MV Coho departing Victoria’s Inner Harbour for Port Angeles, Washington State. Photo courtesy of Lotus Land Real Estate.
The heritage of today’s Black Ball Ferry Line stretches back to 1816 when a fleet of clipper ships offered the first scheduled transatlantic passenger service between New York and Liverpool under the venerable Black Ball flag.
Black Ball’s M/V Chinook was constructed at Seattle’s Todd Shipyard and was christened in 1936. “The Queen Elizabeth of the Inland Seas”, as she became to be known, was the most modern vessel to grace Puget Sound waters in her day. With her finely raked profile, the ferry certainly looked more like an Atlantic ocean liner than a ferry boat. Her arrow-like profile gave the sensation that she was moving even when standing still. She could load 100 cars and her staterooms could accommodate as many passengers. Chinook was an immediate success.
Today, the Black Ball Line’s M/V Coho, carries passengers, their bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and semi-trailers between Victoria, BC, Canada and Port Angeles, Washington, USA. Depending on the season, the Coho makes between two and four round trips daily. Each crossing of 37 kilometers or 23 miles takes about 90 minutes.
The design of Coho was the basis for that of BC Ferries’ first two ships, the Sidney class Queen of Sidney and Queen of Tsawwassen. She was designed by Philip F. Spaulding & Associates, of Seattle and is named after the coho salmon commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. The Coho was the first large vessel built on the West Coast in 20 years solely with private financing. The vessel was built by Puget Sound Bridge & Dry Dock in Seattle, Washington and made her first sailing to Victoria B.C. on December 29, 1959.
To learn more about the Coho, go to the vessel’s official website.