The Pacific Northwest was the last hold out on summer, but finally we got a taste of it this weekend. With sunny warm weather forecast the hard part was trying to decide what to do with it! I had noticed that the historic Bair Drugstore built in 1895, which had been converted to a café but closed, was reopened for business. So as a change of pace Theresa and I decided to watch the sunrise with an early morning paddle then head over to the Bair for breakfast.

A thermos full of Peets Major Dickason’s Blend took the sting out of having to beat the 5:18 a.m. sunrise. The other reward was having the waterfront to ourselves. No one was stirring at the Steilacoom Ferry Dock as we slide our kayaks into the sound.

We weren’t really looking for anything extra ordinary; we just wanted to do a quick circuit around Ketron Island to enjoy the weather and early morning tranquility. However, as we turned our gaze across Cormorant Passage for our crossing we saw right off that something was out of the ordinary. Although the M/V Christine Anderson, the ferry currently serving both Ketron and Anderson Island was moored behind in her slip, there was another ferry tied just to the south of the Ketron landing.

Weather Worn Deck
In this shot of the car deck you can see just how bad the weathering has become. (Photograph by Theresa Weileman)
Chained to the past
Steve checking the anchor chain of the old state ferry M/V Olympic. (Photograph by Theresa Weileman)

As it turns out this was the old M/V Olympic a one-engine, 600-passenger, 50-car ferry put in operation with the Washington State Ferry system in 1954 but now privately owned. Apparently she was recently moved from her berthing in Eagle Harbor. She wasn’t originally built for Washington waters but rather started her career on the Chesapeake Bay but was soon out of work after a bridge was built across the bay. Since entering service with the WSF system she’s had a varied career. You can find the details here.

Early Morning Paddle
Steve paddling away from the M/V Christine Anderson just as the sun is making it’s way above the horizon. (Photograph by Theresa Weileman)
Better Days
Although the rust is evident, she still proudly bears her name. (Photograph by Theresa Weileman)

It’s always a bit sad to see an old vessel slowly being consumed by age and rust. And like an old building, I couldn’t help but wonder about the stories she’d tell if she could; storms, human drama. I won’t ever know with certainty, but I am sure there has to be many stories associated with her.

Cormorant Passage
Getting ready to cross Cormorant Passage on our way to Ketron Island. (Photograph by Theresa Weileman)

Still, we didn’t dilly dally too long as there was a breakfast waiting for us at the end of this journey.

Steve Weileman

I've been lucky enough to have some of my work featured on CNN, Outside TV and, National Geographic. Join me as I continue to both learn the art of film-making and document the exciting new modern world of citizen-science. His work has been featured on CNN, National Geographic, and OutsideTV, as well as numerous local outlets.

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