Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Christmas Ferry Tale

Once upon a time there was a cute little town called Mukilteo that was home to a ferry boat.


1. It's actually more of a suburban bedroom community full of Boeing managers, Seattle commuters and Amazon/Google/Microsoft techies than a proper stand-alone town, but we Mukilteans like to think of this place as a regular Stars Hollow.

2. Technically, Mukilteo is home to not one but two ferry boats but they take turns tying up across the water in another little town (that is still kind of a suburb but located on an actual island and therefore a bit more town-like) called Clinton. 

Notwithstanding, Mukilteo is definitely a ferry boat town.

Every day, all day, in half-hour increments, the giant beasts gently ease out from their berths, blasting their horns to great effect, and neatly chug across Possession Sound, carrying every year literally millions of people as well as their cars and trucks to their destinations.

At the center of our local waterfront, to accommodate all this to-ing and fro-ing, stands an enormous pier and a hulking drawbridge of a thing that allows these many vehicles to zoom on and off the ferries, 145 at a time. 

Also taking up valuable space on the crowded waterfront is a parking lot to hold all those vehicles waiting for their turn to ride the ferry, various ticket booths and passenger waiting areas, motorcycle and bicycle zones, HOV lanes, and other structures dedicated to the fine art of ferrying. 

So it has been for the past 63 years. 

Until this week

Because, after literally decades of wrangling about 

how best to manage this unmanageable mess of congestion, 
where the new structures should sit, 
how traffic should be routed to and from this new location, 
how the local environment might be protected, 
and countless other complicated details, 

a brand spanking new ferry dock and terminal is opened and ready for business. 

It is surely a Christmas miracle. 

And on the last day of business for our much beloved old ferry dock, my family and I wandered down to the beach to walk for one last time in the shadows of these friendly giants


From our beloved vantage point on the rocky beach in front of the Mukilteo Lighthouse, one of the ferries sits at her dock that is located just a few hundred feet away. 

Correction: was located just a few hundred feet away. 

In their new home, the big girls will make land another third of a mile to the north. 

We will miss seeing them here. 


Although a lovely set of waterfront walkways connect the new terminal to the beach, gone are the days when the ferries play peekaboo with the lighthouse and a diligent photographer can capture Mukilteo's two proudest icons in a single shot. 

We will miss seeing them here too.


One last time, after hundreds of other times, I watched  the Suquamish and the Tokitae criss-cross the chilly waters of the Sound, sliding smoothly past one another, taking turns in this endless game of fetch that they play.

And we will miss seeing them here as well. 

But while the angles of their routes and the intimate views of their arrivals and departures will soon be changed forever by their move to the new terminal, the ferry boats of Mukilteo will continue to ply our winsome waters for decades to come, and I'm quite sure that we will all live happily ever after. 


P.S. Gracie is not impressed with watching ferry boats sail across the water. She would much rather hunt for rabbits in the lighthouse lawn. And so we did that too. 

The End.

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