Pumps and Bullets (!)*

Saturday didn’t start out very well.

I left my ditty bag at the bus stop on the way down to the ship. Fortunately, I realized it almost immediately and got off at the next stop. I would have been really bummed if it had disappeared.

I caught the next bus and made it to the harbor about 20 minutes later than usual. When I got to the pier, I spoke to the fellow who is in charge of the HMC building regarding the fact that the alarm on the ship had gone off the night before. I was rather concerned when he told me he had found bullet casings (from a .22 caliber firearm, so I’m told)* on the Kulamanu (ex-Rella Mae) side of the pier.

I walked along the pier with him and sure enough, I saw a couple, which I picked up.

bullet casings

(Not sure if this was related to the alarm. We spoke to one of the HECO guards later on, who said he hadn’t noticed anything suspicious.)

Anyway, I noticed that a new rig to haul plywood aboard the ship had been set up. I was rather puzzled by this, since there was a working boom (the one Brush and I put together) already set up slightly aft. Seems like extra work… But hey, whatever. It’s not something I’m involved with.


I walked along the ship’s side of the pier to see if there were any bullet casings. I didn’t notice any.

By that time, Jamie, one of our naval architect friends had arrived for a meeting about the pumping system. There is still some work we have to do, so we wanted to discuss the plan for the rest of the system. Paul arrived a little while later to complete the triumvirate. We ran one of the pumps and discussed our options and priorities.

It was a good meeting and I’m rather pumped up (ha ha) to finish the work.

After Jamie and Paul left, I did a few minor things. I’ve not been feeling well, so I wanted to take it easy.

Nothing appeared to be out of place, which was good considering the problems we’ve had with intruders.

I removed the baubles from the bow and stern:

bucket of baubles

I found it interesting that they were all partially filled with water. They have small openings at the tops, but I would never have guessed that rain water would find its way inside.

Rotten wood around margin of fo’c’sle head:

rotten wood deck margin

Some of the plywood in place:

plywood over old deck

I decided to leave early to go home and get some rest.

*ETA: I’ve been informed that they are not bullet casings after all. Whew! That’s a relief.

Galapagos Expedition Talk at Pier 7

Mark your calendars for this talk by Dr. Matthew James, sponsored by the Friends of Falls of Clyde:

Dr James Talk flyer

Humpback Whales in the Harbor – Follow Up

I managed to get down to Honolulu Harbor in time to catch a glimpse of the two humpback whales before they left. I’ve seen whales out at sea, but never expected to see them in the harbor.

When I arrived at Pier 7, Thomas C was just turning in the basin. I took a photo for my ship archive. I didn’t realize I captured a whale as well (at right, just beyond the stern of the ship)!

Thomas C and whale

The Navatek I happened to be leaving at that time.

Navatek leaving

For some reason, the whales really liked the ship! They swam up to her and surfaced right at her bow, just off Pier 7.

Navatek and whale

whales just off Pier 7

The crowd at the corner of Piers 8/9:

whale watching

After having a look at the Star of Honolulu, the whales followed the Navatek I out of the harbor. Yay!

whale and Star

whale following Navatek

Navatek leaving with whale

The passengers on Navatek I certainly got their money’s worth today.

Mikioi and Tira Lani passing by Lurline:

Mikioi and Tira Lani

I saw a photo, taken earlier in the day, of the whales in the water between the Star of Honolulu and FOC. Wish I had been there at the time!

Catching Up

Real life has been keeping me busy, so I wasn’t able to write an entry for last weekend. Time to catch up!

There was some excitement at the ship last Saturday. When I arrived in the morning, it was clear that there had been trespassers on the ship. It seems that they went aboard some time after the concert at Aloha Tower Marketplace. I called the Tower and the Harbor Police were dispatched to the ship. I spoke to the officers and filled out a report. Fortunately, no damage seemed to be done.

That pretty much disrupted my plans for the day. I decided to leave the ship earlier than I normally do and return the following day.

Sunday proved to be a better day. Since the weather has been more moderate lately, it was quite pleasant sitting on the deck in the salon and working on my chafing gear project. As you can see, it’s the same design as the previous one.

chafing gear in progress

Fast forward to yesterday. I spent most of the day on the ship with the naval architect who is advising us. One thing he is working on is updating the drawings of the ship. It’s quite exciting to see what he has done so far. The new drawings will be a great tool for the organization on so many different levels. We also discussed photo documentation of the ship and have started developing a system for recording information.

tween deck detail

We spent some time in the pump room again. I find the area really interesting. I just wish it was in better condition for exploring on my own (two people required for safety reasons).

Base of foremast:

base of foremast

Looking up through hatchway:

sky from pump room

One thing that is interesting is the acoustics. Contrary to what one may think, some sounds from outside are magnified. Voices and noises from the Star of Honolulu sometimes seem as if they are coming from inside the hull of the Falls.

There was a sparrow perched on the wire rope stay (just visible as a small blip in the photo above), directly above the hatchway. Its chirps were quite loud. Before I actually saw it, I wondered where it was because it sounded like it was only few feet from where I was standing. Weird.

A break for lunch at Gordon Biersch. Two of the crew members from Hakurei Maru No. 2, which had arrived earlier in the morning, were on the pier operating radio controlled cars. (Sorry, no photo.)

On the way back from the Marketplace, we were discussing the trim of the ship when I spotted this young wedge-tailed shearwater in a drainage area on the pier near the ship:

young shearwater

(Sorry about the crappy cell phone pic. The good camera was on the ship.)

handle with care

We picked him up, put him in a box, and took him to the Humane Society.

A Place in the History of Hawai‘i

Most local people do not give cargo ships much thought, until there is a strike (oh no…time to stockpile rice and toilet paper) or a shipping rate increase (ugh…higher prices).

It is no surprise then, that when I “talk story” with folk who show an interest in the Falls of Clyde, I often find that they are not aware of the role the ship played during her days as one of Captain William Matson’s original fleet. They are surprised to learn “that old, rusty ship” once carried cargo to Hawai‘i, as her “great-granddaughters” of Matson’s fleet do today.

Time was when the Falls of Clyde was spoken of in much different terms than she is now.

From the 23 August 1899 edition of the San Francisco Call:

“The big four-masted bark Falls of Clyde will sail to-morrow for Hilo with one of the largest cargoes ever taken to that port. It is not so many years ago since the brig Lurline was considered too big for that trade, and now the big Falls of Clyde cannot carry all the freight offering. The big ship has been luxuriously fitted out for the trade. Cabins and a dining saloon have been built on deck, a steam winch and a donkey engine added to her equipment and other improvements made that make the Falls of Clyde one of the finest vessels in the Hawaiian trade.”

Big. One of the finest.

And what of her cargo? Again, from the San Francisco Call (19 Dec 1902):

“The ship Falls of Clyde sailed yesterday for Hilo with an assorted merchandise cargo, valued at $48,534 and including the following: 40 bbls flour, 2484 ctls barley, 10 ctls wheat, 20,621 lbs bran, 1029 lbs corn, 17,231 lbs middlings, 2590 bales hay, 836,017 lbs fertilizer, 531 lbs bread, 750 lbs salt, 15,000 lbs rice, 447 lbs shrimps, 480 lbs coffee, 268 lbs mill stuffs, 710 lbs sugar, 33 pkgs groceries and provisions, 53 cs canned goods, 25 bbls salt and 25 cs canned salmon, 87 pkgs potatoes and onions, 80 bxs fresh fruit, 1142 gals wine, 120 casks bottled beer, 6 pkgs drugs, 28 pkgs machinery, 200 cs coal oil, 58 pkgs wagon material, 50 bbls lime, 12 pkgs bicycles and sundries, 67 kegs nails, 88 pkgs paper, 3250 gals linseed oil, 35 crts sewing machines, 5 cs shoes, 1000 lbs tobacco, 205 tons coal, 8 horses and 6 mules.”

Note: Based on figures from 2009, the relative worth of $48,534 from 1902 is $1,250,000 (using the Consumer Price Index). Converted using tools at Measuring Worth

If you find yourself at Honolulu Harbor by Pier 7, try to imagine the Falls of Clyde as she once was and think of what she can be again.


I thought of her sailing, so hopeful and proud,
The dawn on her sails like a mountain of cloud;
I thought of her battles, none stouter than she,
With the strength and the rage of her rival the sea.

The Ould Has-Been
Cicely Fox Smith

FOC sailing

Photo courtesy of Friends of Falls of Clyde

Creature Cloud

Another interesting sight at Pier 7…

Headed home (yesterday) after a long day on the Falls of Clyde, I noticed that the water around the ship looked a little odd. It was full of what seemed like some sort of zooplankton…two whitish features surrounded by a gelatinous body.

The photo below isn’t the greatest, but it gives you some idea of what they looked like viewed from the pier.


Close up of a specimen caught in a glass:

creature close up

My best guess…some sort of pteropod?

If you know what they are, please ID in comments. Mahalo!