One of activities I knew I wanted to do in Seattle was ride one of the Puget Sound ferries for some fantastic views. It’s not free like NYC’s Staten Island Ferry, but at $7 for a round trip, it doesn’t break the bank, either.
It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon and I’d already done lots of walking around, and only had a small window before free dinner at my hostel. I decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride one of the Washington State ferries on such a gorgeous day, so I made sure I had my camera, battery, and memory card all ready to go and walked down to the ferry terminal at Colman Dock. Even in my rush to make the next departure, I found myself stopping periodically to snap photos of some striking buildings (which will have a post of their own, of course!).
I loved how Seattle has lots of pedestrian bridges near the waterfront to avoid crossing some busy streets.
I turned around before I entered the ferry terminal to get some shots of the light hitting Seattle’s downtown:
It’s nearly impossible to get a shot on the waterfront without including some construction equipment in there, too. There’s a massive effort underway to rebuild the seawall because of gribbles (tiny crustaceans) eating away at it over the years. Once I understood the reason behind all the noise and cranes, I was a lot less bothered by it.
Inside the terminal, I stood away from the crowds of tourists and commuters and fell in love with this scene:
I chose to ride the ferry heading to Bainbridge Island, which is about a 45 minute ride one way across Puget Sound.
It was absolutely lovely. I constantly reminded myself to look all around me, not just west toward the sun. And being on the boat was handy for capturing the Seattle Great Wheel sans construction equipment, hurrah!
And just like on the plane, I was so excited to see Mount Rainier. Some people get excited about the Space Needle (à la the Empire State Building in NYC), and I did photograph that, too, but the mountain was it for me. An active stratovolcano, visible from the city! My tour of Mount Rainier was still two days away at this point, and I was eager for any glimpse I could catch.
And turn again, back toward the Olympic Peninsula and the setting sun:
I couldn’t stop photographing everything, despite the cold wind that almost forced me inside! There were a few other brave souls out on the deck with me, all bundled up and some taking pictures just like I was.
I admit that I felt lonely in tiny increments, seeing couples being cozy with each other as they watched the sunset. I’m married and this was the longest I’d been away from Andy since before our wedding. We got engaged on a sunset cruise; I know he would have taken picture after picture had he been standing right next to me. Fortunately, that feeling didn’t overpower me. It passed and I felt grateful that I had made the effort to catch the ferry when I could easily have stayed in and watched a movie at the hostel.
As I’ve said before, I was so happy being on and near the water. I grew up on Long Island, so I’m naturally drawn to bodies of water– especially large ones like sounds, bays, and oceans (as much as I love the Hudson Valley, the river doesn’t have that same effect on me). This is the kind of activity that feeds my soul, more so than paying nearly $20 to go to the top of a tourist attraction or visiting a pricey museum.
It’s hard not be inspired by beautiful views like this.
As we approached Bainbridge Island (one of the largest in Puget Sound), I couldn’t stop staring at the Olympic Mountains. They lie directly west of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula, and while not particularly high compared to Mount Rainier in the Cascades (Mount Olympus is roughly half the size of Rainier), they are striking nonetheless.
We pulled into Eagle Harbor once the sun had set and I wished that I had allotted time to explore the island, but at least I got to see it from the boat.
After everyone slowly disembarked and the commuters left in search of their cars, those of us who were returning to Seattle got back on the ferry.
I was so tired by this point! But it was a happy exhaustion, which is the best kind. I snapped a few skyline photos and then relaxed inside for the rest of the ride back to the city.
Thanks for putting on a nice show for me, Mother Nature and Seattle.
This post is F for ferry, part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Some things I’ve featured so far: adorable farm animals, a horrific experience at Birmingham Airport, and my fantastic Seattle meals. One week down, three to go!