Part of our Sunday drive was on water. No, not some kind of religious experience, although it is pretty awesome to be out in the middle of Puget Sound surrounded by nature and all her glory.
The great state of Washington has the largest passenger & automobile ferry fleet in the United States. They have been in the business since the early 20th century. The Washington State Department of Transportation, manages the overseeing of 11 million cars annually and 22 million bike riders & walk on passengers. The ferry system serves the Puget Sound & San Juan Islands. No, the system is not perfect. They are, like many other forms of transportation at the mercy of Mother Nature. So when the wind blows or the fog rolls in, delays happen. The “Ferryman” or if he or she holds the rank, Captain, will guide, pilot, command, and is entrusted to make sure, on a daily basis thousands upon thousands of people get where they need to go in a relatively smooth, safe and efficient way. Since the horrid events of 9/11 the United States Coast Guard escorts the ferries and provides another layer of security to the system.
Each vessel is named and we know which we have traveled on. Yesterday, we traveled on the “Kaleetan”. She can hold up to 188 cars. The three largest in the fleet can accommodate 200 automobiles. The smallest in the fleet holds just 34. The bigger vessels each have a galley. All have restrooms and you can stay inside your car or for the views you can go up to one or two of the decks to sit and play cards, use your computers, phones, read, visit with another human, listen to people play their cello or violins (mostly to earn their fare) or get out your camera. You are standing on a vessel in the middle of the Puget Sound. The panoramic views are breathtaking and priceless.
If you have never experienced it, a field trip on a merchant vessel is most certainly worthy of your bucket list. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is part of a daily commute, an annual trip to grandmas, a monthly shopping trip to the big city, or just part of a Sunday drive. Fares change with the seasons, slightly higher in the summer months, yet to be honest, not a bad price. The ferry trip to Victoria, BC, through the fjords is quite honestly some of the most breathtaking scenery you will ever experience. Yesterday, the cost to take our car and two adult passengers from Bremerton, a one hour trip right into downtown Seattle, was $10.70.
The people. I have never once had a bad experience on a ferry. I can “old Girl Scout” cross my heart promise, that every single person I have encountered as been pleasant. Most engaging and friendly. People offering to help others with the taking of pictures. Everyone is yes, in their own space, but somehow, the “forced” waiting in line for 30 minutes to an hour, slows down the pace and the nerves sort of unwind. You have absolutely no control over how fast or slow the ferry moves along. You are in this moment in time, where you just have to be. You can be apart of nature and wind and have your hair twist and tangle all around your face. Or you can sit quietly indoors and look out the window as nature slips by your window.
Once on land, might I gently suggest a delicious dinner at the best Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant in all the land (at least Seattle)? http://www.bamboogarden.net/
Sunday drives are good. Sunday drives build great marriages. Sunday drives that include being on the Puget Sound are remarkable and will buoy your spirit and soul for the week ahead. Here’s to our good health!
“I have bathed in the poem of the sea”. A. Rimbaud