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It's schedule review time again in Alaska.
The LeConte,back in August of 1989. Author's collection.
Under review: Alaska's 2018 summer draft
|Ellis No. 1451
"Columbia Beach Ferry
The dock may be larger these days, and the boats much larger,
but the scene looks pretty much the same at the dock itself,
though it now goes by the name Clinton instead of Columbia
For many years after the State took over operations, the Columbia
Beach-Mukilteo run had a number of small extra service boats
play through, supplementing service for the "big boats" usually
on the run--the Olympic, later the Rhododendron and the
Chetzemoka. The Crosline, Leschi, and Kitsap all played through
at various times.
Taken not long after state ownership, parked in the reserve spot
at Columbia Beach are the Kitsap and Leschi. The Kitsap would
be retired not too many years in the future in the early 1960's,
while the Leschi would hang on until 1969.
|Missing the Steel Electrics
Ten years ago this month, the Steel Electrics were unceremoniously yanked from service by the then head of the Department of Transportation. The move, which some later
criticized was politically motivated to create an artificial crisis to benefit a local shipyard, lead to the hasty construction of the Kwa-di-Tabil class of ferries.
In truth, while the ferries certainly needed to be retired, the Coast Guard had certified them as safe to sail. Rather than take the time to design a proper replacement class
that could have been utilized for other runs, the redesign of the Island Home resulted in vessels without proper rub rails, the inability to clean the windows from the outside,
and a maze of passenger cabins that resulted in a higher minimum crew than their eighty-year old predecessors. The narrow car deck also made the vessels of little use as
the inter-island ferry in the San Juans because of the complex multi-destination loading.
In short--the new ferries can't hold a candle to the much more versatile predecessors. The Illahee, Nisqually, Klickitat and Quinault are still missed on Puget Sound, though
like all the other old ferries of the fleet, their memory is already starting to fade.
Above, the Klickitat at Kingston from the Elwha in 1975. Author's collection.
|Farewell to a Queen...
It's been a long time since the Queen of Nanaimo looked like this. She is now sporting a black hull
and being prepared for her trip to Fiji.
Surveyors To Inspect MV Lomaiviti Princess V
The fourth Olympic Class ferry has take to the water for the first time and is about 70% complete.
Photo courtesy of WSDOT.
New State ferry ready for outfitting.
|Library, S.S. Princess
One of the rooms favored by passengers was the elegant,
comfortable library on the Princess Kathleen.
Alone after her sister, the first Princess Marguerite was sunk in
World War II, the Princess Kathleen had been extensively rebuilt
and refurbished after the war. She resumed service on the
"Triangle Route" between Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria,
paired with the elderly, but still stylish Princess Victoria or
With the arrival of the new Princess Patricia and Princess
Marguerite the Triangle Route was turned over to the new pair
and the Princess Kathleen was placed on the scenic and
profitable Alaska cruise service.
It was not without incident. In September, 1951, she ran into the
Prince Rupert. Both vessels had significant damage, but made
port under their own steam.
Alas, the life of the Princess Kathleen would come to an end
almost exactly a year later in September, 1952. After running
aground off Lena Point, the Princess Kathleen eventually sank
after being hung up on the point for hours.
The wreck lies there today, and is now a popular spot for divers.
** Standard disclaimer --may not be completely current due to
maintenance needs, etc.
Fall Schedule runs from 1 October to 6 January,
ANACORTES-SAN JUAN ISLANDS
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