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John Steinbeck, the Western Flyer, and the Port Townsend Boat Yard

John Steinbeck Western Flyer - Port Townsend Boat Yard
Joyce and I spent a few days in Port Townsend, a cool little town on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. There’s a big boat yard there, and while Joyce was off doing some shopping, I decided to go poke through it. Strangely, it’s not gated at all, and there are all sorts of strange looking boats and ships propped up on blocks. One that caught my eye was this old fishing boat that looked like it had been under water for some time. As I was photographing it, a woman came up to me and asked me if this was John Steinbeck’s ship? I had no ida, but that night I googled it, and it turns out this was the f/v Western flyer, the boat that became the basis for The Log of the Sea of Cortez. It had just been raised, and was sitting on blocks in the boat yard, Amazing the things you see.

John Steinbeck Western Flyer - Port Townsend Boat Yard

John Steinbeck Western Flyer - Port Townsend Boat Yard

John Steinbeck Western Flyer - Port Townsend Boat Yard
The USS Canonchet, a US Navy harbour tug in for a re-fit.

John Steinbeck Western Flyer - Port Townsend Boat Yard
The Sam M

Tech Stuff
While not technically architecture, once you get these boats up on blocks, they’re about the size of a three story apartment block. I used the same 28mm PC lens as I did for the Fort Worden photos.

A good way to check if your lines are straight is when you have the photo open in Photoshop, grab a guide, which is a blue reference line you overlay on the photo without it showing up in the final image. You get it by clicking on the ruler on either left of top of the frame, and dragging the guide onto the image. If it lines up with the vertical lines, like one of the ship’s masts or aerials, then you’re good to go. if not, then you’re heading back for a re-shoot.

Camera: Nikon D3
Lens: PC-Nikkor 28mm f/3.5, Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8
Tripod: Gitzo 340 with a Really Right Stuff quick release.





Port Townsend Boat Yard – John Steinbeck – Olympic Peninsula