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Jean's View: A ferry story for adults

By Jean Godden

There was a low tide at noon that Friday in May -- minus 1.5 feet, as I recall.

Anxious to reach my weekend retreat on Lummi Island, I had driven past Bellingham to Gooseberry Point. From there I planned to take the Whatcom Chief, the small county ferry that travels once an hour to the island.

I pulled into line at the ferry dock, where I could count 20 cars ahead of me -- almost at capacity for the tiny Chief.

With the tide so far out, the ferry bobbed, low in the water, its landing ramp perilously close to perpendicular. The line of cars moved ahead and it looked like I might make that run, perhaps the last car to board.

I finally reached the top of the steel ramp and inched ahead, only to have the gate suddenly swing down, crashing onto the hood of my car. It hit with jarring impact.

Just then, the ferry worker looked up and saw my predicament. It was obvious he had closed the gate prematurely, unable to spot my car. When he realized his error, he raised the gate and waved me forward.

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