The Kulshan probably has the unique distinction of being one of the most disliked
ferries to ever sail Puget Sound waters.  While a dependable boat, she was never
popular.  Her open deck and flattened profile was often greeted with, "That's the
uglist ferry I've ever seen" by many a commuter used to full service ferries with large
passenger cabins and galley service. The
Kulshan didn't have either.

The ferry had started her career as the
Crown City, for the San Diego-Coronado
ferry company.  Open decks were fine for San Diego, where many a plea
sant sunny
and temperate afternoon would be spent walking the open car deck, but it wasn't
much use in Washington State.  Added to that, the propensity for most passengers
aboard WSF vessels, once on the boat, is to "go upstairs" and stretch out a bit.


Not so on the
Kulshan, although you could wander the car deck and peer over the
side at the foaming Sound.


Normally she haunted the Clinton, Whidbey Island, to Mukilteo route,
the Kulshan
found her way to Hood Canal for a time after the bridge sank, where the barge-like
ferry
rolled heavily when conditions got rough--which they often do on the Canal.
Winds are funneled down the narrow body of water, and can kick up very heavy
seas
.   It was just such a condition (along with the a slack tide) that sank the bridge
in the first place.  It wasn't uncommon to see
a green-faced passenger in their car
as the
Kulshan rolled and pitched her away across a stormy Hood Canal.
 

The ferry achieved a little  bit of immortality while working on Puget Sound.  The
Kulshan  was rented out for the filming of An Officer and a Gentleman.  The ferry
was featured
prominently as actress Deborah Winger walked the deck, the Kulshan
motoring aimlessly up and down the Canal.

The State sold the ferry to the Coast Guard in 1982 for a hefty profit, and she went
out to New York under the name of
Governor, working from Governor's Island to
New York City. (The Coast Guard isn't known for giving ferries imaginative names,
from what I've been told.)


From the early 1980's into the early 1990's the old
Kulshan sailed that route.  She
made her last sailing for the Coast Guard on 26 July 1997, and was sold shor
tly
thereafter.


Somewhere along the line a rumor got circulated that the
Kulshan had somehow
managed to get sunk by the Coast Guard.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

A quick of check of the online Coast Guard records easily dispelled this.  It is very
much still working, as a reserve ferry, for Transportation Authority at Martha's
Vineyard, generally working mostly in the summers.


Still under the name
Governor, the slightly modified Kulshan is wrapping up her
career for the Steamship Authority.  Her replacement is under construction, and
when it arrives, the ferry, now over 60 years of age, will likely be sold for scrap.

M.V. KULSHAN
Official Number: 267527  Call Sign: WF6787  Length: 242' 1.5"  Engines: 2  Beam: 65'1.5" Horsepower: 1,200   Draft: 11' 6''
Speed in Knots: 13 Max Passengers: 350
Propulsion: Diesel-Electric(DC)  Max Vehicles: 65  Gross  Tonnage: 678   City Built: Oakland, CA   

Auto Deck Clearance:16'0"  Year Built/Re-built: 1954
Name Translation: From the Lummi/Nooksack language: Great White Watcher, the name for Mt. Baker
T
he Kulshan is just about ready to report  for service in this photo from 1969. Photo courtesy of Brandon Moser.
The Kulshan about to dock in Mukilteo.  The flat top,
cabinless boat would soon be moved away from the route
and then retired.   At right, how she looks today working at
Martha's Vineyard.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
1. The Crown City as she looked in the 1950's. Courtesy of Brandon Moser. 2. The Kulshan working at Point Defiance. Courtesy of Jon Hartog. 3. Postcard shot of the ferry arriving at Mukilteo. 4. Postcard shot of the Kulshan at Columbia Beach with the first Chetzemoka. 5. Docked at Mukilteo. 6. Nice 3/4 shot, courtesy of Tom Sanislo. 7. Live camera shot of the Governor arriving at Martha's Vineyard.