South Whidbey connects to the mainland via the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry, which transported more than 3 million passengers last year. This is Whidbey ran a story Jan. 8 about the new Mukilteo multimodal ferry terminal honoring our Salish Sea people’s tribal heritage and recalling their ceding of land to white settlers in an 1855 treaty.
Meanwhile, our photographer David Welton reminisced about the days when the ferries docked at the former Mukilteo Landing, a third of a mile away. While waiting for the ferries in the past, he enjoyed exploring the neighborhood with his camera. Here are some shots he especially likes. More photos can be found on his Facebook page. Have favorite ferry memories or photos you would like to share? Please respond in the comment section below or email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them.
“I picked scenes you won’t see any more,” David said in a phone call. “You could walk to Ivars. There’s the dock that we’re not using anymore. It seems to me that everybody loves the ferry, but hates to wait. It’s part of life on Whidbey Island.”
Meanwhile, my husband Bill Poss, said the new ferry loading design will hopefully keep us cooler in the summer. Instead of broiling drivers’ left arms and faces in the afternoon sun while facing west to Whidbey Island, the ferry’s new configuration has drivers facing north. We shall see if the wait gets easier during the long summer days.
The first Mukilteo/Clinton ferry sailed in 1911 and the first car ferry sailed in 1919. South Whidbey Historical Society has a photo showing the original ferry dock, the pilings now north of the former ferry dock location. The first humans to cross Possession Sound were the Snohomish and other tribal people of the Salish Sea, who paddled in their canoes. Learn more about our island’s indigenous canoe culture at the Hibulb Cultural Center on the Tulalip Reservation near Marysville.
One memory that stands out for me is a day in October, 2007, when 50 mph winds whipped through and caused super high waves over the MV Cathlamet. Meanwhile, a docked ferry at Mukilteo crashed against the pilings, destabilizing the ferry dock and pilings at nearby Ivars. Ferry service was disrupted until repairs were made.
We may take ferry crossings for granted, yet take a moment to consider that we travel on a highway made of seawater. On your next trip, note the sights: birds, sea lions, gray whales, orcas, trains and the edge between land and water. Let us know what you discover.
This Is Whidbey was founded by Kate Poss for readers who are interested in cultivating our island’s quality of life, including its land, sea, and air; its people, plants, and animals; and the bodies, minds, and spirits of its inhabitants. You may know Kate from her work in island libraries through May of 2016. Her background includes a career in newspaper reporting in Los Angeles for various weeklies and dailies, including The Los Angeles Times. She was a frequent contributor to the online Whidbey Life Magazine and still writes for the biannual print magazine.
Stories are highlighted by David Welton’s excellent photography. David is a retired physician who was a staff photographer for Whidbey Life Magazine since its early days. His work has also appeared in museums, art galleries, newspapers, regional and national magazines, books, nonprofit publicity, and on the back of the Whidbey Sea-Tac Shuttle!