WSF offers one last chance to board the Rhody

This weekend Washington State Ferries will make the Rhododendron, which is currently docked in Eagle Harbor, available for visitors to tour one last time.

The 60-year-old ferry that until recently served the Point Defiance-Tahlequah route will be open to visitors at Eagle Harbor off of Bainbridge Island from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Marta Coursey, a spokesperson for WSF, said the agency had hoped to bring the Rhody down to Vashon for a final farewell celebration sometime in February. However, after consulting with members of Vashon’s Ferry Advisory Committee, WSF officials decided the event wasn’t worth the cost.

Coursey said the cash-strapped agency would have to pay to crew the Rhody for a day, to keep the ship’s plumbing going and for fuel.

“The cost was really minimal, but it still felt to most people like a cost they didn’t want to incur,” Coursey said. “We’re in a tough time financially, and it didn’t feel like a good time to do that.”

Coursey said it was important that WSF open the Rhody for a couple of hours since Islanders didn’t have much advance notice of the exact day it would be replaced by the Chetzemoka.

“Just a few of us staff are going to be on board so people can come say goodbye to her,” Coursey said.

WSF’s Eagle Harbor facility is located at 497 Harborview Drive S.E. on Bainbridge. Flat shoes are required to board the Rhody, and rubber soles are strongly recommended. The boat will not be wheelchair accessible.


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