Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 7/29/2022

The big news of the week is the Cathlamet crash. 

If you want accurate, up-to-date information from official sources, go to the West Seattle Blog. 

If you want a slideshow of Cathlamet images set to the Titanic theme song, you’ve come to the right place.

First order of business is to talk about what we know: The Cathlamet crashed into the dolphin (aka piling, not a living dolphin), breaking part of the dolphin and crumpling the side of the boat, trapping two cars and causing minor injuries. 

The route opened up again late in the afternoon, and the Kitsap came in to do the Cathlamet’s runs, but is now itself out until further notice due to technical difficulties. The triangle route is now on a one-boat schedule.

Now time for our speculation. Note, this is all SPECULATION  from facebook comments. At the time of writing, NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT has been made about the cause of the crash. 

The Issaquah class vessels, such as the Cathlamet and the Kitsap, use a mechanical transmission drive, which has always been problematic. It’s possible there was a mechanical failure, and the captain steered into the dolphin to avoid hitting the dock, which would have been an absolute nightmare. Many speculate this on account that our beloved boat has a bit of history.

From Wikipedia:

What do me and the Cathlamet have in common? We both have control issues. 

According to Kiro 7, in 1982, The Cathlamet drifted away from the ferry ramp at Mukilteo, and in the process dumped a car into the drink. 

Then in 1986, It slammed into the Clinton dock. 

In June of 2007, the Cathlamet hit the Mukilteo ferry dock, again damaging only a dolphin. Here’s the interesting part. The captain of that boat was fired on July 28th of that year. And on July 28th of this year, the Cathlamet crashed again. 

The Cathlamet is haunted you guys! Mystery solved!

So what should we do about aging boats? We aren’t expecting a newly built boat until 2027. Our best suggestion: build a bridge. 

My favorite reaction to this suggestion was, “pleeeeeeez refrain from the *B* word. ….be careful what you wish for….hah! NOT HAH !!!!!….what a horrid nightmare that conjures up.”

As someone points out, “Bridge will have far more car crashes lol.” Then we can complain that the bridge is down when a truck on it catches fire, as one did on I-5 on Thursday. (Sorry Cathlamet, you only made headlines for a couple hours before a different piece of vital public infrastructure went down in an even more symbolic fashion.)

And wouldn’t a bridge change our culture? 

One islander asks, “Would You actually like to turn Vashon into Manhattan Island?! Really sheesh”

I think we should build the Williamsburg Bridge to Southworth and the Brooklyn Bridge to Burien. Alternatively, we could build the George Washington Bridge and become New Jersey. Or how about the Tappan Zee? That would make us South Nyack, which, honestly, kinda fits. 

Another islander makes this point about a bridge: “It would just break anyway. We can’t have nice things.”

One islander suggests we build a bridge from Seattle to Bremerton, and then we could use their big boats. 

Can we bring back the Evergreen State? It’s already been decommissioned and re-commissioned once. Why not do it again? Just because they had partially removed the ceiling and there were exposed pipes doesn’t mean it didn’t run.At least it never crashed, which is more than I can say for some ferry boats that will not be named. 

Maybe they’ll patch up the Cathlamet with some duct tape and a tarp, and she’ll be good to go in a few months.

Other options include embracing our seclusion and infrastructure collapse. 

One islander says, “I say no boats, we become our own self isolated new nation. Theres enough deer and blackberries to survive on for at least a year. Start fence trapping and raising deer now. 😝

Another responds, “LOL I like your thinking, we can create our own cow pig and gardens and sustain ourselves 😜

Finally, one islander took a look at the damage on the boat and said, “Reminds me of the Thriftway parking lot!”

It’s truly a magical island we have here, folks. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.