episode 6

Aground

Episode 6

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Explore + Engage

Ephemera Harry P. Cain
Tacoma's Mayor (1940)
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Audio Transcript - Episode 6

Aground

MP3 - Mollie Satko

Aground

Paul: Well the most embarrassing part of it was that we only got four and half miles from our starting point, there was quite a little blow and I wasn't making any headway so I decided to pull up to some pilings there by Vashon Island and tied up for the night. I was only four and a half miles from Point Defiance where I'd started but I was fortunate enough to leave the entire crowd and no-one knew just where I was at that time.

Next day the barometer was low—an indication we were going to have a storm—although nothing happened so I decided to get underway, Seattle not being so far. I didn't go but a few miles, I rounded Port Robinson before I ran into a good squall. And at that time my reduction gear wasn't in very good shape so we battered around on the sea quite a bit right on the second day. That day we tied up to piling again on Vashon Island.

Third day I resumed the trip to Seattle. Naturally the wife came up to the pilot house, it being so foggy—why she was a little uneasy about being so far away from land—couldn't see any land. Well I pulled up a little closer then I should I had a sand bar there on my chart but not being able to judge distance I thought I was further away from shore than what I was. Until after a while I discovered I didn't have any headway. I looked overboard and I only found out I was standing still, I was in the sand, tide fast going out and now in only two feet of water when I needed four.

The Ark bobbed about like a cork and kept turning around before it grounded. Satko said he was headed for Lake Union at Seattle, but got on the wrong side of the channel light and went aground. He waved aside the coast guard's suggestions that he anchor his frail craft so it would not drift nearer shore when the tide started coming in. 'I don't need their help,' Satko said. 'We're all right.'

Seattle Times, April 23, 1940 At first he spurned assistance, but after five hours he accepted a tow from a coast guard boat and the Ark was pulled free. The rescue craft escorted him past West Point lighthouse and the high-decked Ark, powered by an old automobile engine, plodded off northward into a drizzle of rain.

TNT, April 24, 1940 'I pulled into Lake Union in Seattle, and then of course I ran into some REAL trouble.'