Now that Port Townsend/Jefferson County has named one of the new 64-car ferries, it’s Whidbey Island’s turn.
The state Transportation Commission approved the name “Chetzemoka” for the first ferry for the first new ferry. It’s being built at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle and will join the Port Townsend-Keystone route next summer.
Chetzemoka was a Klallam chief and was recommended by the Jefferson County Historical Society. Now the Island County Historical Society and Swinomish Tribe are touting Squi qui, says Jeff Chew of the Peninsula Daily News. Squi qui was a key figure in the Lower Skagit Tribe that occupied central Whidbey Island in the mid-1800s.
I love these names. Even if they weren’t historically significant, they’re fun to say. Try is. Cet-ze-mo-ka. Swin-o-mish. Squi-qui. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for the third boat. That one will run between Point Defiance and southern Vashon, so it’ll probably be some historic Indian from down there.
Chew says the Keystone Ferry Advisory Committee gathered some other possible names for the second boat. One is “Mary Margaret Haugen” the state senator from Camano Island who was so influential in getting the ferries built. Here are some others:
Snakelum, after Coupeville’s Chief Snakelum
Calista, after a steamer once operated by Coupeville sea captain Howard Lovejoy
Skookumchuck, the Chinook jargon word for rough, fast-moving waters
Leschi, after a ferry that served Kirkland and Seattle in the 1930s
Defiance, after Point Defiance
Haida, for the Haida Tribe
The Salish Sea
The state is also looking for a name of the class of 64-car boats. They’re based on the Island Home ferry that operates in Massachusetts, but they don’t want to keep that name. Other classes in Washingtoin State Ferries are Issaquah, Super, Jumbo and Jumbo Mark II, for example.
At the governor’s suggestion, WSF is having a contest with fourth-grade students from Chimacum, Port Townsend and Whidbey Island to name the new ferry class. Fourth-graders were chosen because they’re studying Washington state history. Submissions are due in mid-December. A panel from the governor’s office, Department of Transportation and the communities will select a winner by mid-January.