On our way home from Port Townsend, we took the ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. We got there just as one ferry was leaving so we were safely guaranteed a space on the next one. Rather than sit in the car, I walked down to the overlook of the water so I could see what was moving out on the water. In the end, it was mainly watching the ferry that had just left as it headed away and then looking out for our ferry as it made the crossing and approached. I was quite surprised how few people came to have a look given that it was a lovely day and there were loads of cars waiting to board!
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.
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.
I got a few stills of the hovercraft but I also decided to film some video. For those that haven’t seen hovercraft in action, stills probably do not give a suitable impression of how they rise up above the surface yet still leave a wake. Quite a cool form of transportation and I do enjoy seeing them. Hope you enjoy the video.
Having traveled on the car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight for all of my life, I have seen many generations of ferry come and go. The oldest ones I recall are Fishbourne and Camber Queen. These would amaze current travelers with their limited car capacity and very limited customer amenities. They were replaced by a bigger and better equipped fleet which were replaced in turn but the fleet of Saint named ferries. Their time has mainly come and gone and now most have been replaced again.
On this trip, I got to ride of two ferries from the newer generation. They have a significant increase in capacity that has required the introduction of two level loading to allow the schedule to be kept. While traveling on each, I got to see the other heading in the opposite direction along with one of the older Saint class. The latest ferry has again gone away from bi-directional operation and has also added a hybrid power drive of some sort. No idea how it works but the large logo on the side leaves you in no doubt that it is there.
Regular readers know I like the hovercraft. I didn’t make a specific visit to Ryde on our last trip to see them but I did get to see them on our two ferry crossings and we also stopped at Southsea where I got to see a couple of arrivals and departures. The new hovercraft have not had a trouble free introduction but I suspect they have had a few fixes embodied. The memory of introduction problems will probably last far longer than the actual problems but I don’t know for sure whether they are doing fine now or not. All I know is that the service was running while we were there.
I was rather pleased that one of the crossings ended up getting very close to the ferry as we headed in to Portsmouth. It provided a far more interesting angle on the hovercraft than I would normally get. Combine that with some shots from the beach at Southsea and I was happy with having got some shots of the new craft which I hadn’t really seen before. During the departure, I was conscious of the potential for spray sideways as they lifted off. What I hadn’t considered properly – pretty annoying given how I know to deal with jetwash when on a ramp – is that the departing craft got quite far offshore before you got blasted with their propwash. That was mixed with seawater – an ideal combination for electronic equipment! No permanent damage though.
The Red Funnel ferries have made appearances on the blog after previous UK trips including this one here. While we were on the seafront at Cowes, we saw one of the ferries coming in but it looked pretty odd. It actually looked a lot like the old style of ferries from my youngest days. There was little upper superstructure and it looked like it was designed for trucks only. The name was Red Kestrel so a quick google confirmed that this is exactly what it is. By taking freight traffic, it leaves more space on the main ferries for the car traffic. Apparently, it has space for about 12 passengers so I guess it is not well appointed!
This is a throwback to a trip long ago. We went to Italy and started our trip out up in Milan. We made a day trip to Lake Como and I was delighted to see hydrofoils on the lake. As a kid in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the hydrofoils were a part of life. They made the quick crossing to Southampton – half the time of the ferry. It cost a bit more but it was so much easier. When we lived on the waterfront, I got so used to the hydrofoils humming in and out of the harbor. They were built in Italy and one of the ones I saw on Lake Como seemed to be an identical design. They are long gone from the Solent but clearly were still plying Lake Como when we were there. I wonder if they still are?
Our ferry ride to Swartz Bay was on one of BC Ferries larger boats. There were multiple decks to explore and a great view to watch passing by once we got in amongst the Gulf Islands. We also saw a few other ferries as we went. The ferry running the opposite service to ours passed us by as we made our way through one of the narrow passages between the islands. While not identical, it was a similar size to our boat.
The smaller islands also have service. Since they are not generating anything like the traffic that Vancouver to Victoria generates, the ferries are a lot smaller. We saw some docked up as we passed while others were making their own crossings. The waterways were pretty busy with ferry traffic for a November weekday. I wonder how many were tourists like us and how many were people going about their normal business.