2014 has been a good year riding the various Washington State Ferries, ferry routes, and islands in Washington State. I remember riding the green and white monsters ever since the early 80′s on a spring break bicycle trip to the San Juans. I haven’t kept track of every single one I’ve ridden, but I’ve reconstructed the list as best I can and keep track of the boats the past few years–especially since Dad and Step mom bought a place on Whidbey Island. The idea of riding them all started to coalesce as I did my 39 County Tour.
Snagging so many the past month or so got me thinking about finishing up the task Labor Day weekend.
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 Island/Winslow)
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 Island)**, 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.
There are some seriously cool ferry nerds out there I’ve been enjoying reading through. The folks at Evergreenfleet.com are a great read.
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 performance issues over the years. Riding this ferry means I will have “slammed” the Super Class.
MV Klahowya, Evergreen Class (800 passengers, 87 vehicles), 1958 w/refit in 1995. Expected to retire on this route in the next several 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.
Morning Lummi Island out of Everett via ferry.
Afternoon Camano Island via riding.
Evening Back to Whidbey for evening.
Sunday 8/31 Urban Puget Sound
05:15 Greenbank to Clinton
06:00 @ Clinton. South to Mukilteo via Tokitae or Kittitas.
Mukilteo to Edmonds, 06:50, 20 minute layover
07:10 @ Edmonds. Westbound via MV Walla Walla (Position 1) to Kingston at 07:40. I may have already ridden the Walla Walla in 2006, but am not 100% sure….so I’ll ride it to make sure.
Kingston to Bainbridge Island, 08:00, 45 minute layover
08:45 @ Bainbridge. Eastbound via MV Puyallup (Position 1) to Seattle at 09:20
Seattle to Fauntelroy, 09:35, 85 minute layover
10:45 @ Fauntelroy. Westbound via MV Evergreen State (Position 2) to Vashon at 11:05
Stay on Vashon
11:35 @ Vashon, Westbound via MV Issaquah (Position 3) to Southworth at 11:45
Southworth to Bremerton, 12:10, 10 minute layover
12:20 @ Bremerton, Eastbound via MV Sealth (Position 1) to Seattle at 13:20
Seattle to ?,
Where to stay on Sunday? Camp somewhere semi-urban?
MV Walla Walla, Jumbo (2000/188), Kingston, 1972 refit in 2005. I think I’ve already ridden this one, but can’t remember for sure and may have been the Spokane…so I’ll ride to be sure. It also means I’ll have slammed the Jumbo class.
MV Puyallup, Jumbo II (2500/202), Bainbridge, 1999. This is one in the biggest ferry class in the fleet and will be my last to slam the class.
MV Sealth, Issaquah 100 (1200/90) , 1982 refit in 2006. This is an interesting ferry as its the only one of the original 6 in the Issaquah class to not be upgraded to the Issaquah 130 class with two car decks on each side. You can tell because there’s just one floor of windows at the vehicle level. The other 5 in the class (Cathlamet, Chelan, Issaquah, Kitsap, and Kittitas) all have two rows of windows and ramps on sides.
MV Issaquah, Issaquah 130 (1200/124), Vashon, 1979 refit in 1989. This will be my last in the class to slam.
MV Evergreen State , Evergreen State class (981/87), Bremerton 1954, refit in 1988, retired June 29, 2014, Returned temporarily to service in July 2014.
Monday 9/1 Others
- Other islands near Tacoma?
- MV Sanpoil in Eastern Washington?
- Back home
Watch Chip Hanauer go onto the Tokitae as its being constructed.
* 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.
**** 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. Riding it will be a good trick though.
Examples from Olympic Class, 144 boat.
Navigation/Bridge Deck: 8′ 6″. Crew exclusively on this deck. Includes the Pilot House (one on each end), catwalks, and other mechanical rooms.
Sun Deck: 8′ 6″. Not all ferries have them, but the Olympic Class does. Includes open areas and partially enclosed areas open to the elements.
Shelter Deck: A passenger area of a ferry between the pickle forks and the main cabin area. Open to the outdoors, but out of the direct wind. Picture.
Passenger Deck: 10′ 0″. Includes large area where passengers sit. Includes galley, lounges, etc.
Vehicle Deck: 24′ 6″ total. Includes lower (8′ 6″) and upper vehicle deck (10′ 0″)
Below Deck: Part of ferry under the car deck. Mechanical, staff, etc. 16′ 9″ total with 8′ 0″ above design waterline.
San Juan Alternate Schedules
|Friday||6:25||7:30||1 hour||4 hours||Elwha – 5||Early Friday sailing|
|Friday||11:35||12:25||1.5 hours||5 hours||Klahowya – 4||Good layovers on Friday Harbor and Orcas|
|Friday||17:20||17:35||15 minutes||evening||Hyak – 3|
|Shaw||Anacortes||Does not include Lopez|
|Satuday||9:05||9:55||50 minutes||Kaleetan – 2||Back to mainland early|
|Friday||7:25||8:15||50 minutes||4 hours||Kaleetan – 2||Less early Friday|
|Friday||12:25||1:55||1.5 hours||3.75 hours||Klahowya – 4||Good layovers on Orcas and Friday Harbor|
|Friday||17:40||18:55||1.2 hours||evening||Klahowya – 4||About $8.50 more|
|Saturday||7:30||7:50||20 minutes||3 hours||Hyak – 3||Includes Lopez|
|Saturday||10:45||11:25||1 hour 20 minutes||Elwha – 5||Includes Extra ride|