August 11, 2006


Wow – checked that research – I was pretty off base. While I believe the bulkheads can’t help the data does indicate pretty substantial erosion with the Chinook class passenger vessels. Looks like the Spirit is better. Thanks again for your info


August 10, 2006


Well, so much for my hyperbole tactic. Thank you for the fast response. I understand the dilemma. Thanks. I’ll review the data and try to be more open minded.


August 10, 2006


I’ve read a lot of the negative feedback at  – funny how folks blame the boats for their beach erosion. It’s their bulkheads that cause their beaches to erode – DUH!

I live on Hood Canal and I commute daily to Seattle. I bring back good money to the Kitsap Mason area and we need better passenger FAST transit to Seattle/Bremerton. Period. These idiots complaining about their beaches are fools. Tear down the bulkheads instead of impacting hundreds of people that are trying to get to work to feed their families and improve their communities.

My family owns about 1500 feet of beach on Hood Canal. None of it has bulkheads. The beach erodes and builds back up over the seasons naturally and plenty of boats pass back and forth. A few neighbors have bulkheads – their beaches are constantly eroded. Rich passage is all bulkheaded – lets stop kidding ourselves. The bulkheads are THE ISSUE. Place the blame where it belongs, on the bulkheads, not the boats.

Let’s get FAST passenger service in place now – enough is enough from the idiots with bulkheads blaming the boats.


Brad Lambert, Tahuya WA



July 9, 2006


Thanks to you and Luis for devoting the time you did to our meeting on June 30, and also your follow-up letter and information..  Dagmar and I have discussed and given thought to the matter, and we have decided that we prefer not to have our property included in the proposed addition of beach nourishment materials.


I assume you will take whatever steps are needed to exclude our beach from the program, and, if necessary, to modify the permit application.


Thanks again for your time and your very courteous and professional explanations to and discussion with me.




Dick Goff, Pleasant Beach



January 26, 2006


Thank you for your perseverance in getting us a CD-ROM copy of your Phase 1 Study report.  The results are clear & the report is well written.  I recognized partial derivatives, but I had long ago forgotten about haver-trig and Lagrange.  Using color coding is very communication-efficient. By trial & error, I conclude that two PDF formats are used in the CD-ROM.  Acrobat Reader 5 is sufficient to open the Appendix, but at least Adobe Reader 6, or 7, is needed for the Report.  Ah, the joys of rapidly changing IT … especially for a slide-rule technician.


I offer the following thoughts & comments, based mostly on multi-year & very repetitive Rich Passage observations:


Successful POFF operations through Rich Passage must simultaneously satisfy several complex & interacting variables.  Most of them are still only partially understood.  In addition to physical, technical, geologic & biologic issues, economic & political concerns are at least equally important.


Parallel to a major portion of Point White Drive, any alongshore beach transport is affected by natural, but opposing forces of wind and tidal currents.  Winds are usually SW to NE & tidal currents are always NE to SW with strong floods & weak ebbs, but still in the same direction.  Winds are obviously stronger in winter.  Alongshore transport by whatever mechanism is also a likely function of water level, & tides are highest in winter.  Due to varying local tidal currents, the beaches at either end of Pt White Dr (at or near Point White itself and in the bay near Lynwood Center) do not routinely experience these natural opposing wind-tide patterns.


In local Rich Passage areas, there are sometimes seasonal changes in beach slope profiles, presumably driven by wind & tide variations.  However, I observe that year-round, reduced-slope beach profiles are more likely to be caused by high speed boat wakes than by natural forces.  Down-slope migration of material can occur at any water level.  Maximum erosion at bulkhead faces occurs at higher tide levels that are just short of the toe of bulkheads, with less than a meter of beach surface exposed above tide line.  Especially during Chinook/Snohomish operations, significant slope changes occurred at many Rich Passage locations in a short time.  Near shore gravel was mostly moved down slope to, or somewhat seaward of, the lowest low-tide line.  Erosion near shore and accretion near the low tide line both contributed to decreased beach slopes.  Simultaneously, there was much less obvious alongshore transport on beaches along Point White Drive, except right at Point White which was scoured down to hardpan & has never recovered.


Based on all Rich Passage POFF operations & tests so far, it seems that any POFF-sized vessel that is at least partially displacement supported (not completely foil-borne) will generate multiple long period wakes-waves per transit.  Even at relatively low energy levels, such long period wake-waves are likely to cause beach-slope reductions, at least in semi-local “hot-spots”.  With multi-daily operations over a period of years, similar undesirable changes may also occur more generally.  For any partial-displacement hull at high speed, optimizing for minimum wake energy will be ultra-sensitive to operating in a narrow band of pitch trim.  When operating in regular service, it would be normal for there to be significant variations in a POFF’s longitudinal center of gravity.  There are also likely to be significant differences in a ferry captain’s detailed attention to pitch trim.  Therefore, in order to minimize wake damages to the shoreline of Rich Passage, I believe that an automated system for pitch trim will be mandatory.  Without such an automated system, shorefront property owners will always be skeptical about the actual operational procedures being used for each ferry transit.  For the same reasons & as a function of operating speed, automated limits for x-y track control, and for turn radii will likely also be required.  Wake & wave generation/ propagation while turning is a major variable that needs much more understanding before credible turn radii limits could rationally be promulgated.


Mitigation of wake damage by some future POFF system may appear to some as a reasonable economic option.  Who will decide whether, where, & when mitigation is deserved or needed?  And if deemed necessary, who will decide what kind, & how much mitigation is sufficient?  How will unavoidable disputes be resolved?  Let’s focus all of our collective energies on POFF solutions that do not require mitigation.


With respect to the proposed PIE plan to “nourish” selected beaches for the next phase of POFF-related studies, under what circumstances will you actually proceed, & when?  I believe it is often not a good idea to “mess with Mother Nature”.  Even if primary research goals are achievable, unintended consequences usually occur.  With the building of multiple bulkheads around Rich Passage, some unintended consequences probably have already occurred.


What is the earliest date that you foresee more testing of Spirit (or some other POFF vessel) in Rich Passage?


As your research efforts continue to progress, I share your enthusiasm for learning more about potential, successful POFF operations in Rich Passage.  Thank you for continuing to maintain communications with Rich Passage property owners.




Don Bennett, Point White, Bainbridge Island



January 18, 2006


It was a pleasure meeting you this evening at the McDonald’s home. Thank for an informative and well presented update on what’s in the works for Point White’s beach.


Here’s a bit of info for you (FYI we have owned two homes on Point White Dr since 1998):


3270 Point White Drive: We moved to Bainbridge Island in July, 1998 – just a few days after the Coho began operation.


The 3270 house was situated on medium-high bank with a 1.5:1 slope down to a stone seawall. The south facing wall of the house was approximately only 40’ behind and upslope from the seawall.


By the summer of 1999, having suffered fall, winter and spring Coho high-speed operation, we were seeing shifting and settling of the seawall – and lateral and vertical movement of the posts and foundations of a 450 SF deck on the water side of the home above the seawall.


We hired SeaLevel Bulkhead Builders (Craig Reynolds 360/297-2401) who obtained permits and rebuilt the stone seawall. As I recall, SeaLevel removed the existing stones, deepened the keyway and rebuilt the wall to a slightly higher top elevation – as well as buttressed the slope above with quarry spalls.


Once the bulkhead was repaired we reinforced the deck understructure and platform.


A note of curious interest: SeaLevel landed their barge on the beach complete with grapple excavator, wall stone and spalls. The barge rested on the beach for approximately one week+. The Coho was running during this time. When the barge was removed there remained in its footprint a platform of beach aggregates standing 4” to 6” proud above all surrounding beach in front of our property and the properties on either side.


We sold 3270 in 2001 (we owned 3270 and 3080, concurrently, for a period of approximately 14-months).


3080 Point White Drive: We purchased this home in late 1999. The seawall is timber.


By late 2001 the bottom planks of the wall were undercut into hard blue clay, by as much as 17”.


In February we engaged Puget Sound Permitting & Planning to obtain the necessary permits for beach nourishment.


We hired Caicos General Marine Contractors (Dave Berry 842-9678) to place approximately 244 tons of beach nourishment on the 108’ of beach. (Interestingly, Caicos used their tugboat but SeaLevel’s barge, excavator and crew to perform the placement work).


Our neighbor, Will Smart, had similar work done by Caicos concurrent with ours.


Our HPA required the beach nourishment work to be completed by March 14, 2002.


The beach nourishment placed on our and Smart’s beaches was approximately 4”/6” minus cobbles, gravel and coarse sand.


Initial movement and redistribution of the gravel to the south (toward Rich Passage) seemed to occur within the first several months. Gravel movement toward the water then stabilize.


Although it varies, the average depth of gravel against our seawall has remained (mid-wall) at about 4’ [pre-nourishment (-)1’; post-nourishment (+)3’].


On the whole, the beach nourishment has performed fairly well for us. It moves longitudinally with the seasons. But much of it is still there – nearly four years later.


You can check with him, but I don’t think Will Smart would give his beach nourishment as high marks. I would attribute this to too small aggregate size and his (and McDonald’s) exposure to the high energy of ebb tide current closer to the beach.


From my observations, our property is at the westerly end of that portion of Point White that benefits from the reverse current; Smart and McDonald are not.


Another observation: ebb tide currents are more damaging than flood tide currents – when combined with prevailing S/SW wind and aggressive wakes from certain types of passing vessels.


I look forward to further communications with you and information in this matter.




Bernie Conley, Point White, Bainbridge Island


January 5, 2006


Thanks very much for replying so thoroughly to our present fast ferry comments/concerns.  We knew that you were unavailable until JAN, so we did not expect a reply until about now.


How can we get, or where can we read, a copy of Rich Passage Passenger Only Ferry Study – Phase 1, April 2005?  It sounds as if it would be of interest to us.  Is that the most current summary report, or are there others after April, ‘05?


Henceforth, we will abandon undertow & attempt to convert appropriately to a swash & backwash.  Thanks for the terminology clarification.  From our observations at all tide levels, each fast-ferry long-period wake wave seems to backwash before it swashes … ??


Have you decided on the days, times, & exact locations of your next community meetings?


Don & Chris Bennett, Point White Drive NE, Bainbridge Island



March 21, 2006


I live along pleasant beach.  I notice the noise from the passenger only ferries.  Is anyone studying the decibel level of these ferries?


Jon Zulauf, Pleasant Beach



January 10, 2006


Alas, while beach erosion and habitat protection have a politically active constituency, noise is of little concern to anyone not directly affected. As an engineer (by training), I am aware of the need for standards and typical criteria. As a light sleeper, I am aware of the fact that we humans can be sensitive to noise well below 75 dB @ 100 m.


So it goes. <smile>


Thanks for your good work.

Ken Sethney, South Beach, Bainbridge Island