When the Sound Ferry System built the Quillayute in 1927 they had little idea that a mere year later their company would be absorbed by the Puget Sound
Black Ball put her to work on the Kingston-Edmonds-Port Ludlow run where she stayed pretty much until the Bay Ferries with their larger capacity came on
line. She then moved to Point Defiance and then up into the San Juan Islands,where she worked alongside the Vashon and on the international route between
Anacortes and Sidney, B.C.
Not part of the sale to the State of Washington in 1951, Captain Peabody had the ferry reconditioned and sent up to Canada to be part of his new ferry
service out of Horseshoe Bay. The Quillayute entered service looking basically like she always had, the only major change to her profile being the closing in of
her car deck windows into a line of portholes.
With the Chinook II and Kahloke added to the fleet, the larger vessel took over Black Ball's main route between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo, freeing up
the Quillayute to work the smaller runs with less traffic. For a number of years the ferry worked the Earl's Cove-Saltery Bay run.
B.C. Ferries picked up the Quillayute along with the other ferries of the Black Ball Fleet when they took over operations in 1961.
As with all aging vessels, mechanical woes began to plague the ferry. Constructed completely of wood, she became steadily more costly to keep in good
running condition. The final straw came In 1963 when the ferry struck a dead head, punching a hole through her wooden hull planks. Her captain had to
ground her on a sand bar to keep her from sinking.
As the new ferry system built up its fleet, the Quillayute became less and less of an asset. With her all wood construction, limited carrying capacity and
mechanical woes, B.C. Ferries wisely disposed of the little ferry.
The Quillayute was converted into a floating fish camp and renamed Samson IV. She served in that capacity for the next 37 years.
The Sampson IV was reported broken up in June 2003, with the folding of Samson Marine Resources Inc., ending the dual career of a highly successful
The Quillayute leaves Point Defiance in August of 1942 . From the author's collection. Photo at right, the Quillayute arriving at Horseshoe Bay. Author's collection.
Official Number: 193305 Built: 1927 by the Winslow Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Co. for Sound Ferry Lines
Length: 160' 9" Beam: 52' Draft: 13' 2" Gross Tons: 986 Net Tons: 670 Auto Capacity: 36 Passenger Capacity: 600
Propulsion: Washington Estep Diesel Horsepower: 750 Service Speed: 10 knots
A very rare photo shows the Quillayute working for her original owners, Sound Ferry Line, docked at Port Ludlow. Author's collection.
A number of B.C. Ferries have been made into floating
fish camps upon their retirement. The George S. Pearson
and, more recently, the Queen of the Islands were made into
The Quillayute might have been the most successful,
serving from her retirement until 2003.
Taken in 1974, the Quillayute is shown here as the
Samson IV. In later years she would be painted blue and
white. Photo courtesy of the City of Richmond.