The historic Carlisle II was built in Bellingham in 1917 by Lummi Island Navigation Company and still carriers riders between the Port Orchard and Bremerton waterfront during the week and for special weekend events. The Carlisle II is one of only two remaining boats of Puget Sound's Mosquito Fleet and one of the oldest continuously licensed vessels in the United States.
ATTENTION: You can still hop aborad and ride this historic ship today! The ten-minute sailing travels between the Bremerton and Port Orchard waterfront districts on weekdays and weekends for special events. $2 each way, cash or Orcas cards accepted. Click here for the schedule.
The original Mosquito Fleet was comprised of about 1,000 small, independent boats that transported people, supplies and mail among Puget Sound shoreline communities from the mid-1800s to the 1940s, when the forests were too thick and the ground too wet to build good roads.
The Carlisle II first carried freight and passengers between Bellingham and the Carlisle Packing Company's salmon cannery on Lummi Island. In 1923, it was rebuilt as a tug boat with space for some cars and ran from Gooseberry Point to Lummi and Orcas Island.
The Carlisle II could have gone away had the company realized how much it was going to cost to repair it in 1980, Nearhoff said. Smith put almost $300,000 into the ferry in 2000 and Kitsap Transit completely renovated it again in 2004 with a new engine, generator, wiring and planking.