I moved from Beacon, NY to Seattle, WA on April 1 of 2011. Some friends had kindly offered to let me stay at their place on Bainbridge Island until I found a job and an apartment. Over the next month while I worked at a contract position in downtown Seattle I took the ferry between Seattle and Bainbridge Island.
After commuting over four hours each day between the Metro North and subway having a 35 minute ferry ride twice a day was pure bliss and a bit of quiet that I looked forward to. One similarity between the Hudson Line Metro North and the Bainbridge Island Ferry is the spectacular scenery along its run. The Hudson Line runs right along the river for most of its route and gives you stunning views of several landmarks along the way such as the Tappan Zee Bridge, Storm King Mountain, and Bannerman Castle.
The difference is that instead of staring at it through stained plastic windows as the train sped by the sights at 60mph I could leisurely make my way to the open upper deck as the ferry moved at a much more stately pace. The sheer tonnage of the ferry makes for an extremely stable photographic platform as well. Nothing causes the ferry to pitch in the water (except as local rumor has it, the nuclear submarines passing through Puget Sound on their way to and from the Naval base at Kitsap) so the ride is always smooth.
Except when its pulling into port at either end the vista from the ferry is primarily about the sky. Seattle almost always has spectacular skies for photography. Being out in the middle of Puget Sound gives you a sweeping view in all directions with Mt. Rainier to the South, the Cascades to the East behind Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains to the West. Seattle isn’t a very large city or a very tall city so it quickly recedes into the distance and becomes dominated by the mountains behind it.
After suffering through two years of commuting on the Metro North I couldn’t have asked for a nicer way to greet the city first thing in the morning than taking the ferry.