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!
During a vacation trip to Anacortes, prior to moving to Washington, I posted some pictures of a large vessel out on the dockside being worked on. I was quite taken with seeing it so high out of the water. That post is here if you are interested. We were passing through Anacortes again recently and I decided to go back to the same shipyard to see if something else was there. Sure enough, another large vessel was sitting in the yard undergoing work.
Seeing a ship this large out of the water is impressive to me. I got a few photos. It was an interesting shaped hull. I think it had propulsor units of some sort based on rotating vanes rather than traditional propellers. They were a bit hard to see but I think that was what was back there. My friendly marine engineers might step in here and help out.
The return of summer means the return of the cruise ships. We took a trip over to West Seattle when we had visitors to get a view of the city and there were cruise ships at both terminals. One was side on to us while two more were stern on at the further terminal. We shall have a lot of these big ships coming and going for the next few months as people head up to Alaska on a voyage.
There is a direct ferry from Port Angeles to downtown Victoria operated by Black Ball Line. Their boat is an old ship called the Coho. We have taken this route on a previous visit but didn’t use it this time. However, the regular arrival and departure of the Coho meant we saw it frequently during our stay. The ship has loading apertures on each side of the hull through which the cars can be loaded. Otherwise it looks like a pretty normal ship.
It wasn’t hard to know when they were leaving as there would be a blast on the ship’s horn. This was followed by swinging the boat around in the main harbor in order to be able to head out through the narrow passage to the open sea. The Coho first entered service in 1959 so is clearly not a new vessel. I have no idea whether there is any plan to replace her or whether, with regular refits, she will continue in service for years to come.
From the top of the Space Needle, you can survey a lot of what goes on in Seattle. Cruise ships berth along the waterfront near the Alaskan Way Viaduct but they also come in further up the shore. Two ships were in port up there while we were up the Needle. I had got a shot of them at one point shortly after getting to the top but, as I walked around, the sun popped out and bathed them in light while all around them was still in shade. Now they really popped so I figured another shot was in order before the sun vanished – which it did a minute later.
Washington State Ferries cover a wide range of routes. Some of them are major commuter journeys and the boats are sized to handle lots of cars and passengers. Others are far more specialized runs that have lower frequencies and capacity. This can change throughout the year with the peak season demand being way higher than the off-season and larger boats get drafted in.
While I was on the shore at Coupeville, one of the ferries came in. We actually took this route on a vacation a couple of years ago and it was quite busy then. This time things were a lot quieter and the boat was clearly not one of the biggest that WSDOT has available.