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Photo Details
Photographer:Kyle Stubbs [View profile]Title:KALAKALAAdded:Jan 24, 2015
Captured:January 24, 2015IMO:UnavailableHits:2,155
Location:Tacoma, United States
Photo Category: Scrapyard Ships
Originally launched as the San Francisco Bay ferry PERALTA in 1926, she burned as the result of arson in 1933. Though her superstructure was a total loss, the hull was still sound, and was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company (PSNC), or Black Ball Line, to be rebuilt. What emerged from the Lake Washington Shipyards in 1934 bearing the name KALAKALA (supposedly a Chinook word meaning "bird") was a unique, streamlined, art deco ferry. While mostly steel, the bridge and wheelhouse were constructed of copper to avoid interference with the ship's compass. She would make history in 1946 with FCC license #001 for the first commercial radar suite. Known for an odd vibration that was eventually cured with a new propellor, and for several other ungainly characteristics, she gained such nicknames as "The Silver Slug," "Galloping Ghost of the Pacific Coast," and "Kackerlacka."

After many years of service, though still distinctive, she was outdated, resulting in her retirement and sale in 1967, when she headed to Alaska to become a processing vessel, eventually being landlocked near Kodiak in 1970.

In 1998, a team set out to save her, getting the old ferry successfully afloat and towed to Seattle. However, despite intentions, some good, and some questionable, restoration never progressed, and she moved from place to place around Puget Sound, eventually being designated a hazard to navigation by the US Coast Guard in 2011.

At the beginning of 2015 it was announced that the current owner, who spent on considerable sum stabilizing the ship's moorings after coming into possession of her, planned to move her to a graving dock in Tacoma to be scrapped at some date near the end of January this year.

Seen being dismantled at Concrete Technology Corporation's graving dock on the Blair Waterway.
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Photo Comments (5)

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MattyBoy on Jan 25, 2015 12:11 (4 years ago)
Ha,ha - yes, tvtech. Now that description does fit well !!
tvtech on Jan 25, 2015 11:58 (4 years ago)
Nailed it MattyBoy!!!

Sierra always reminded me of a Halloween pumpkin when viewed from the front...

MattyBoy on Jan 25, 2015 11:35 (4 years ago)
Like the Ford Sierra. Her shape was ahead of her time.
PHa on Jan 25, 2015 08:16 (4 years ago)
Pls see "This Ship":
Regards Peter
Mr. DOT on Jan 24, 2015 20:56 (4 years ago)
sad, perhaps it is time we put her out of her misery! but preserve what we can! mrdot.
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