Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another Romancing of Boats

A couple of years ago I Blogged about the Romance of Boats. I focused on a Famous Washington State Ferry, The Kalakala, A 1930's Art Deco streamline ferry that use to ply the waters of the Puget Sound.

We moved up to Washington State in September of 2012 while I was still working up in North Dakota. I took the train to Washington for Christmas to be with the Cute Girlfriend for the Holidays. I will digress here and say that riding the train is a nice way to travel if you are not pressed for time. You can see bits of America as you are traveling. The Train from Minot ND, to Portland OR Goes through Glacier National Park and the Columbia River Gorge all of which are beautiful country. We are taking the train back to Minot here in a week or so and will get to see Glacier during the summer.

So I come back to Washington for the Holidays. Just Before New Years I drove to Tacoma Wa to visit my Aunt  Sue.  Her son Wayne was there, with his son. We had Brunch at a nice little eatery just down the street and then walk in the park that is just across the street from the eatery.  My Aunt ask if I wanted to see something around here in Tacoma. I in returned ask her if she wanted to go on a little adventure. Aunt Sue and Wayne were game and asked what it was.

I told them that I wanted to try to get some pictures of the Kalakala.  If I remember correctly she didn't know it was docked there in Tacoma. I found it's location using Google Earth, the repository of all things seen from a Satellite. So we all loaded up in the truck and headed down to the Tacoma Docks.

The Kalakala has fallen on hard time. The Gentleman that was trying to save her was having trouble getting financial backing to save her. No wonder he had trouble he had this pie in the sky idea to have it run on solar power or wind power....sigh.  You would have to have more solar panels or wind propellers than boat to make something like that move for heaven sake.  It was sitting in Tacoma for a while until it started taking on water and listing horribly.

Image is from
The US Coast Guard got involved then and declared the boat a menace to navigation fearing it would capsize in the narrow channel and blocking it.  The coast guard then said they could not do any restoration work on the water, or any repairs and put the whole project in a stalemate.  The owner then sued the State of Washington in an effort to save the historic vessel from sinking.  The Ferry is on the National Historic Registry. He wanted the state to repair the boat.

I would love to see the boat repaired and put to some use at some wharf but it would cost more that $50 Million to get it done, maybe a lot more. I can picture it with some nice restaurant upstairs and a deck all made out like it use to be when it ferried from Seattle to Bremerton with some nice shops and a Bar and snack bar mixed in. Some nice old cars lined up on the car deck as a museum of sorts.

I don't think the tax paying public should pay for it though. Some entrepreneur needs to come forward and save this baby and try to make some money at the same time. The state could give the guy some tax breaks or something.

Well the guy that owns where the Kalakala is moored had to sue the Kalakala owner for back rent to temporarily save her. Scrapping her would be a losing deal too, hardly any good metal on her. It would cost a good sum to get her sea worthy enough to just tow her out and sink her as an artificial reef.  I can see this won't be a easy fix in any direction

 So we all went down to take a look at her and see if I could get some good pictures. It was kind of a drizzly day, what else is new this is the Pacific Northwest it always rains here, so it wasn't a great day to get out of the truck.  I didn't get any good pictures but I did get these.

This was kind of blurry so I took another picture of her nose peaking around the building.
Here is a better pic.
I can't believe the poor pilot had to drive this thing staring out that cycloptic portal on top.  I really need to get a real camera that can take long distance shots.  I could have got some shots from a bridge to her stern.

We looked at her for a few minutes from the waters edge.  We saw some sea lions in the channel and they came over near us. We hope they would come a shore in front of us but it wasn't going to happen. We had a good time with this short adventure.

What ever the Kalakala's final fate is I'm ready for it. Someone needs to keep the Romance alive and save this boat. Hey Bill Gate's you fine philanthropist, here is a worthy cause!  I have my fingers crossed. 

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