by Sara 

Magnolia?s OrcaMan


Everybody knows a character.  Someone who is quirky, idiosyncratic or just a little different. These are the people who make life interesting and we want to introduce you to a real character who lives in Magnolia.  Hold onto your snorkel.

Howard Garton is a 50-year-old brick layer ? a mason if you prefer ? and a craftsman of the highest order, he says with a laugh.  When Howard, who takes his pet pig Bonita to work every day, works on a chimney in the area, the rest of the neighbors make a pilgrimage to ask him, ?Can you do mine too??

But this isn?t a tale of a skillful brick layer. This is a story about a character.

During his off time, our certified Magnolia eccentric rides a ?personal watercraft? 75 miles-an-hour anywhere from Elliott Bay to the Canadian border, depending on his mood.

In the wind and waves, Howard zips up and down the sound riding a jet-ski for an environmental cause. Scooping up garbage, old nets, and anything polluting our salty front porch, Howard hauls it in with a twist that turns him into a character.

You see, our environmental good guy has an alter-ego. With a two-foot-long dorsal fin protruding from the back of his wetsuit, our plucky brick layer becomes OrcaMan, super hero and grime fighter!

Beloved by ferry riders, beach combers, and children with mouths agape, OrcaMan plies the waves for, ?goodness, not badness.? Even the Coast Guard gives him a friendly nod as they plow past the intrepid refuse collector.

Before you snarky-types comment about a guy with an environmental message riding a gas-operated water buggy, OrcaMan says he?s working on a solar powered water craft.  And remember, this is a story about a character.

You can witness OrcaMan for yourself this summer when he appears with his buddies, the SeaFair Pirates at Seattle events.

Additionally, a soon-to-be self-published comic book is about to turn our soggy, litter hero into a funny pages rock star. Any monies collected will be donated to charity.

On the horizon, watch for OrcaMan to jet-ski from here all the way to Alaska, filling bags of detritus along the route. A reality TV show is planned to record the event with the help of a soon-to-be found sponsor to cover costs.

Howard sums up his ride into Magnolia history with, ?I have yet to grow up.? Something to which we could all aspire.  Click here to visit OrcaMan?s website.

Thanks to contributor Steven Smalley for this article and photos!

About the author 


    1. Orcaman is now and ready to make just a couple of waves.? THANK-YOU very much for your support.? Jake is and has OCRACHARISMA!

  1. Howard has been trying to sell himself as Orcaman for years, with little success.? Maybe he could rebrand himself as Attention-seeking Narcisist Man

  2. the guy in the shark suit (orcas are not all black) also likes to ride into no wake zones and do high speed cut-backs in front of my house where dogs and people are swimming. we watched him get cited by the police after venturing into the ballard cut without realizing there was cop in the canal.?

  3. Interesting… must be over compensating for how much of?a douche bag he is in the neighborhood.

  4. Uh oh, you stepped in something here, Steven. Can you say “ulterior motives”?

  5. ?I think it’s great! There are tons of horrible people out there who deserve your nasty little comments people…give this guy a break and go gripe about REAL problems. For God’s sake we have burglaries and gangs to worry about in our neighborhoods!!!

    1. What is so great about a person soliciting funds to pay for his hobby, under the guise of picking up trash in a clown outfit?

      It appears to me some of these people hold an opinion of this person very much different than that?portrayed by Mr. Smalley or the website he has linked.

      Let them share their comments; that’s what this site is all about.

  6. Dear Orca man.? Are you aware that your jet-ski pollutes?? Most likely it has a two stroke engine which burns oil along with gasoline.? Then, that exhaust is released beneath the surface of the water so the water can filter out some of the crap in it.? This pollutes the water and air.? Have you ever noticed the sheen left behind on the surface of the water?? You should apologize to the fish for being an idiot.

  7. Who are you trying to fool?Howard??? Please take your stupid sea doo and go to alaska and dont come back.

  8. There is nothing good about orca man! Magnolia Voice find something beneficial to write about than a guy that is known to be a AssH&%$

  9. Another hero lost to reality. I like the bit about how he is working on building a solar powered watercraft?yeah right.

    1. Neighborly??? Are you kdding?? Go ask the local police officers what they know of Howard.? This guy is far from a child loving orca crusader.? He has started more fights probably blacked drunk out at the Gim, The Pub and Rudy’s than you have fingers.

  10. Lost all respect for this website for actually highlighting “orca man” as a good person to society. What a joke! Have some standards

  11. Ever heard of a cayak???????????? You claim to be so enviromentally friendly but your seadoo isn’t. A little double standard going on now.

  12. If someone wants to ride around with a fin on their back, having some fun I say more power to them!? If they are picking up trash along the way then what is there to complain about?? All these negative comments? strike me as anti-individualist, which is odd to me.
    I love Seattle and its host of colorful charaters.
    Keep up the good work Orca Man!

    1. This has nothing to do with him having a fin on his back, it’s about him and his attitude towards others. I know of many people that have had issues with him. He belongs in the ocean away from others whom is vVERY RUDE to!

  13. I?ll try to put this in perspective for Impetuous, John Kew, James QA & Skippy.
    Steven Smalley placed a story on this blog about a ?local do-good character? trying to clean Puget Sound for ?the sake of the children?, while wave hopping a jet-ski in a costume.
    It appears he didn?t vet his ?character? very well. The reality seems to be a person not so well respected by neighbors, who is soliciting funds to support his hobby, under a ruse of being a comic book superhero.
    The gist of the arguments is to not get caught in a scam.
    Regard the “negative comments” as a public service annoucement.

  14. I concur. Just check w/L&I to see how many times he has had his business license suspended and been fined. Check Washington State Court site to see how many times he has been sued not to mention a # of No Contact Orders. I would do some basic checking before I hold Mr. Gar ton up as some kind of great person who just wants to help children and take care of the environment.

  15. Are you Kidding!? A close friend of mine who lived in an alley by where he was working said she witnesses him beating the tar out of that little pot bellied pig!? She said the poor things was squealing in pain and scurried away from him limping.? She was traumatized for days after witnessing that horrible event.? What a creep picking on a little defenseless animal.

  16. Do what ever feels right Orcaman!

    However, don’t ask for money. ?It is your hobby, if you can’t afford it then change hobbies. I mean thanks for cleaning up the water, but come on man its your choice to do it. No one will really wonder where you went if you can’t afford it any more. let’s be real here.

  17. Do what ever feels right Orcaman!

    However, don’t ask for money. ?It is your hobby, if you can’t afford it then change hobbies. I mean thanks for cleaning up the water, but come on man its your choice to do it. No one will really wonder where you went if you can’t afford it any more. let’s be real here.

  18. Snarky individuals typing?negative comments,?right from your plastic computers made in faraway lands by the hands of children… this guy is just having fun, picking up trash along the way.? Get over yourselves.

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