The very first Victoria Clipper to ever set sail made its last trip from Seattle on Wednesday.
The original ferry, called Clipper One, transported passengers between Seattle and Victoria for 33 years.
“This was the boat that started it all really for over 30 years now, serving this destination,” said a Clipper Vacations’ captain of 25 years, Jason Mihok.
Since 1986, the vessel has moved more than eight million passengers between the two cities, with some famous people aboard.
“We had Bill Clinton on here before he was a presidential candidate and one of my friends said, ‘That guy’s going to be the next president of the United States,” and I’m like, ‘Who is that?’ I’d never even heard of him,” said Mihok, laughing.
Since its maiden voyage, the boat has seen some upgrades, with new electronics and added GPS.
The original clipper was replaced by a bigger and better boat two years ago, the Clipper V.
Belleville terminal manager, Brendan Fletcher, said the new boat is better for the environment. It saves on fuel and requires fewer trips because of its higher capacity.
“The Victoria Clipper which just left held 296 passengers, the Victoria Clipper V has 525 seats on board,” said Fletcher.
According to Mihok, there have been 200 fewer sailings in the past year thanks to the new vessel.
After docking in Seattle for over a year, the first clipper ferry was sold to a buyer in Gabon, Africa.
“It will be going into dry dock, where it will undergo some preparations to be lifted onto a heavy carrier, and transported to Africa that way,” said Fletcher.
Mihok said he’s grateful for the vessel, but that it is time to move on.
“It’s built this company and it’s really served its purpose, but it’s time for it to sail into the sunset.”
This is not the end of the road – or ocean – for the vessel. It will be used for a similar purpose, transporting passengers between two cities in Africa.