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Captain’s Log: Interesting Ships

Sailing around the world you come across some interesting ships. Ketchikan is no exception and so here are two.

First is an old light vessel that currently goes by the name Marine Bio Researcher. She used to be the LV196 and marked Umatilla Reef of the Oregon Coast from 1961 to 1971. She was built in Michigan in 1946. She lies just north of Ketchikan Airport on the Gravina Island shore and has been home to loggers for the last few years. Obviously the maintenance is lagging behind just a bit, which is a shame for a vessel with such a storied past as can be found on this website (click here).


The name Umatilla peeked my interest. Umatilla is the name of a small town, not far from where I live in Florida. It is not a very common name and I always thought it was somehow associated with the Indians in Florida. It was founded in 1856 by a Nathan Trowell.

It turns out it is indeed an Indian name but it is of Oregon origin where the Umatilla Indian tribe resides and means “rippling water over sand” or “laughing waters.” The tribe has been living on a reservation since 1855.

An interesting coincidence in the dates but I could not find a link. Perhaps Mr. Trowell read it in the newspaper. Who knows? A mystery I intend to explore further.

The other vessel is of more recent vintage.

I spotted the Rudyerd Bay coming by this morning. It is an oil spill response vessel and here it is seen practicing with its boom out. There is also a boom on the other side for a near 45’ sweep width.

Rudyerd Bay, the ship.

These purpose-built vessels are stationed in various ports in Alaska and are ready to spring into action when needed. Hopefully that is never. The vessel is named after beautiful Rudyard Bay, a pristine area in Misty Fjords just south of Ketchikan.

Beautiful Rudyerd Bay in Alaska.

Beautiful Rudyerd Bay in Alaska.

Best Regards,
Captain Werner Timmers
Master ms Zuiderdam

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