 in St. Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire, England
Entries: 207855 Updated: 2009-06-14 22:39:44 UTC (Sun) Contact: Douglas
- ID: I39021
- Name: Thomas OLNEY
- Given Name: Thomas
- Surname: OLNEY
- Sex: M
- _UID: 0F3C8643EF86EE489892DB70AABA7D90A569
- Change Date: 14 SEP 2001
- Name: Page 1
- Name: Page 2
- Birth: 6 JUN 1600 in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
- Death: 1682
- _SDATE: 1 JUL 1682 in Providence, Providence Co, RI
- Burial: Providence, Providence Co, RI
Father: Thomas OLNEY b: ABT 1574 in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England
Mother: Mary SMALL b: 1576 in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England
Marriage 1 Marie (Mary) ASHTON b: BEF 25 AUG 1605 in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England c: 25 AUG 1605 in St. Albans Abbey, Hertsfordshire, England
Thomas trained as a tanner/shoemaker in St. Albans. He and his wife formed an attachment to the Baptist Church and wanting to freely follow their religious beliefs, he applied and received a permit to emigrate to New England 2 April 1635. He, his wife and two small children landed at Salem, MA, 7 June 1635 from the ship, "Planter." By 1636 he was a Freeman (able to vote) and had 40 acres of land near the present Manchester, MA. Because of diagreements with the Baptist Church in Boston. He, along with Roger Williams and 11 others established the Rhode Island Colony. He participated in government and with Williams they founded the First Baptist Church in America in Providence. Rev Olney served as acting pastor when Roger Williams retired. In 1638 he was first Treasurer of the Colony 1647 commissioner to form a town government and 1655 a judge of the Justices Court. He was the possessor of a large real and personal estate and occupied one of the better houses in the Plantations. THOMAS OLNEY, one of the Baptists notified to depart from Massachusetts or appear at the next court, was born at St. Albans, Hertford County, England, in 1600, and came to this country in the ship, "Planter," from London, in 1635.
Several years before his departure he married Mary Small, of St. Albans, who, besides two sons, came to America with him. He was a shoemaker by trade, and settled at Salem, Mass.
In 1638, he and several others were licensed to depart from Mass. Not going immediately they were ordered "to appear at the next court (if they be not gone before) to answer such things as shall be objected." They went.
In October of the same year he had settled at Providence, where he was one of the 12 original members of the First Baptist Church, organized in 1639. His former pastor at Salem, in explaining in a letter to a brother pastor the cause of Thomas Olney's expulsion from Salem, wrote: "He wholly refused to hear the church, denying it and all the churches in the Bay to be true churches. The great censure of this, our church, was passed upon him."
At Providence he was twice chosen treasurer of the town, was 6 times appointed commissioner, was 9 times chosen assistant, 4 times deputy, and was for 8 years a member of the town council. His homestead was south of the present state house, Arsenal Lane now running through it. In 1643 he bought land and settled at Warwick. In 1656 he was chosen judge to try cases where the amount involved did not exceed 40 shillings.
Thomas Olney was a first-class surveyor, and it is said that as he entered upon the surrounding lands with his field book, chain and compass, and mystic words, with the peculiar dignity of official characters of that day, he may well have inspired the Indians with profound awe and led them to feel that no Indian could henceforth dwell upon that part of their tribal property again. He died at Providence in 1682.
During the early settlement of New England it was claimed in Connecticut that "if a man was too bad to live with in Massachusetts, they sent him to Rhode Island, and when they found one a little too good, they sent him to Connecticut, while the remainder of tolerable and average orthodoxy and respectability were allowed to remain undisturbed [Thayer and Burton Ancestry, pp. 86-87]. came from England in 1635 From St. Albans, Herefordshire, who came to Massachusetts Bay on the "Planter."
OLNEY – A POTTED HISTORY
Olney, a small market town, is situated at the extreme north of Buckinghamshire, and sits on the banks of the Great Ouse. Two miles to the north of the town is Three Shires Wood, which marks the point where the northern most part of Bucks meets Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire.
Field names for the north end of Olney
Evidence of life in the Olney area goes back to Roman times. A thriving Roman settlement was active to the north of the town in Ash Furlong , a piece of agricultural land to the north-east of Olney (see map).
Subsequent developments in the Olney area were sited at what is now the northern end of the town in the vicinity of Christian Wells (see map). The original church was probably located adjacent to Hoppers Hill, and some believe there was a monastery or castle nearby, though this has yet to be proven. An elm tree (see image) sited opposite the Queen Hotel was known as ‘The Church Elm’, the decaying bottom three metres of the tree was still in evidence during the 1950s.
Sketch of the Church Elm
One of the first written references to Olney was in Saxon times, when it was mentioned in a Charter of 979 AD as Ollanege (‘ege’ was pronounced ‘ey’ meaning Island. Ollanege probably means ‘Ola’s Island’). Before the conquest, Olney belonged to Borgret, a descendant of the King of Mercia. Later, the Vikings came down from the north of England as far as the River Ouse which meant that Olney, being north of the river, came under Danelaw.
Following the Conquest in 1066, Olney, or Olnei, was mentioned in the Domesday Book and it was held by Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances. He was a loyal supporter of King William I (the Conqueror) and was granted lands including Olney. When William died, Geoffrey supported William’s son Robert and lost his lands when William’s other son, William Rufus was crowned. These lands were subsequently given to the Earl of Chester.
By the 13th century Olney had grown from a large village to a planned borough, first mention of which is in 1237. The borough is distinctive, delineated by the High Street, with long burgage plots laid out at right angles and enveloped by the parallel back streets of East and West Street. The town possessed a weekly market and annual fair.
An earlier bridge over the Ouse
During the Civil War between the Royalists and Parliamentarians Olney achieved some minor fame at the Battle of Olney Bridge in 1643. Parliament held Newport Pagnell, and Olney was one of its outposts. Prince Rupert held Northampton for the King and marched on Olney intending to continue on to Newport. Prince Rupert and his troops took the Olney forces by surprise and the Parliamentarians retreated to the bridge where they made a defiant stand.
High St South & Market Place 19C
The Royalists could have won decisively, had it not been for a rumour that Cromwell’s reinforcements were seen coming from Newport. The Royalists retreated and the battle was over.
Olney was on an early drove road. With travel increasing throughout the country in the eighteenth century Olney became a busy coaching town servicing the Kettering to Newport Pagnell Turnpike. In 1754 there were reputed to be twenty-seven inns in the town, catering for the coaching trade as well as for the locals.
In the 18th century Olney became associated with its famous residents, the poet William Cowper who lived in Olney from 1767 to 1786, and John Newton the town’s curate from 1764 to 1780 who is accredited with writing the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ arguably the most popular hymn ever written. During that time both men collaborated to write the ‘Olney Hymns’, and Cowper is acknowledged as producing some of his greatest work.
Illustration of the Market Place c.1830
taken from WC Lyons 1890 Almanac
During the 19th century Olney was always regarded as a relatively poor community and certainly not known for any prosperous enterprises. In particular during this century it was said to be poor and depressed outbreaks of cholera and smallpox did little to improve this image. Nineteenth century census returns indicate that the townsfolk were mainly employed in the poorly paid farming, shoemaking and lace industries or in local retail and construction trades such as butchery, bakery, brewing, carpentry and building.
Olney Railway Station 1911
In 1872 the opening of the Northampton to Bedford railway line together with, a little later, much improved bus services, provided a means of transport for those seeking work in the slightly better paid industries and offices sited in the surrounding larger towns.
The industrialisation of the shoe industry during the second half of the nineteenth century resulted in factories being built in the town. The most notable were those of Hinde and Mann, Cowleys and Drages which arguably initiated the decline of the cottage shoe industry conducted in the workshops attached to many houses throughout the town. The shoe factories themselves declined during the first half of the twentieth century, particularly after WW1, but some smaller concerns did survive in Olney until the 1960’s.
Hinde & Mann Shoe Factory c.1900
Wellingborough Road, Olney
During the second half of the twentieth century, Olney developed substantially as a dormitory development for Milton Keynes. Extensive residential developments to the west of the town all but swamped the existing town which up until then comprised a long, wide, north-south high street, with two back streets (East Street and West Street) and a handful of side streets at its north and south ends. To the credit of local councillors, Olney refused to surrender its identity and today still retains the character and active local life of a small English country town. The High Street and Market Place have remained a focus for the town’s residents, for example: ‘The Olney Pancake Race’ held on Shrove Tuesday and ‘Dickens of a Christmas’ held in December.
Now, in the twenty-first century, the development of Olney is planned to continue as part of government policy for the South East of England. It is to be hoped that its friendly local feel will not be further eroded by disproportionate expansion.
You've only scratched the surface of Olney family history.
Between 1944 and 2004, in the United States, Olney life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1991. The average life expectancy for Olney in 1944 was 24, and 78 in 2004.
An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Olney ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.