The Polar Bear

What connection is there between a polar bear and Captain LaGasa?

unknown maybe Joe

Captain Good was kind enough to send me yesterday more information about Captain LaGasa he had on his Website.

Warren Pogo Good


Vessel: Polar Bear

Type: Diesel screw

Length: 92 feet

92 tons

Date: 19 July 1935

Ship built in 1926

Location: On a reef off W end of Dry Spruce Island, Kupreanof Strait, near Kodiak.


Event narrative:

Broke up after navigation error by mate caused ship to strand on reef. Crew of 10 taken off by herring boat and transferred to CG cutter Aurora. Capt. Carl E. Anderson stayed with the wreck in the hope of salvaging some of the equipment, but the vessel was finally abandoned as a total loss. The ship was raised for salvage from 17 fathoms by deep sea diver Captain Arthur LaGasa in December 1937. The Polar Bear was formerly named the Margnita and worked out of Juneau under Capt. H.M. Peterson. It was purchased in 1931 by Capt. Charles Madsen, noted Alaska guide and wildlife authority, for the Kodiak Guides’ Association of Alaska. She was placed in service in charge of Capt. Peter Wold, supplying hunting expeditions on the Kenai Peninsula and renamed the Polar Bear.


CR, MV 1936, Berman, AK Weekly, AFJ, MCC

Something else happen in 1938.

Vessel: Polar Bear

Type: Motorship

Date: 29 March 1938

Location: At Red Fox Bay, near Port Williams, Kodiak Island.


Event narrative:

Blown ashore after suffering engine trouble and hitting a reef. CG cutter Morris found crew of Capt. A.J. LaGasa, J.A. LaGasa, Alex Woche, and Paul Anderson camped on beach.


This was the Polar Bear’s first trip after being raised after hitting a reef and sinking off Kodiak in 1935. The Morris tried to convoy the Polar Bear to Cape Spencer, but, when 30 mi out to sea, the wooden propeller that LaGasa had whittled from a tree dropped off, the Morris was forced to tow the Polar Bear to Sawmill Bay where it awaited a two-blade, 40″ steel metal prop built by Jack English at the machine shop

Source: Seward Gateway

Again in 1938…

Vessel: Macray

Type: Diesel tug

86 tons

Date: 16 October 1938

Built: 1922

Lcation: Near Cape St. Elias, S end of Kanak Island, Gulf of Alaska.


Event narrative:

Tug swamped on shoals of Okalee Channel in Controller Bay, S end of Kanak Island and was blown ashore in 85 mi hurricane winds. Six crew escaped to the beach and rescued 2 days later by the CG cutter Morris which took them to Cordova. The SS Denali took crew to Seattle. The tug lost a scow that it had in tow. Salvage of the tug, still aground at Okalee Channel near Kanak Island, was attempted Dec. 28 by Capt. LaGasa and a crew of six aboard the Debs. The barge was said to have been salvaged as well.

Source: CR, Berman, MCC, Int’l. Reg. #2, Seward Gateway, MV 1939


Where is Captain LaGasa in 1940?

Cordoba, Alaska!

1940 Arthur J LaGasa

Cordova_Alaska_aerial_view Cordova 3


Guess what?

This was to be published only tomorrow.

I think I really need a vacation.

3 thoughts on “The Polar Bear

  1. Pierre, there is no connection. Dad has no French-Canadian ancestry; however, some of his cousins did immigrate to the Toronto area in the 1930s. I am currently organizing and digitizing his slides and photos; and I am guessing at the year/place of the ones taken in the fifties as they have no dates. So “circa” becomes handy.

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