Ketchikan History: “We lost our fishing tackle, but saved the boat and motor.”

Blank Islands, Ketchikan, Maps
Copyright: Microsoft Bing Maps

Works Cited: Waterfield, Neville Abbott. “We’re just grateful to be alive.” The Alaska Sportsman. November 1954, Page 26.

“We’re just grateful to be alive,” declared James Poor of Westport, Washington, after he and Mrs. Poor were rescued from their sinking skiff near Ketchikan July 18. The Poors set out in a twelve-foot skiff with a ten-horsepower Johnson outboard motor for an evening’s salmon fishing. Not far from Blank Island the skiff swampted — “Probably because it was overpowered,” Poor said. The boat went down at the stern, but enough air remained in the bow to keep it floating perpendicularly. A cork life preserver stored in the bow also added bouancy. Mrs. Poor came to the survace fifteen feet away, and though not a strong swimmer, was ablt to reach the bow with the aid of an oard her husband held out to her. The two clung to the bow for two hours and fifteen minues as the boat sank deeper into the water. “We could hear water gurgling into the air space,” Poor said.

Through a narrow pass they could see the troller GM C on the other side of Blank Island, but their cries failed to attract attention. Later they learned that the skipper, Clarence Dudley, was working on the engine. Finally, thinking he heard faint cries, he came on deck and scanned the water through binoculars. Seeing the two heads and the tip of the boaw above survace, he rushed to the rescue and took the exhaused couple aboard. “My wife was beginning to black out,” Poor said, “and the water was getting to feel warm and relaxing to me. We couldn’t have lasted much longer.”

Both recovered from the experience after a few hours’ rest. Mrs. Poor returned home the next day. Her husband, superintendent of the Pacific Pearl crab cannery in Ketchiikan, remained to the end of the season.

“We lost our fishing tackle,” he said, “but saved the boat and motor.”

About the Author

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Hi I’m Nadra Angerman — born in Ketchikan and raised Wrangell. I studied, worked and lived in the Lower 48 for twenty-five years before returning to Alaska. I write about natural resources, economic development and the entrepreneurial spirit. My husband, daughter and I are co-owners of Chinook Shores Lodge, The Inn at Knudson Cove and Pier 25 Boathouse in Ketchikan.

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