ON THE WATERFRONT: Saint Nicholas’ traditional maritime roots

OL’ SAINT NICK will make his presence known in the next couple of days.

Saint Nicholas was an early Christian bishop with a penchant for secret gift-giving, which gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

Legend has it that Saint Nicholas once visited the Holy Land. The ship he was on was nearly destroyed by a terrible storm but he calmed the waves, causing the storm to subside.

Because of this miracle, Nicholas became celebrated as the patron saint of sailors.

Santa Claus evolved from Dutch traditions regarding Saint Nicholas.

The Dutch know him as Sinterklaas and he arrives in the Netherlands by ship on Dec. 5 each year.

When the Dutch established the colony of New Amsterdam, now New York, they brought the legend and traditions of Sinterklaas with them.

In the harbor

Last week the 121-foot tug, Richard O, brought two laden barges into port to await the seas to calm from the storm that had most of us hunkered down.

The barges were loaded with limestone from an Alaskan source and were ultimately delivered to their consignee in Portland, Ore.

Wednesday, longshoremen loaded two Ledcor Barges at the Port of Port of Angeles’ terminal 3 with chips from Interfor that were exported to the west coast chip plant of Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Corporation in Howe Sound, B.C., which is northeast of Vancouver.

Cable Innovator moored to the Port of Port Angeles’ Terminal 1 on Wednesday and will be there until about Jan. 18.

The vessel is flagged in the United Kingdom and is permanently stationed in Victoria, B.C.

The vessel’s owners have a contract with a number of telecommunications companies to maintain their fiber optic cables that stretch from the west coast to Asia along the ocean floor.

When there is an issue with a cable, the vessel is required to respond immediately.

Because the vessel is manned by a predominately British crew, the ship is required to periodically leave its berth in Victoria and head out to sea for a brief period of time to comply with Canada’s immigration laws.

Recently Luzon Strait, a 575-foot cargo ship with a load of logs was damaged in rough seas off the northern reaches of Vancouver Island while underway to Lanshan, China.

About six of her stanchions were bent, apparently under the strain of a shifting load.

The vessel was able to make it to the Port of Prince Rupert, B.C., where it is at anchorage as of this writing.

Luzon Strait is no stranger to Port Angeles; she has in the past been to the ports’ terminals for logs.

Monday, Tesoro provided bunkers to Odysseus, a 751-foot bulk cargo ship flagged in the Marshall Islands.

Wednesday, Tesoro refueled Ultra Agility, a 656-foot bulk cargo ship flagged in the Marshall Islands.

Friday, Tesoro bunkered Bulk Guatemala, a Panamanian-flagged bulk cargo ship that is 656 feet long.

Saturday, the Tug Brian S had Tesoro’s refueling barge alongside Nautical Elisabeth, transferring bunkers to the bulk cargo ship’s fuel tanks.


David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain’s mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area’s waterfronts and boat yards.

Items and questions involving boating, marina and industrial activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. News announcements about boating groups, including yacht clubs and squadrons, are welcome as well.

Email [email protected] or phone him at 360-808-3202.

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