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Vashon Ferry Terminal

The trip from Seattle to Vashon Island (and beyond) requires a ferry. As the ferry traverses the Puget Sound, on either bow the gently rolling sea is enclosed by dark wooded shores and the occasional tawny face of a sheer bluff. This passage cuts across active shipping channels for container ships headed to ports deeper within Puget Sound and for local fishing and recreational craft moving along the sound.

Prior to the current ferry system, there was the Black Ball Line,  a privately run ferry system that operated in the Puget Sound from 1928 to the early 1950s. Today, vehicle and walk-on passengers take the Fauntleroy–Vashon ferry in West Seattle, operated by Washington State Ferries, which has been operating the ferry system since the early 1950s. For the current schedule and fares, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries. Travelers coming from points west of Vashon  leave from the Southworth terminal and those coming from Seattle and points east leave from Fauntleroy. The ferry system has long been an integral part of traveling to points west in the Puget Sound. Passengers walk on, bike on, and drive on, continuing their journeys on the other side.

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Fauntleroy ferry terminal/East Passage

Vashon Island divides Puget Sound into two parts, the East Passage and West Passage, also known as Colvos Passage. The Fauntleroy ferry crosses the East Passage, which ends at the northern entrance to Commencement Bay and is also the main route for shipping on Puget Sound. North bound traffic is on the east side, south bound on the west side, with a separation zone between the shipping lanes. The East Passage is deeper than the West (Colvos) Passage, reaching depths of 112 fathoms (672 feet).

Southworth ferry terminal/Colvos Passage

Colvos Passage, a.k.a. West Passage, is between Vashon Island in King County on the east side and Kitsap and Pierce Counties on the west side. It is 14 mileslong (the average width of a mile).Colvos was the name given by Cmdr. Charles Wilkes, for Midshipman George W. Colvocoressis, a member of the Wilkes Expedition. The present name was charted later by U.S. Coast Survey, and is in more general use than the name chosen by Wilkes.