I have had some previous posts about San Juan Ferry and Barge as we saw a lot of them while vacationing in the San Juans. On our trip to Friday Harbor while mum was visiting, I hadn’t figured on seeing them unless they were moored in the harbor. However, as our ferry was getting ready to depart Anacortes, the Henry Island, one of their two boats, came towards us from the main harbor at Anacortes.
It passed behind us but I figured that we would catch it up as we headed to Friday Harbor and that proved to be the case. It was transporting a tanker truck with a trailer so the deck of the boat was full. As we chased it down, a couple of kayakers were coming the opposite direction. I wonder which of our two vessels they were more interested in.
A recent post showed some of the closest shots I have yet got of cormorants. What I didn’t originally realize when I was shooting them but which soon became apparent was that the structure was not just a place to hang out for them. A pair of birds had built a nest within the metalwork. At first, this was a little obscured from where I was and hard to see. As the ferry moved out, though, I was able to get a good view of the nest. The main area was shaded from the sun, understandably, but it was still possible to get some shots.
There are no prizes if you know that one of my favorite birds is the cormorant. They are just so cool in my eyes. I am constantly struggling to get good shots of them as they are pretty reticent about being close to humans. Who would have thought any wildlife would view us suspiciously? One place that they do like to hang out is the structure around ferry terminals. They are isolated from the land so have a measure of protection. They can also go straight in to the water whenever they need to fish.
I got the camera ready when we boarded the ferry in case they were close to where we were. Sometimes the light angle is bad, sometimes they happen to be on another structure. Fortunately, on this trip, I got lucky. I was really close to them. The light angles were not ideal but it was still pretty good compared to anything I have ever got before. The sides of the ferry are open so there is the risk that you can spook them. However, there is something about the boat that seems to be less concerned about your presence. It is a bit like seeing deer when you are in a car and looking out of the window.
Driving through the back roads in Anacortes, I came across Anacortes Castle. I think it is actually just a house but it is certainly one that has been styled to look like a castle. You probably couldn’t defend it from marauders very easily and the turret seemed to have a lot of open space inside but it is still an interesting looking building. It sits on a normal residential street so is quite out of keeping with the rest of the houses. Still, it is a talking point, I am sure!
I have posted a couple of times with ferries at Guemes Island and Lummi Island. While I mainly was shooting stills at these locations, I did get some video too. When the boats are being tossed about, I figured that video was a better way of conveying what the conditions were like. Below are a couple of videos I edited of the two ferries.
I was driving over the bridge heading towards Anacortes when I glanced down towards the casino near the water. I noticed a railroad swing bridge across the water which I hadn’t seen before. Since I was on my own and with no set schedule, I figured I would drop in and take a look. The railroad runs alongside the casino and crosses the river at an oblique angle. Consistently, the open position for the bridge is not perpendicular to the track but lies inline with the river.
Everything about the track looked in excellent condition so I assume the bridge is regularly used. I have seen plenty of trains on the track closer to Burlington but didn’t know they came this far. It would be interesting to see the bridge in use some time. It is a pretty long structure and the control house is on the opposite side of the river. A bald eagle was sitting on that side making a lot of noise but too far away to justify a photograph.
Since I was already in Anacortes, I headed down to the shipyard to see if anything interesting was going on. On my last visit, a ship from Woods Hole was there and got covered in this post. The same ship is still there but now it is nearing completion. The painting is mostly complete (aside from a while in the side of the hull which still needs to be closed up). The propulsion units (not sure whether they are called thrusters or propellers) have been installed.
It looks like it is going to be finished off before too long. I did see it from a different angle, albeit a more obscured by foreground clutter angle so you can get an impression of the size of the ship. When I showed the pictures to Nancy, she commented on how cool it would be to see them move the ship back to the water. This is definitely true although I doubt I will get the chance.
In this previous post, I had some shots of a ship hull in Anacortes that had become part of a harbor wall. When I showed this to a colleague of mine, he looked at Google Maps and thought there might be one or two more hulls making up the harbor. Once I saw what he was looking at, I could see what he was thinking. I also couldn’t work out why I didn’t go down to take a closer look when I had been there. A return journey seemed in order.
First I checked out the original hull and the one that is in the best condition. It looked more impressive when down on its level. I didn’t see any sign of a name which was a shame. Then I went to see what the other areas were. Sure enough, behind the first hull is a second one. This one is much more broken down but the timbers are still there making up another part of the harbor wall. I then realized that a third hull was part of the harbor which we hadn’t seen from Google. That is because it is a barge hull and so square which meant it wasn’t conspicuous from the aerial photos.
The last hull was located within a shipyard and, since I didn’t have permission to enter their premises, I didn’t go closer to check it out. A look from the access road above it did seem to confirm that it was indeed another hull. I guess whoever created the harbor figured the easiest way to do so was to sink a few derelict hulls and then build up the land around them (or let nature do that for you). I imagine that has been done elsewhere. Not quite the D-Day Mulberries but something similar.
Since aviation photography has been limited over the last year, I am finding myself photographing passenger ferries a lot. Having photographed some, I now am finding out about different ferry operations in the area and checking them out too. Anacortes is well known for the Washington State Ferries terminal that serves the San Juan Islands and Victoria (when the border is open) but it also has another ferry service. Just across the water from Anacortes is Guemes Island. The only way to get there is via a ferry.
The crossing is not a long one and you can see across to the other terminal with ease. The ferry is a basic boat with a car deck for vehicles and a small structure for the operators. I assume there is some shelter for foot passengers too but I didn’t spot it immediately. With such a short crossing, there are no special facilities.
As you come down the hill, you look along the loading ramp and straight at the other terminal. I saw a bunch of cars lined up to cross. It didn’t appear that they would all get on so I guess they shuttle back and further pretty regularly. It appeared to be half hourly. As they made the crossing, the boat seemed to roll quite a bit. It didn’t look like the smoothest of crossings. I guess the boat is designed to be sufficient for the sheltered waters but I wouldn’t like to be on it in rough weather. Then again, the crossing is short so you could suck it up if it was rolling about. Maybe I will take a trip across some time and explore the island.
On the road from Anacortes to the ferry terminal, you have the water off to your right. As I glanced over, I realized that, what I thought was a spur of the land, was actually the wreck of a ship. The prow of the hull was the thing that first caught my attention so, when I came back, I stopped off to take a closer look.
The ship is a decent size – it reminded me of the old clipper hulls. It is a wooden hull and the shape of the bow is clearly very dated. It has been there so long that there are trees and plants that are well established on it. That was why I almost missed it. It just looks like part of the land. You could easily miss that it was a ship as I had done every time that I previously came this way. Now it is just part of the harbor wall. More to come on this.