Classic Wooden Boat Charm
M.V. Pacific Catalyst II is an historic wooden vessel… relic of a time when crafstmanship was the rule, not the exception. She has decades-old varnished wood paneling, heavy beamed ceilings and glowing mahogany trim and furniture. The slow pulse of her original 1932 Washington Diesel engine, the only one like it in the world, makes Catalyst a living creature, with a strong iron heart.
She was the University of Washington’s first oceanographic research vessel. In 1932 Thomas G. Thompson began a personal crusade to establish a school of oceanography at the university. With the help of a $60,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, he started both the school and the construction of Catalyst. The Catalyst launched as the most state-of-the-art research vessel of her time. She was completed in June of 1932 and took her maiden cruise through the Inside Passage and across the Gulf of Alaska.
During WWII the Navy conscripted the vessel, mounted a machine gun on top of her pilot house and racks of depth charges on her stern. She spent the war years patrolling the Aleutian Islands for Japanese submarines.
The Pacific Catalyst was built to last, constructed of white oak, Alaskan yellow cedar, Douglas fir, teak and Australian ironwood. After the war, the Catalyst was handsomely refit. Over the next forty years, she was used for everything from delivering mail to mining supplies, to being used as a floating dentist’s office. As a floating marine laboratory, she won national acclaim: more importantly, she touched the lives of all who knew her and continues to do so today.
My husband and I are in the group of folks whose lives have been touched by the Catalyst. Passage aboard was booked in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary. We thoroughly enjoyed our exploration of the San Juan Islands aboard this magnificent old beauty of a boat… an expedition never to be forgotten.
This week’s photo challenge is: “Relic”
Resource for Catalyst background; history text cut from: http://www.pacificcatalyst.com/index.htm