Neutral Density
Neutral Density Podcast
Ferry Crossing Elliott Bay

Ferry Crossing Elliott Bay

Field Audio recording on the Bainbridge Island to Seattle Ferry

Here’s just a little audio I recorded on January 27, 2023.

I spent the month of January in Seattle working on a few projects. As my main reason to be there involved doing large-format photography and writing about the Salish Sea, it goes without saying that I spent quite a lot of time on Washington State Ferries. On this particular day, my wife had joined me for a long weekend, and we got up early one morning and caught the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. We explored the Bainbridge Japanese Exclusion Memorial (I’ll share more about that in a future post) and then drove from Bainbridge across the Agate Passage Bridge onto the Kitsap Peninsula, along the Hood Canal to the little towns of Seabeck and Holly.

It was a long, full day of driving in the constant winter rain, so by the time we got back on the ferry in Bainbridge, I was eager to put the cameras away and just enjoy the ferry crossing back across Elliott Bay to Seattle.

I have always loved catching the evening ferry back to Seattle. From the water, the city looks so dramatic and impressive. From most vantage points, the city just looks like a mass that skirts the edge of the water, but from a boat, the city seems to climb up out of the sound to an impressive height. At night, it is always a spectacular cityscape.

The Salish Sea is a relatively recent name for the entire basin that includes Puget Sound, the Hood Canal, the Strait of Juan de Fuca (the main waterway that connects the sea to the Pacific Ocean), and the Strait of Georgia which extends up into British Columbia between the mainland and Vancouver Island. As with many large bodies of water, the lines drawn to distinguish its constituent parts can seem somewhat arbitrary and are largely the result of a history that benefitted from dividing this large inland sea into a variety of distinct segments in two countries. It is a body of water famous for salmon and herring spawns, a great variety of whales, seals, and sea lions not to mention an amazing diversity of bird species. This abundance comes from its unique position on the continental edge, with great rivers flowing down from coastal ranges into its waters and tidal flows mixing seawater in from the Pacific. From an ecological perspective, it represents one of the most fertile and diverse natural areas in North America. And in the 21st Century, it is home to roughly 8.7 million people — a number estimated to grow to 10.5 million by 2040.

I spent an entire month exploring and photographing, and I only began to scratch at the surface. I anticipate at least three more trips before this project is complete. My next trip will focus on the eastern edge of Vancouver Island from Victoria to Campbell River and Vancouver and the mighty Fraser River which reaches the sea in that city.

I hope this little clip of audio on a short ferry ride at the end of a long day transports you to this amazing place in a way that my words and photographs cannot.

Until next time, be well.

Neutral Density
Neutral Density Podcast
Audio accompaniment to Neutral Density: Lost in America with Leland Buck. Field Recording and sound explorations of America's dusty corners.
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Leland Buck