On Tuesday I took the morning off and chaperoned Wesley’s class on their field trip on a Washington State Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston and back. Amber was supposed to come, too, but she was sick and so it was just Wesley, Jillian and I. The class met up at the park at the ferry dock and then luckily we got the group rate of only $2.00. That’s $2.00 per group, which certainly beats the more than $7.00 per person that a walk-on usually costs on this route.
Our ship was the Spokane.
Captain Tom came down and gave us a short talk about the ferry and then told the kids a fun, but non-ferry-related story. Once we were free Wes, J and I went outside, the rest of the class soon followed. Like it always is on the front of a ferry, it was rather windy. The kids weren’t thrilled with the wind. Even though we had sunny weather it was still chilly. The 18 knot headwind created by the ferry was a bit much for them.
Through a bit more luck we were able to visit the wheelhouse with one of the captains. Each ferry has two wheelhouses and two captains. One captain in one wheelhouse going one way and then the other captain in the other wheelhouse going the other way. According to “Captain Vic” it is pretty rare that they let the classes come up and visit. It was certainly the first time I’ve ever been inside. Jillian and I were only invited because I had the camera. Most of the parents and other non-class kiddos had to wait down in the main cabin. On the way up we also got to see their toilet/shower and each of the three cabins.
A few shots of the wheelhouse (click to enlarge):
Since it was the inactive wheelhouse the kids also got to “steer”.
They also demonstrated the landing signal. Normally sounded from the active wheelhouse we got to watch the Captain sound one long and two shorts. Then shortly after one of the kids sounded another short. Apparently that means turn right. Captain Tom, who has 5 kids of his own, knew well enough to ignore it. It was loud and the kids loved it.
If you look carefully you can see Jillian’s reflection in the compass.
Captain Tom waved goodbye to Wes and J. They waved back and yelled thank you.