Good-bye, Taku

A veteran of the Alaska Marine Highway sails for the final time.

Author's collection.

A bagpipe dirge for the ferry Taku’s last day in Ketchikan
Ellis # 666
" Mt St Helens--Wash"
This time of year always turns my mind toward Mount Saint Helens,
which, thirty-eight years ago at this time, woke from a 123 year
slumber when an earthquake rattled the volcano on 20 March, 1980.  
Seven days after that quake, and following a week of nearly
continuous quakes, a small steam explosion opened a crater on the
summit on 27 March 1980.

Throughout the rest of March and April of that year, the volcano
continued with small eruptions, drawing thousands of tourists hoping
to catch a glimpse of the peak in action.  Meanwhile, the north flank
of the volcano began to swell ominously at an astounding rate of five
feet a day.  On 18 May, 1980, the bulge would collapse and the
volcano would experience its first major eruption in more than a
century.

Long before this, J. Boyd Ellis seems to, as so many were and
continue to do, found the volcano an entrancing place.  Ellis produced
a lot of postcards of the mountain, capturing some of the best
pre-eruption images of the peak.

#666 shows the mountain at its best, still covered in snow, a carpet
of forests at its feet.
Return to Canada!
This shot of the Elwha was taken in Sidney, B.C. back in 1983.  The Anacortes-Sidney run dates all the way back to 1922, when a kelp harvester (named, not surprisingly, the Harvester King.  It was later
rebuilt as a freight boat for Puget Sound Freight Lines and was renamed
F.H. Marvin.  It ended its life wrecked on the beach near Olympia.) started seasonal service.  One look at the vessel (see below)
makes one wonder how it must have handled anything over a two-foot wave height.

Not surprising, by the following summer, the service, which proved quite popular, was taken over by Black Ball and a more appropriate vessel, the
City of Angeles was assigned to the route.

The run has had its ups and downs over the years, repeatedly threatened with being discontinued and being saved multiple times.  It now sails usually from mid-to-late March to just after the first of the year,
depending on how the scheduling calendar falls.  This year, service starts on 1 April, a little later than normal, with the
Chelan starting service.

The
Elwha, now in its advanced dotage, is in dire need or replacing.  Here's hoping Olympic ferry #5 is approved and quickly, and built to SOLAS requirements to replace the Elwha.
WSF isn't the only one needing employees

B.C. Ferries needs workers too, and is taking steps to get people to apply. (The "gray wave" isn't unique to the United States.)

Alas, any new employees won't be working on the Sunshine Coast Queen...

BCF tries onboard recruiting in search for new employees

Another warning for those traveling to the San Juan
Islands this spring/Summer
By the time this has posted, construction will have started.  Again, If you're heading out to the islands, give yourself extra
time.

Photo courtesy of Captain William Hughes.

SR 20 - Sharpes Corner Vicinity - Interchange
Silent and Empty, the Klahowya waits

The Klahowya completed her last trip for Washington State Ferries some time ago, and now sits in Eagle
Harbor slowly being stripped of anything useful that might keep her slightly younger sister,
Tillikum,
running for a few more years.

This picture shows the rebuilt galley on board the vessel that for nearly her entire career served Vashon
Island.  She spent the last years of her life doing the inter-island circuit in the San Juan Islands, where
passengers appreciated the more comfortable fittings than those that had been on her elder sister,
Evergreen State.

There has been no word yet on when the
Klahowya will be sold.  She has been officially decommissioned
and de-crewed; next step is the official listing for sale.

Hopefully the state will have a farewell for her as they have done with other vessels, and allow former
passengers from Vashon Island to say good-bye to a ferry that served them for generations.

Photo courtesy of Matt Masuoka.
SPRING
** Standard disclaimer --may not be completely
current due to maintenance needs, etc.

Spring schedule runs from 1 April
2018 to 23 June 2018


ANACORTES - SAN JUAN
ISLANDS
 
HYAK-YAKIMA-CHELAN
TILLIKUM (Inter-island)

ANACORTES - SIDNEY
CHELAN

PORT TOWNSEND -
KEYSTONE
KENNEWICK
(2 boat service begins 13 May,
2018)
MUKILTEO - CLINTON
TOKITAE
KITTITAS

EDMONDS - KINGSTON
PUYALLUP
SPOKANE

SEATTLE - WINSLOW
( AKA Bainbridge Island)
TACOMA
WENATCHEE

SEATTLE - BREMERTON
KALEETAN
WALLA WALLA/CHIMACUM

SOUTHWORTH -VASHON -
FAUNTLEROY
CATHLAMET
ISSAQUAH
SEALTH

POINT DEFIANCE -
TAHLEQUAH
CHETZEMOKA
STANDBY- IN THE YARD
ELWHA



FOR SALE
Nothing at this time, though the Klahowya will likely be
listed soon
Previous Day Room
Postcard of Colman dock in the 1930's.  Vessels from L-R are the Quilcene, Kalakala and Chippewa.  Sailing just above the "and Alaska" is the F.H. Marvin, former Harvester
King.