More Washington State Bucket List Items:
2014 has been a good year riding the various Washington State ferries, ferry routes, and islands in Washington State. I’ve ridden a variety of ferries every since the early 80′s on a spring break bicycle trip to the San Juans. I didn’t keep formal track of each ferry I rode, but did my best the past few years to reconstruct and track them–especially since Dad and Step mom bought a place on Whidbey Island and find myself regularly visiting. That and rides like my 39 County Tour.
It got me thinking about riding on every single ferry and I *think* I might be able to ride the remainder of Washington State ferries currently in service in a long weekend.
19 ferries are currently in service in the Puget Sound according to Vessel Watch.
Over the 4th of July weekend I purposely picked up a bunch of ferries, ferry terminals, and islands I hadn’t been too:
- Four Islands (Indian, Marrowstone, Vashon, and Maury)
- Four Ferries (brand new MV Tokitae, MV Salish, MV Tillikum, and MV Chetzemoka)
- Three Ferry Terminals (Vashon Island, Tahlequah, and Point Defiance)
I followed that up by another walk-on trip after a business meeting in downtown Seattle to snag some more on July 25th.
- Two Ferries (MV Tacoma and MV Wenatchee)
- One Ferry Terminal (Bainbridge)
So, that sets the stage to see if I make a concerted effort over the four day Labor Day weekend to finish off the remainder of regular* WS ferries I’ve not ridden, the one ferry terminal and island served I’ve landed at but not gotten off or back on (Shaw) **, and add any more islands to my list ***. My priority is ferries to be sure and a majority of the ones I’ve not ridden are currently serving in the San Juan Islands. So, my schedule is something like this:
Thursday, 8/28, after work
- Pasco to Whidbey Island. Spend night at family cabin.
Friday 8/29 – San Juans
7 a.m. Depart Greenbank.
09:00 Anacortes. Skagit County Ferry to Guemes Island. Depart 6th and I Street, $7.00 round trip, 6:30 to 20:30 daily on 30 minute cycles, 5 minute ride each way. Estimate 2 hours total.
I initially was trying to divine which ferry was doing which route at a certain time…..and was quite a puzzle. With some help of WSF staff I was shown a different website to correlate which route gets which specific ferry. I even was able to come up with a plan that hits the three needed ferries, explore several islands in layover periods, and minimize expenses by paying only for the Anacortes to Friday Harbor and island-by-island eastbound. There’s a morning option and an afternoon option. Since I’d like to snag Guemes Island I’ll go with the noon option to make my Shaw Island arrival best in the early evening.
11:55 @ Anacortes. Westbound via Elwha (Position 5) to Friday Harbor at 13:00. 65 minute layover gives me time to ride to at least one end of island.
14:15 @ Friday Harbor. Eastbound via Klahowya (Position 4) to Orcas Island and arrive at 15:05. 135 minute layover to explore a bit of the island….maybe even make up Mt. Constitution and back.
17:20 @ Orcas Island. Eastbound via Kaleetan (Position 2) to Shaw Island and arrive at 17:35. Explore island and I scored a nice little campsite on Shaw that night (there are only 10 spots on the whole island). My other alternative was Lopez Island (I first did this in 1982 during a spring break bicycle trip through Kennewick High), but couldn’t find any open campsites to reserve. View from my campsite.
- MV Kaleetan, Super Class (2500 riders/144 cars), Created in 1967, no noted refit since then. Named after mountain peak near Snoqualmie. Operates Seattle-Bremerton route outside of summer.
- MV Elwha, Super Class (2500/144). 1967 with refit in 1991. Equipped with SOLAS–can run to BC. Involved ina full speed collision in the past, has had several peformance issues over the years.
- MV Klahowya, Evergreen Class (800 passengers, 87 vehicles), 1958 w/refit in 1995. Expected to retire on this route in some years.
- Shaw Island
- Guemes Island
Saturday 8/30 Misc. Islands
Double-check to make sure I’ve ridden needed ferries.
07:30 @ Shaw Island. Eastbound via Hyak (Position #3) (I’ve ridden the Hyak on ???? run in ????) to Lopez Island for stop, and then Lopez Island to Anacortes at 08:30.
- Lummi Island out of Everett via ferry.
- Camano Island via riding.
- Back to Whidbey for evening.
- Lummi Island
- Camano Island
Sunday 8/31 Urban Puget Sound
- Whidbey to Edmonds, ride Walla Walla to Kingston
- Kingston to Bainbridge, ride Puyallup to Seattle
- Seattle to Faunteroy, ride Issaquah to Southworth
- Evergreen State?????
- Southworth to Bremerton, ride Sealth to Seattle
- Where to stay on Sunday? Camp somewhere semi-urban?
- MV Walla Walla, Jumbo (2000/188), Kingston, 1972 refit in 2005.
- MV Sealth, Issaquah 100 (1200/90) , 1982 refit in 2006.
- MV Issaquah, Issaquah 130 (1200/124), Vashon, 1979 refit in 1989
- MV Puyallup, Jumbo II (2500/202), Bainbridge, 1999
- MV Evergreen State???
Monday 9/1 Others
- Other islands near Tacoma?
- Back home
* The Sanpoil is a WSF ferry run on the Columbia in Eastern Washington. I have long had plans to ride this ferry, but probably won’t get to it on this trip.
** One ferry terminal that’s on the bubble is Sydney, BC. Yes, WSF serves it as a terminal, but do I really want to go to it? I’ll be in camping mode with various “tools” that may not comport with Canadian law and don’t want to try and leave them behind. And I also figured out that fares cost both ways, so I’d have to pay about $62 to get this one terminal on a ferry (the Chelan) I’ve already ridden multiple times. I’m going to pass.
*** I note this potentially leaves out an opportunity to visit a bunch of other smaller islands (i.e. Blakely (6th largest of San Juans), Cypress, Decatur, Center, etc.) that are in the area and I’d like to ultimately visit one day. However, as they’re not served by public ferries, privately owned, are protected via regulations, and/or require permission from tribal chiefs (yes, there is at least one)–I’m not ready or willing to start chartering boats or stealth swimming to them. For this ride if I can’t take the motorcycle there I’ll probably skip it. I’ll have to line up a sailing adventure another time to pick off the islands that are not served with reasonably doable land-based transportation. That all said if I run across some cougarish widow at a store on Lopez with a boat docked up, takes a shine to me, and wants to take me to her private house on Decatur for the rest of the weekend–I’ll jump at the chance.
**** Since researching this I find that several other ferries are on the bubble when it comes to being in service or not. The MV Evergreen State that plied the San Juan waterways was retired at the end of June in a big ceremony and I had written it off, but just found it is back in service temporarily because of some other ferries down for maintenance. If it’s running I’m hopeful to catch it on the Fauntelroy-Vashon-Southworth run.
***** And the WSF does have ONE more ferry I know about on standby at Eagle Harbor. It’s tiny by contrast, but provides some service in a pinch. The MV Hiyu holds only 200 passengers and 34 cars.
Westbound Anacortes to Shaw Island (6:00 to 7:30, 7:25 to 9:05, 10:20-11:15, 3:50-4:45, 7:20-8:15, 9:00-10:10), Flow is Anacortes – Friday, Anacortes to Shaw/Orcas, and Anacortes to Lopez
Eastbound from Shaw to Anacortes (7:30 to 8:30, 9:05 to 9:55,
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