An ambitious plan...

Looks like B.C. Ferries is serious about their building program.  Perhaps the Washington State legislature can take
note?  And can we get one of the new B.C. Ferries to be a replica of the
Langdale Queen?

B.C. Ferries plans to add a ship a year for dozen years, president
Ellis # 4220
"Victoria Ferry Leaving Port Angeles
Harbor, Wash
When first purchasing this postcard years ago, I
couldn't figure out what the semi-blurry, barge-like
vessel was.  It didn't take long to identify it--the
boxy, odd looking

Largely forgotten today, the old Great Lakes steamer
had a very long history on Puget Sound, and from the
late 1920's to 1947, the steamer ran the "night run"
between Seattle, Port Townsend, Port Angeles and

Fitted out well, with an eye toward class and comfort,
the vessel nevertheless had a few quirks.  She rolled
terribly,  and her Honeymoon Suite had twin beds.  In
addition, said suite was located near the
smokestacks--and the whistles.  One passenger
recounted to me a honeymoon crossing where the
fog whistle blew the entire trip as the Strait was
completely socked in.

Ellis seems to have captured the
Iroquois near the
end of her career.  Not long after this photo was
taken, the ferry would undergo a radical conversion
to a diesel-powered freighter.

Hyak at 50
Fifty years ago this month, the M/V Hyak went into service on the
Seattle-Bremerton run.  In her wake, the
Kalakala and Willapa, two
veteran ferries on the route for close to thirty years, went into

It isn't too terribly surprising in a marine transport system as large
as Washington State Ferries that history is repeating itself, nearly
fifty years to the day, with the brand new
Chimacum likely
displacing the
Hyak from the Bremerton route permanently.

What's more remarkable is that the
Hyak and her sisters have
lasted fifty years. A scant five years into service, the Supers were
already outpaced by traffic on the Winslow run;  as early as the late
70's their drive motors were obsolete.   

Today, the Supers are in their final years of service, and haven't
aged well.  Issues continually arise with their steel and drive
motors.  As the years pass, the slower they will get, and it is
unlikely all four will make the '60 year' retirement date.

Hyak is the least altered of all the Supers.  Stepping on board
today is nearly the same as it was 50 years.  Take a ride before
she's gone.

Photo from the Evergreen Fleet archives.
Unrealistic expecations...

It was hard not to laugh when the State of Alaska listed the Taku selling price at $1.5 million.  Not surprisingly, no one
purchased the fifty-four year old vessel. Dropping the price to $700,000.00 also failed to bring any buyers.

So now the ferry is up for sale yet again.  And the price?  No one knows...

What’s the ferry Taku’s new price? It’s a secret

You take what you can get

While it was bad timing to have the Tokitae out during the Independence Day holiday, drydock time on Puget Sound for
large vessels is always at a premium.  Added to that, mandatory Coast Guard inspections must take place or the vessels
can lose their certificate of inspection.  It just so happened both drydock time and said inspections happened on the
Tokitaie at the end of June and into the 4th of July weekend.

Photo courtesy of  J
ason Leander

WSF faces big holiday crowds with smaller boat on Mukilteo/Clinton route
It was, after all, the 70's

They say it takes twenty years for something to be looked back upon with nostalgia.
It's been a lot longer than  that since the Jumbo class hit the waters of Puget Sound,
to the universal scorn of those who commuted on the vessels.  The complaints
ranged from the Muzak playing over the PA system, the passengers and cars that
flooded into Friday Harbor (as the
Walla Walla's first assignment was in the San
Juan Islands) to the gargantuan wake that rolled away from the sisters as they cut
through the waves.

Most of the complaints were leveled at the Jumbo's interior.

Finished out in bright orange, with gold carpeting and black bench seats, the
reaction was immediately uncomplimentary, ranging from "not a comfortable seat on
the entire ferry"  to "poorly laid out" both of which were hard to argue.  The
horseshoe shaped seats in the cabin cut right across the back and were arranged in
such away that it was nearly impossible to talk to a fellow passenger.  The bench
seats were originally so low-backed that if two passengers sat down on opposite
sides at the same time, their heads collided.

Immediate changes were made.  The Muzak was killed, and an addition was added
onto the back of the bench seats.  Everything else remained in place until the ferry
was refurbished in the 1990's.  Unfortunately, some of the bench seats with tables
were left in the same configuration.  (
Not repeated on the Walla Walla.  When she
was refurbished, all the tables were ripped out and nothing of the old, awkward
arrangement of the tables remains.)

At left, courtesy of David Ruble, you can see just what people had to feast their eyes
on.  This is the
Spokane's galley in all its original glory, taken in the summer of 1976.
** Standard disclaimer --may not be completely current
due to maintenance needs, etc.

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