The Washington State Ferries service is the main way of getting between the San Juan Islands but it isn’t the only one. On a previous trip to the islands, I had posted about an operator of a small ferry. That post is here. The operator is San Juan Ferry and Barge. The boat in the original post is the Henry Island but they have a second, similar boat. This is the Nordland II.
The Nordland II came past us while we were staying in Orcas a couple of times. It had a truck with what looked like propane on board. I imagine moving from place to place with a hazardous cargo is easier when you charter the boat yourself. The front ramp means they can load and unload at any number of launching ramps around the islands which makes them super flexible.
They are based at Friday Harbor and, while we were walking around the waterfront, I saw them in the marina. The Nordland II was making a trip out so I got a shot as they pulled out (along with a friendly wave from the crew!). The Henry Island was still moored up so I grabbed some shots of it while I could.
Previous visits to Anacortes have included pictures from the shipyard in the town. They seem to always be working on some substantial vessel or other that has been lifted out of the water and moved up the yard to allow access to work on it. When heading to the ferry, we had a little spare time so took a swing through the town. Sure enough, another large vessel was parked next to the road. This one was registered to Woods Hole. It was a long way from home!
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.
While driving to Port Townsend, we took a diversion to Point No Point. It was still foggy as we headed up there and it turned out that there was no point in going to Point No Point. However, driving up the road towards the lighthouse, a ship appeared out of the fog. Turns out it was the wheelhouse from a ship that someone had decided to add to their property. It is a fair distance from the water and looks rather incongruous as you drive by. Had to grab a shot!
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.
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.
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.
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!