Bainbridge Island is the location of Eagle Harbor. This is the maintenance base for the Washington State Ferries. Look at it on Google Maps and you will see a ferry moored up in maintenance or long term storage. However, since the onset of the pandemic, the ferries have been operating at a reduced schedule. This has continued even though traffic levels during summer have increased markedly. This reduced schedule means not all ferries are in service and a bunch are stored at Eagle Harbor. Shooting in to the sun is not ideal but it was the only available shot. Here are some of the ferries either in storage or awaiting a return to the full schedule.
On our trip to Tofino, we were on an older ferry from BC Ferries. The Queen of New Vancouver was our ride in both directions. I am not an expert on BC Ferries but this boat clearly looked a lot older than the majority of the fleet. That’s because she is. All of her sister ships have been scrapped but she was refitted around 2007 for another ten to fifteen years. (Wikipedia is my friend.). I guess that means her days are numbered. I am not sure whether she is used regularly but I did hear that another ship was in maintenance. Maybe that is why she was in use. Anyway, here is the old girl. We rode on one of the newer ships a while later and they are definitely better equipped for the passengers. Maybe she still has some time to go though.
There is a very nice boat that seems to be parked up in the marina along the waterfront on Vancouver. I have seen it there on all of my recent visits. I think it is one that I need to be careful not to show off too much in case friends start asking to borrow it. Let’s say it isn’t really my boat – honestly!
This hydroplane was due to compete at Oak Harbor. They pulled off the jetty and headed towards the track but, for some reason, they broke down. They were left drifting just outside the jetty for a while. The driver climbed out of the cockpit and was left to wait for a tow to come along. It took a while for a boat to come to their aid. They weren’t drifting fast but they were slowly heading away from the shore and towards the course. They were taken care of long before they got anywhere risky, though.
The movement of cars around the world requires a specialist type of ship and, while they may be functionally effective, they are not good looking ships. They have the appearance of a box on the water. The large rear loading ramp allows the cars to be loaded and then they get driven around the multitude of decks for storage. This example was coming up the Solent and heading in to Southampton. A similar example had a shift of load in this area and was put aground on the Brambles Bank to avoid sinking. No issues in this case, of course.
In a visit we made to Seattle in the mid 2000s, we took a boat tour around Elliott Bay. One of the more impressive ships in the harbor was one that is designed to lift heavy loads and carry them long distances. It will sink to allow the load to be floated on to the hull and then it will lift back up and leave the load on the deck. You can see the markings for sinking the hull on the superstructure.
The most impressive view of the ship was from the front as we passed ahead of it. The beam was something special to see. It had a very muscular look to it. These are the sort of ships that have been used to moved smaller ships when they have suffered damage. The Royal Navy had a destroyer that hit a reef in the South Pacific once that was moved this way. Quite an impressive capability.
The hydroplane races at Oak Harbor had a variety of classes of contenders. Many of the boats appeared on course from a marina across the harbor but the most exotic of the boats were operated from alongside the spectator area. A pit area was set up on the shore. Here the crews were busy preparing the boats to race – occasionally carrying out engine runs. There was no slip so the way boats were put in the water involved a crane lifting them up and depositing them alongside a jetty close by. The initial lifts seemed to be a bit slow and inaccurate but a little practice and they were soon moving them across and back after the races with ease.
Cruise ships are a regular feature of Vancouver Harbour. Pacific Place has a terminal where two ships can be berthed at any one time. One evening, as I was hanging out on Stanley Park, one of the ships set sail – presumably for a trip up to Alaska. I watched it pass close by where I was and took a look at what I could see happening on the decks facing the shore (including one chap in a bathrobe on a rear balcony who probably didn’t think he was visible. Then the ship headed out under the Lions Gate bridge as the sun was beginning to go down.
It’s been a long time since I watched any hydroplane racing. The Kankakee event in Illinois was a fun one to attend, not least because the constraints of the river meant it was possible to get really close to the action. Racing is quite popular in the Pacific Northwest and one event was scheduled for Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. I decided to head along and see what it was like.
I was quite surprised how easy it was to attend. I found parking conveniently close and got a waterfront spot to set up with ease. Plenty of people came and went during the time I was there but it never felt terribly busy. The racing took place in the harbor and it was a bit distant for all of the spectators. The good spot to watch from would have been across the harbor but that was within the naval facility so out of bounds for the rest of us.
The course provided for some good angles on the boats as they made the first turn. The second turn was rather distant. The PA system was well away from me and the program seemed to be only vaguely related to what was happening so most of the time I was oblivious to the classes that were racing at any one time. The more powerful boats were staging from the pits near the crowd but many of the smaller boats would appear on course from the marina across the harbor. I would just watch them going around and try and figure things out from the flags on the course boats.
It was a sunny day so sitting next to the water and watching the occasional race was pleasant. Not knowing what was going on was a bit harder and the random feeling of when a race would occur left me a bit confused but I got to watch racing and get some photos so hardly a bad was to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Our aerial adventure with Kenmore Air included a lot of time over the waters of Puget Sound. Very little time was spent over land. The waters were not very busy but there was enough boat traffic to see as we soared overhead. We weren’t always close, though, so sometimes things were watched from a distance. We did have a pretty close pass on a freighter though. It was making good speed heading into the sound.
Ferry traffic is a regular thing to see with the Washington State Ferries heading to and fro across the waters. As we were closing in on Friday Harbor, we saw one ferry. It was a smaller one that was running between the islands and it was a bit hard to get a good view of. The ferries between Edmonds and Kingston are a lot more heavily used and so are a lot bigger. They were passing each other mid crossing as we ran south so I managed to get a few shots of them from above as we headed overhead.