The ferry terminus is a fishing and lumbering center on the northwest point of Fidalgo Island, connected with the mainland over bridged sloughs. The town is a checkerboard of wide streets, where neat buildings of brick and concrete predominate over old frame structures. Parkways and skillful landscaping distinguish parts of the residential section.
The ferry departs from the ferry landing at the west end of Guemes Channel and heads out into Rosario Strait for the islands. Along the ferry ride there are multiple islands to see.
Guemes Channel is between four and five miles long and connects Padilla Bay with Rosario Strait between Guemes and Fidalgo islands in west central Skagit County. It was named Hornet’s Harbor by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes in 1841 for the Sloop-of-War Hornet, which fought in the War of 1812 under command of Capt. James Lawrence. The Spanish name has been adopted.
Not the least of this region’s marvels is the skill of its navigators, who, during the fall and winter fogs, nimbly trace their way through treacherous passages in the blind mist. It is said that the late Captain Sam Barlow could thrust his head out of the wheelhouse window and with one sniff tell his exact location. Local pilots can determine their ships’ positions in fog-bound waters by the echoes of their whistles from the invisible shores.