Watching the water: Herron Island ferry Charlie Wells passing


10:28 AM: For water-watchers: Longtime WSB’er MIWS (Mike) tips us that the small private ferry serving Herron Island in the South Sound, Charlie Wells, will be passing West Seattle a bit later this morning. It’s headed to drydock in Ballard and as of this writing shows it northbound in Colvos Passage between west Vashon and east South Kitsap, so it’s likely to come into view near Blake Island before too long. If you happen to get a photo, please share – we might not get down to the water in time. (Here’s a 2013 Flickr pic.)

12:47 PM: Thanks to Greg for the photo we’ve added above!

8 Replies to "Watching the water: Herron Island ferry Charlie Wells passing"

  • Ginny October 16, 2016 (1:18 pm)

    Thanks for the picture. My family owned property on Herron Island back in the mid 1960’s to 1970’s.  I have many happy memories of riding on that little ferry, or maybe it was the Annabelle, not sure. 

  • GretchenF October 16, 2016 (2:07 pm)

    Good ole Charlie Wells – first a deckhand on the Herron Island ferry and later the captain in the 1960’s, the namesake for this boat! A real character.

  • miws October 16, 2016 (4:11 pm)

    Ginny, Gretchen, we may have run into each other back in the day! We had property there from 1959-71. 

    Yes, the Annabelle S was the original ferry, now a live-aboard moored (last I knew) near  Murray Morgan/11th St Bridge in Tacoma, after some years stuck in the mud flats in Shelton.

    Capt Harold Patricio was the Skipper (original, AFAIK) back then:

    This should look familiar:

    The above is a 1966 windshield decal that identified Island residents to the ferry crew.


  • GretchenF October 17, 2016 (11:03 am)

    Ha! Small world! We may indeed, have crossed paths.My husband’s family bought property there around 1957 and my parents bought a lot in the late 60’s (both on the west side). Many fond memories were born on Herron Island!

    • Ginny October 17, 2016 (12:10 pm)

      It was our summer playground. Trailer and tent camping. We had a small wooden boat and once I water skied around the whole island! My brothers  (also skiing) loved to follow the ferry boat to catch the wake. As teenagers, my brother and I played cards and hung out with Calvin and Mike. I think our property was on the west side too.

  • Tom H October 17, 2016 (1:01 pm)

    My folks had a place on the west side of the island from about 1958 thru the early seventies. They became pretty good friends with the Patricios and were known to have an occasional snort with Charlie. Later, nineties, close friends had a place there, allowing us to return from time to time.

  • miws October 17, 2016 (4:31 pm)

    Near as I can figure, our cabin was on West Herron Blvd, the address now known as 413.  Back then it was a double lot, the undeveloped  part at the NE  corner of W. Herron & W. Madrona. It now appears to be three lots. This  speculation comes from the house number on a photo  I have of what our cabin looks like as of about 2007 when he and his wife visited  the Island, and looking at the plat map from the Herron Is website.  Last time  was there was Aug 1977 when I went over with my guardian and her husband on a “Sunday Drive”.  

     I was hoping Charlie and/or his son Joe, who had been a deckhand after Charlie became Captain, would be on the Annabelle and would recognize me. Apparently, Charlie was on a day off/vacation so no familiar faces. Threw  some Island names around, including  the Kirks, who ran the store, and the acting Captian said “Okay, pay your dollar (Island guest fare) and come on board.”

    I also remember hanging out with Capt Harold and Loretta at their place overlooking the ferry dock. 

    Here’s one pic of our cabin back in the day:

    Mike (Stahl) 

  • miws October 17, 2016 (4:37 pm)

    Yeah, small world indeed! Even with lifetime/longtime Seattle are residents I have to describe where it is. Many aren’t aren’t familiar with the Key Peninsula, let alone the community of Home.  I think Purdy works as a reference point for some, but I usually end up using Gig Harbor or even Tacoma as landmarks. 

    Tom H, were your parents’ names L & L, basically male and female versions of the same name? 


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