DAVID G. SELLARS ON THE WATERFRONT: Alaskan tour boat repaired in Port Angeles yard
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The Lu-Lu Belle sits on blocks last week at the Port Angeles Boat Yard. -- Photo by David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The Saint Judge spends some time on the boatyard hard.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Capt. Marty Marchant, Platypus’ new director of sales and marketing.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
The Kamilar is shown in Platypus Marine's TraveLift slings.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist

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Lu-Lu Belle SPENT much of the week on the hard at the Port Angeles Boat Yard.

The 75-foot boat is owned by Fred and Megan Rodolf of Port Angeles.

Every year since 1979, Lu-Lu Belle has taken guests on wilderness cruises around Alaska’s Prince William Sound that include close-up peeks at the terminus of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

In the warmer winter climes of Port Angeles, Fred hauls the tour boat out of the water every year for maintenance, which includes new bottom paint and zincs this year.

He also had Kruger and Sons of Seattle rebuild a pair of stainless-steel props.

The haul-out also provides the Coast Guard an opportunity to conduct a hull inspection.

In addition to verifying the hull’s soundness, the inspectors will scrutinize the vessel’s shafts, bearings and through-hull fittings.

Back in the water, the Coast Guard will come back to inspect the topside spaces, assure there is the requisite safety gear on board and that electronic and mechanical systems are operating appropriately.

Dan “Commander” Schmid, who oversees the boatyard and operates the 70 ton TraveLift, said Lu-Lu Belle is the longest boat boatyard personnel have ever hauled out using the big lift.

He noted that the boat is 20 feet wide near amidships, and the TraveLift at best is just a bit wider than 19 feet.

Despite her girth, she fit nicely between the towers of the TraveLift, Dan said, and came out of the water with nary a hiccup.

Fred designed and built Lu-Lu Belle himself.

He purchased a Kelly Hull in Westport, Grays Harbor County, in November 1976, and 10 months later, the vessel was certified by the Coast Guard as a passenger vessel.

In 1978, Lu-Lu Belle was sport fishing out of Westport.

From 1979 through the 1985 season, Fred and Lu-Lu Belle worked for two different Alaskan tour boat operators.

In 1986, Fred and Megan opened Columbia Glacier and Wildlife Tours in Valdez, Alaska.

In 1982, Lu-Lu Belle was chartered by Washington state to operate as a passenger ferry between Clinton, Whidbey Island, and Mukilteo.

The state ferry system was rebuilding its dock, and for two months, the tour boat made 28 crossings a day on the ferry run that had the highest volume in the entire state ferry system.

Flashing forward, Fred, Megan and Lu-Lu Belle will be heading north to Alaska on
May 1 and should arrive around mid-month.

They’ll spend a week or so getting the office and its surroundings in shape for the tourist season, which begins for them on Memorial Day weekend.

For more information about Columbia Glacier and Wildlife Tours — including how Lu-Lu Belle came by her name — visit the Rodolfs’ website at www.lulubelletours.com.

Quick boatyard visit

Saint Jude also is on the hard in the Port Angeles Boat Yard.

She is a 46-foot commercial fishing boat that is probably back in the water by today.

Allan and Karla Richardson of Sequim own the boat that is used to troll for salmon and long-line for tuna.

Allan said the aluminum boat was out of the water so that he could paint the bottom, replace some zincs and have the struts repaired.

I asked him how the struts got damaged, and he mumbled something unintelligible about running aground — so we abandoned that conversation and moved on to how the boat got her name.

Allan said Saint Jude was built in the late 1980s by Bill Redding in Bow, Skagit County, for Virgil Hennen, who now lives in Friday Harbor.

Prior to World War II, Virgil’s home was an orphanage in Texas that was named St. Jude, the Catholic patron saint of lost causes.

It’s to St. Jude to whom many pray when all hope is lost.

Platypus changes

Recently Platypus Marine Inc., the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, returned Kamilar to the water after a brief sojourn on the hard.

According to Capt. Marty Marchant, Platypus’ new director of sales and marketing, the 66-foot commercial fishing boat that hails from Petersburg, Alaska, was at Platypus to have a transducer replaced, the rudder repaired and her bottom painted.

For those of you familiar with Capt. Charlie Crane, the former Platypus sales and marketing director who has been a fixture in this column for many years, Charlie has moved on to another chapter in his life.

Marty comes to Platypus after a five-year hiatus away from the water working with Warren Taylor of Taylor Made Construction building custom homes.

Marty is a native of Green Bay, Wis., and a diehard cheese-head.

His grandfather had a 42-foot Egg Harbor, so the Great Lakes was his playground.

Marty began his college career at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and completed it in San Diego at Mesa College with a degree in marketing.

He spent the summer following his graduation as a crew member aboard a yacht doing the cooking and cleaning.

When the yacht returned to San Diego, Marty made the decision to fashion a career for himself in the yachting industry.

By 1993, he was working aboard Evviva, a 161-foot yacht that was built by Admiral Marine in Port Townsend, and obtained his captain’s license in 1995.

For the next few years, Marty was a delivery captain for Palmer Johnson, ferrying yachts from Wisconsin to Florida, a journey that would take about three weeks.

He also made a few trips to Europe for the company and delivered a couple of Fedships across the pond.

In 2000, Marty signed on as the service yard manager for Palmer Johnson at its facility in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Westport Shipyard’s sales office came calling in 2003, and he made the move to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to head up the client-services department and was relocated by the company to Port Angeles.

Marty subsequently left Westport Shipyard to work in the construction industry, but he did not drift far from his roots.

He continued to make an occasional yacht delivery, which enabled him to remain a small part of an industry that he first got a taste of as a child aboard his grandfather’s Egg Harbor on Lake Michigan.

It’s an industry that he could not stay away from.

Port Angeles Harbor watch

Tesoro Petroleum last Sunday bunkered the articulated tug and barge Ocean Reliance.

The duo’s combined length is 639 feet with a load capacity of more than 6 million gallons of refined petroleum products.

Then Thursday, Tesoro refueled Commitment, an even-longer articulated tug and barge.

She measures 717 feet in length with a cargo capacity exceeding 7 million gallons.


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

Items involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.

Email dgsellars@hotmail.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.

His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday..

Last modified: March 30. 2013 6:30PM
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