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Автор Тема: The Kalakala  (Прочитано 77 раз)

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The Kalakala
« : 12.10.2017, 13:03:05 »


It is unlikely that there is a more famous Puget Sound ferry than the M/V Kalakala. For years the silver-painted art deco ferry was the most notable icon of Seattle and the Puget Sound area.  It wasn't that she was  the fastest (she wasn't) or  the most luxurious (that title arguably went to the Chippewa) or did she sail the longest of any ferry on Puget Sound--but there is no denying she was certainly the most unique vessel to ever sail Puget Sound waters, from her curved art deco design to her double horseshoe lunch counter to her teeth-rattling vibration.

Constructed from the ashes of the passenger ferry Peralta, the Kalakala was seen as more than a mode of transportation she was a symbol of progress and hope in the dark days of the great depression.  During the day she the filled role of ferry transporting thousands of workers to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.  By night she was an excursion boat, severing as an inexpensive distraction from the events of the day, offering live music and dancing until midnight.



For nearly thirty-five years the Kalakala made her way to and from Seattle and Bremerton, sometimes taking trips up to Victoria or other ports.  Sometimes she made hard landings, sometimes not.  She was both loved and hated by crews who took pride in their unique vessel but hated polishing the miles of brass.  She was also the pride of her officers who knew she was something special, but also feared for her lack of visibility, poor handling and habit of clobbering docks.



She endured an exile in Alaska longer than her service on Puget Sound, and then returned to home waters to face a future even more uncertain. She remains a ship of hope, but a hope filled with ambiguity.

Love her or hate her, no one will ever be able to deny the Kalakala her place in history.



Captain Alexander Peabody, president of the Puget Sound Navigation Company, was looking to build a new company flagship, something unlike anything ever seen before. In the darkest days of the Depression, the vessel would not only be a productive addition to the fleet,  but also be a symbol of hope and would demonstrate the advancements in shipbuilding.

A functional vessel, the ferry would also provide a distraction from the bleak reality of the 30's by providing dances on board and social cruises. Early drawings that appeared in Pacific Motorboat magazine, however showed that Peabody's new ferry to be anything but original. In fact, the first drawings of the Kalakala show her  looking not too different from her original incarnation as the Peralta. Whether this was done on purpose by Peabody to make the vessel's debut even more startling or not is up to debate.

Towing the hull up to the Lake Washington Shipyard in 1934, the first indication that the ferry would not end up looking like a pared down, single-ended Peralta was when the hull was shaved down to 55 feet. The superstructure  that started to emerge from the hull was anything but traditional. For starters,  there were no rivets being used the hull was going to be completely smooth  as electro-welding was to be used a first for any ferry in the world.

The process  of electro-welding was in its infancy in 1934. Most of the Atlantic floating palaces of the era were still riveted. The new vessel became the first on Puget Sound to use the technology.

As she began to take shape, her revolutionary design became evident. Everywhere on the Kalakala, were curves from the large portholes that flanked the rounded stern of the ferry to the elegantly curved ladies lounge, to the bench seats on the passenger decks.



Sold in October of 1967 , the Kalakala was moved to Ballard and throughout the fall, winter and spring of 1967-68  had most of her interior gutted. Cannery equipment was installed,  and she was readied for her long trip to Alaska.

From 1968-1971 the Kalakala operated as a floating processing vessel, moving under her own power. In 1971 the engine  blew a piston.   Her owners  tied her up at the Kodiak  dock, but  constant winds threatened to snap the mooring lines. Her owners soon found out what the State of Washington had her big diesel engine was expensive to operate. Rather than repair the vessel, a decision was made to beach the ferry at Gibson Cove and make her a stationary processing plant. Oozed into the mud,the former pride of Puget Sound became a building, processing shrimp and crab until the early 1980s.

The last of the cannery operators went out of business in the early 1980s. Whatever could be taken off and sold was done so at auction in 1984. The Kalakala lay abandoned in the cove, the  elements slowly destroying her. In 1986 Seattle sculptor Peter Bevis while working as a fisherman, caught sight of the ferry stuck in the mud on Kodiak Island. Shown around the boat by her caretaker, Gil Reel, Peter knew the boat had to be saved and returned home. It would another six years before the Kalakala Foundation would be formed, and several more years of work removing over 300 tons of concrete and cannery material, but Bevis would see his dream come true--the Kalakala returned to Seattle after an absence of 30 years.

After several months on the Seattle waterfront, the ferry was moved to Lake Union. While trying to raise funds for complete restoration, Peter Bevis organized work parties on board to help keep the Kalakala from further damage. Once a month the vessel was opened for tours, which took in donations and educated people unfamiliar with the ferry on what a remarkable history the vessel has.

After struggling for years to raise the money, and despite all the best efforts of Bevis and the volunteers,  the Foundation filed for bankruptcy.  The ferry was sold at auction.

In a continuing a surprising twist to her history, the person who was high  bidder on the boat was unable to come up with the funds to pay for her. The Kalakala went to the second highest bidder, who also couldn't come up with the funds to pay for her. Finally, she went to the third high bidder. Owner Steve Rodriguez, tried for months unsuccessful to move her from Lake Union where she had more than worn out her welcome.  Finally   on March 9th she began her journey to Neah Bay, where the Makah Tribe had graciously offered to give the historic vessel free moorage, an  offer soon soured when the Kalakala damaged the pier she was moored too.  The Makah sued as did the Department of Natural Resources. The lawsuits were  later resolved.

On September 24th 2005 the ferry was moved to Tacoma  and there Kalakala has slipped further into decay.  Finally, Rodriguez lost the vessel and it was taken over by the owner of the property on which she is moored.

After nearly sinking on  26 March 2011, the Coast Guard ordered the ferry to more secure moorings.  The new owner has secured her, but she had so deteriorated tit was feared she couldn't be moved safely to dry dock. After years of false hope and varying degrees of efforts to save her, the end finally came.   

On January 6th, 2015, the Kalakala's current owner, Karl Anderson announced that the ferry would require some $25 million to be totally restored.  With that kind of fund raising all but impossible,  the old Seattle icon was scrapped in late January of 2015, passing into the pages of history.




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