Bremerton ferry on a stormy sea

by John Dwyer (1974)
Sung by John Dwyer

Sung by Susy McAleer and Jean Smith

About an actual historic event. Early navigation was
dependent upon the use of echoes. Some rocks and points of land
had echoboards to reflect the sound of boat whistles.

Come all you Northwest sailors, who cruise on Puget Sound,
And listen to my story, for well it will astound;
'Tis of a ferry captain, who ventured forth one day,
And of the fate befell him, as he sailed on the bay.

The ferry left Seattle, 'twas on a foggy day,
The captain had no worries, for well he knew the way;
He headed 'cross the water, where finny things abound,
And set his course for Bremerton, across famed Puget Sound.

He left Seattle harbor and passed Duwamish Head,
Passed Alki on the port side, and westerly did head,
And now was open water across New Orchard point,
Through fog as thick as chowder the ferry boat did point.

Now all good skippers have a trick, who sail these waters 'round,
And when the fog is thickest, 'tis then they steer by sound;
Full several times a minute, their whistle loud they blow,
And by the echo bouncing, when land is close they know.

The ferry neared Rich Passage, a place of rocks and shoals,
And narrow as an hourglass, as past Point White she goes;
The captain slowed the ferry, and not to run aground,
He blew upon his whistle, and listened for the sound.

Now, a farmer on Point Glover, across the neck from White,
Had tied his cow that foggy morn, upon lush grass to bite;
So several times a minute, the ferry's whistle blew,
And as the captain listened, the echo came back "Moo!"

The captain turned the vessel, still steering by the sound,
And guided by that silly cow, the ferry ran aground;
So all you Northwest sailors, give listen to me now,
And when you cruise on Puget Sound, don't navigate by cow!

Pacific Nothwest Folklore Society