It ended up raining pretty hard on Saturday afternoon, but we were off the water long before then. There were nine paddlers, a mix of SUPs and sea kayaks, all out to see the Kalakala one more time before she gets deconstructed (scheduled to begin this Thursday).
There was a light rain falling at the launch and on and off throughout the paddle. Everything went well though and all had a good time, as far as I could tell. I don’t think many of us paddle much in the northern waterways; it has been years since I’ve made this trip. (Side note: Dick Gilmur boat launch is a great spot to use for anything on that side of the bay.)
There’s not much left of her, and what is still there is rusting away quickly. The closer we got, the more the intriguing art-deco lines became obscured by the blemishes, the rusty upwellings below the leaded paint of her shell, the lattice work of oranging steel that is all that remains of her once-solid decking. Most of the windows are gone (although I saw eight or nine up near the port bow that were still intact), and it looks as though some of the preliminary salvaging has already begun in other sections of the superstructure.
We all paddled around her on each side, taking pictures and remarking to one another how much we would have loved to have seen her in her prime. Like back when she was cutting her regular run between Seattle and Bremerton, looking for all the world like some alien craft or robotic waterbug. It would have been better, we all agreed, if she had been preserved instead of being condemned, but it is easy to see why the decision was made, and the closer you get to her, accepting it becomes easier still.
So, there’s that.