Friday, February 08, 2008

Tug Telco, National Maritime Museum, San Franciso

Dave and Connie visited the National Maritime Museum on the Hyde Street Wharf, next to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco and saw this retired tug boat.


Dec. 2, 2009 I just received the following email referencing this picture:

I came across your picture of Tug Telco on the web. I was one of the pilots from 1973 to 1978. Our primary function was to set anchors for the Pacific Telephone cable barge. We had approximately 186 miles of submarine cable throughout the bay. I spent 4 years in the Navy as, ironically, an airdale, but I knew port and starboard and could tie a squareknot. The captain of the barge was a man named Ralph Budke who pretty much ran it from 1946 to 1984. Ralph was a survivor of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. He was a Chief Boatswain's Mate when he was discharged. His seamanship was exemplary and unquestionable. The tug was not very shipshape when I started driving it. A coworker named Mike Murphy spent about 6 months bringing the wood and brass into shape. It also had the privilege of being hauled out every 2 years to remove barnacles. It was powered by a 3208 Cat diesel and could go about 16 knots which would scare the hell out of you. We had splice points at each of the bridges and islands. When we cleaned it up we painted the stack with the blue and gold bell logo which would really confuse people, trying to figure out what a phone company was doing with a tug. When training, we would go to Angel Island or Tiberon and have lunch. Pretty good duty, huh? By 1984 fiber optics had replace all the undersea crossings and the need for a barge and tug was over. Pacific Telesis sold the barge to Pacific Salvage and the tug was donated to the Maritime Museum. Over the years I have spoken to the rangers about what the tug did and they asked me to be a docent. I live near Lake Tahoe and it would be hard for me to be there very often... Sorry for rambling on. Paul Tomasello

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