Getting a floating look at South Kitsap history

The floating history of Sinclair Inlet will come alive this Sunday as the Puget Sound Genealogical Society presents its first “Historical Boat Tour of the Mosquito Fleet.”

Led by Bob Ulsh, a member of the Mosquito Fleet Society, the tour will be a three-hour jaunt that follows the route the boats used to take from Gorst to Manchester. Along the way, Ulsh will also be pointing out old boats from the fleet and telling their stories.

Marjory Menees of the Puget Sound Genealogical Society said the idea for the tour was the brainchild of her, Sandie Morrison and Larry Harden.

“We wanted to give people here some feeling of the history of this place,” Menees said, explaining that many residents’ ancestors may have either driven or rode on the fleet’s boats.

Menees said for many years the fleet was the preferred mode of transportation for people and goods around the Puget Sound. She said it earned its name because during its heyday — in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — the ferry fleet had so many boats flitting back and forth that it reminded observers of mosquitos.

Menees said the fleet’s route did travel as far along the South Kitsap Peninsula as South Colby and Southworth, but for this first tour, she said they decided to do a shorter run.

If the first tour proves successful and popular, Menees said, organizers might decide to do the longer route in the future.

The tour will take place on the Admiral Pete, which Menees said offers passengers plenty of comfortable viewing spots.

Ulsh was chosen to narrate the tour, Menees said, because he is very knowledgeable about the fleet, and also a very good storyteller.

A box lunch will also be provided by LeGarmache Restaurant.

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