On Board Equator
A green eyed spirit inhabits the Schooner Equator.
The 79-foot Schooner, Equator was launched in 1888 and nearly sunk the next year, surviving a tropical cyclone that destroyed American and German warships in Samoa. She worked under sail, then an engine powered by steam in 1897, oil in 1922 and finally diesel in 1941. Equator earned her keep from the islands of the South Pacific to the Alaska salmon canneries, serving as a tugboat out of Seattle in 1915. Robert Louis Stevenson sailed the Gilbert Islands on the Equator, chronicling his experiences in the 1896 book “In the South Seas”. The Equator remained in service until she was abandoned along the jetty at the mouth of the Snohomish River at Everett, Washington.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, efforts were made to salvage and restore the Equator, but the project came to naught when one of the partners died in an airplane crash. The abandoned hull had been pulled up on land near Everett’s 10th Street Boat Launch and Marine Park, where she sits, patiently awaiting her fate.
In early 2002, I found myself near the Equator one morning. The silent sentinel in the photograph kept watch, seemingly molded from the 114 year old wood of the hull.
For more about the Equator, visit the Historic American Engineering Record – Schooner Equator. To see where she rests, visit 48.003891, -122.218056 in your favorite mapping application, although only the roof of the protective shed can be seen from satellite views.