Meanwhile, in B.C., Not All is smooth sailing...
All new vessels experience teething problems--and usually at the worst time possible. Case in point,
the Victoria Day Holiday and the brand new Salish Orca.
Photo courtesy of Powell River Peak/Michelle Pennell photo
Delays tarnish Salish Orca launch
|Ellis # 1487
"Ferry Landing ,
The ferry landing at Kingston is probably one of the
most dramatically changed from the days when Ellis
snapped this photo, sometime in the early 1950's.
(The Steel Electric at the dock is in Washington State
Ferries livery, which places it post-1950. Absence of
tailfins on the cars makes it pre-'56.)
The holding area has been expanded over the water,
and there are two additional toll booths. And, while it
is entirely possible this photo was taken at a "slow"
time on the route, even in the 1950's, missing are the
now common long lines waiting to board the ferry at
One wonders if Ellis--or anyone--could have foreseen
the Kingston run, which used to run with a Steel
Electric, Wood Electric or the San Mateo, would one
day be served by two of the largest vessels in the
The ferry system was forced to push the still slightly unfinished
Chimacum into service nearly a month early when the Kitsap broke
down. There were no back up vessels available, with the Chelan out
for maintenance at Dakota Creek and the Spokane spending the
summer out of service for painting and additional life raft
WSF tries not to have too many vessels out of service in the spring
or summer months, but drydock time is at a premium on Puget
Sound and often times if a vessel misses the time, it can be a year
before the boat can get back in.
The Klahowya, still sitting in Eagle Harbor, could certainly have
wroked--but she' had already been decrewed in anticipation of the
Chimacum arriving nd pending retirement. Perhaps this might a be
a lesson to "the powers to be" that it might be a better idea not to
decrew one vessel until its replacement is actually in service.
Photo courtesy of Zack Heistand
|Meanwhile, in Alaska...
The troubles with the "Rusty Tusty" continue.
Ferry cancellations mean headaches for Aleutian communities
Ouch! That'll hurt...
The normally reliable Kitsap suffered a major failure when her crankshaft broke. The ferry will be out
of service for a few weeks. With the Kaleetan out for her annual inspection, WSF was force to reduce
the Vashon run to two vessels until the Chimacum was pressed into service early. (See above.)
Photo courtesy of Matt Masuoka.
Chimacum rushing into emergency service
|The Grand Staircase, M/V Kalakala
June 1st marks the 66th anniversary of the formation of Washington State Ferries. At midnight, the flag of the
Black Ball line came down for the last time, the new flag of Washington State Ferries went up.
WSF wanted to establish their own brand on the vessels acquired from Captain Peabody's fleet. In addition to
immediately performing upgrades and much needed maintenance to the fleet (Which had begun to slip in the last
few years of Black Ball service. Likely seeing which way the wind was blowing, and needing the cash to start up
operations in Canada, Captain Peabody let the maintenance needs of the fleet side somewhat.) the state also
wished to put their own brand on the fleet.
The easiest way to do this was to change the livery of the vessels. Black Ball's iconic red-capped-with-black
funnels were painted green--the same shade in use today--with a white band and black top. According to
legend, this was done while the vessels were in service on that first day, with the Chippewa making several trips
with the funnel Black Ball red on one side and Washington State Ferries green on the other.
In their push to create their own identity and distance themselves from Black Ball, Washington State Ferries
might have gone a little overboard, getting somewhat slap-happy with the green paint. Nowhere was this more
evident on the Kalakala, which, while under Black Ball, had her interior painted in muted earth tones with brown
upholstery and toffee-colored walls in the passenger cabin. After the fall of 1951, the state painted the walls
stark white, reupholstered the seats in green, and re-tiled the chocolate brown floor in green as well.
Where the state went overboard was on the Kalakala's stairs. The beautiful art-deco rails were painted over
from their original silver to--surprise--green. The effect wasn't awful, but with the plethora of green already
taking over the vessel, keeping the railings silver to match the outside of the vessel might have been better
Allegedly the forward staircase, seen here, was salvaged when the Kalakala was being turned into a cannery
and is in a home "somewhere" in Western Washington.
** Standard disclaimer --may not be completely current due to
maintenance needs, etc.
Spring Schedules runs from 2 April to 24 June
ANACORTES-SAN JUAN ISLANDS
WSF MAINTENANCE, DRYDOCK &
INSPECTION NEEDS (click)
Previous Day Room