Cascadia Ferries: Whittier to San Francisco?

Have you ever taken a ferry in the Pacific Northwest? travelled over the waters of Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, or Northern California? If so, I may have made a map you'll enjoy.

Just for fun, I decided to draw out a little map with some of the ferry routes and stops that might exist and do exist all the way from Whittier, Alaska, to San Francisco, California. Take a look and click for a closer view:

I named the image "Cascadia ferries" because this is what the U.S./Canada bio-region of the Pacific Northwest has often been called - Cascadia. It's a very poetic name, and it has lent itself a movement for political independence for the region, as unlikely as that prospect might be. If Cascadia did come to exist, I would love for it to have a ferry system.

North of Bellingham, all of the routes I drew already exist, run either by the Alaska Marine Highway System or by BC Ferries. I didn't put all of the routes and stops on the map - probably not even half - but I tried to pick out the major places.

Washington State Ferries are an interesting bunch: I believe it's one of the biggest ferry systems in the world according to capacity, but it only runs within Puget Sound, and only one route goes over to Canada.

As far as I can find out, there aren't any ferries at all that run along the open ocean coast of Washington, Oregon and California, so my stops and routes from Aberdeen to San Francisco are all imagined. I believe the first reason there aren't any ferries would be Highway 101, which is to say that people can more easily drive between these places than they could take a boat. The other reason might be that an all-open-ocean route may just be too rough. Although ferries do cross rough waters all the time, like Hecate Strait or the Gulf of Alaska, it does require a certain higher level of ship to handle effectively.

In any case, even if it might never happen, I think it would be awesome to be able to take a ferry all the way from Whittier to San Francisco. As it is, you can go from Whittier to Bellingham using the Alaska Marine Highway, but you have to change ferries once. Now I leave you with an image of the M/V Columbia I took while fishing with my girlfriend and her dad last summer. Let me know what you think of my map, and leave a comment if you love ferries!

the M/V Columbia in Tongass Narrows

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