With the ferries coming and going to the terminal at Orcas, I was able to have plenty of chances to take photos. I did get standard shots of the boats in low light conditions. They are not easy to shoot since they are constantly moving. No long exposures at low ISOs are possible so it is high ISO and the associated noise. However, I did decide to experiment with some long exposures and blending of shots. The boats make a curving approach to the terminal. I thought this might make a nice long exposure. It worked okay but the curve is a bit disguised by being too low down to really appreciate it. However, it was fun to try.
Christmas Eve and I was down by the water in Mukilteo. My timing couldn’t have been better. I made a discovery that will come as a surprise to many of you. You may have thought that Santa rode in a sleigh on Christmas Eve (at night too), flying through the air pulled by his reindeer. I have news for you all. That isn’t true! Everyone has been lying to you all these years. How do I know? Because I saw Santa.
Turns out Santa’s preferred mode of transport is a paddle board. The reindeer do pull him along on his board but they do so from a small boat and they might look a bit like people wearing reindeer antlers. Santa did spend a bit of time getting ready. I’m sure it wasn’t because he was putting on appropriate clothing for being out on the water in December. He just wanted to make sure he looked the part. A mask was also in order so he might have trimmed the beard.
He got on to the board prior to the reindeer being ready. A bit of paddling around until it was time to hook the tow line on from the boat the reindeer were using. With everyone aboard, they headed out in to the water and started motoring around near the lighthouse. The ferries were crossing in the background but Santa was not going to tangle with them. I had to head off after they made a couple of passes along the waterfront but I assume they were off around the world to start delivering presents.
The ferry to Orcas Island comes in to the town of Orcas. (I think it counts as a town but it is pretty small!). Right across from the ferry terminal is the Orcas Hotel. It is an old style hotel and has a café as well. Restrictions meant eating in the café was out of the question but we did get take out food from there one night and it was great. The south facing harbor gets some nice evening light in the winter. The first time I was out walking there, I figured I would get a shot after I visited the local shop. That was a mistake. When I came out, the lovely light was gone and everything was in shadow. I didn’t make the same mistake again.
The Washington State Ferry from Port Townsend comes into the Keystone Harbor. I figured I would await its arrival. The shallow harbor means that they have smaller ferries for this route. They were actually in the process of dredging the harbor at the time of my visit to maintain access for the ferry. Even though it is a smaller ferry, when you are standing at the water’s edge, it is definitely more imposing. They turned the ferry pretty quickly since the vehicle traffic didn’t look too heavy. I think the rougher crossing might have slowed them down so a quick turn helped keep the schedule.
I spent some time early one morning waiting for the return of a warship as covered in this post. It was dark and rainy when I first got there but then the sun snuck under the clouds and the result was some very pleasing light. I was down in Mukilteo which is the departure point for the ferry to Whidbey Island. They leave every half hour and I was able to get a few departures while I waited and after the ship has passed through. The white superstructure of the ferries glowed in the morning light with the dark background of the island behind them.
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.