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Southeast marine shuttle offers service in Puget Sound

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2001

HAINES (AP) -- A marine shuttle service that moves passengers between Haines, Skagway and Juneau during summer months is using its vessels this winter in Puget Sound.

Chilkat Cruises last month began offering weekend shuttle service between Port Townsend, Wash. and Seattle.

Chilkat Cruises is owned by Klukwan Incorporated, a Native village corporation.

The Chilkat Express, a 63-passenger vessel, makes the 34-mile trip from downtown Port Townsend to Seattle's Pier 69 in slightly less than an hour, according to a company press release.

The boat will offer single Port Townsend-based round trips on Fridays and twice-daily trips on weekends through March.

Klukwan President Ron Gelbrich told the Chilkat Valley News of Haines that the service will keep at least one of the company's three-vessel fleet busy through the winter.

''If the demand is there, we'll use more,'' he said.

The company's 150-passenger Fairweather Express and Fairweather Express II also are based in Port Townsend this winter.

The Fairweather ships provide daily summer shuttle service between the three upper Lynn Canal cities. The Chilkat Express was custom built for runs between Skagway, Haines and Glacier Point, where a Haines company provides excursions.

If the Puget Sound runs are successful, Gelbrich said, the company may build an additional vessel to continue the service.

All three ships are available for charters in the Puget Sound area through March.



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