The 7:20 a.m. boat came and went Wednesday with no room to spare.
Hundreds of undaunted Seattle Seahawk fans were left at the Bremerton Ferry Terminal just before sunrise, layered against the chill with 12th Man spirit on their sleeves and on their lips.
The 8:45 ferry to Seattle was just as packed, all 1,800 passenger spaces taken. Happy members of the 12th Man gathered on the fantail to lead a teeth-chattering call-and response.
“SEA!” they hollered as the boat pulled away.
“HAWKS!” shouted their less-fortunate comrades stuck on the waterfront.
And still the line of blue-green humanity snaked along the shores of Sinclair Inlet, thousands deep and more than three blocks long.
“I ain’t never seen anything like this before, that’s for sure,” said Todd Arnold, who has spent some 57 years on the Kitsap Peninsula. Not during previous major sporting events. Not when he caught the ferry to see the Rolling Stones play Seattle in the 1970s.
But Arnold was determined to get his gang of about a dozen family members to Seattle for the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl victory parade.
“Mama says this is a once-in-a-lifetime,” said 9-year-old Kylie Duke, who was part of Arnold’s clan.
She’s young enough that she might be wrong. But her grandpa, who had season tickets in 1978 and has been waiting for this day even longer? You never know.
Key Peninsula resident Ashleigh Crewdson, 25, can’t say she’s loved the Seahawks nearly so long. She said she “held a grudge against football” until she watched last month’s playoff game against the New Orleans Saints with friends.
Call her a 12th Man latecomer, just don’t call her a fair-weather fan — not on a morning when it was barely 25 degrees in the shade and she waited three hours to catch a ferry.
“It’s something to celebrate and, honestly, next season I’m going to watch every game I can,” Crewdson said.
By now the 9:45 boat was loaded and gone, and still the line wrapped around the corner from the ferry landing. Crewdson continued her vigil, as did Arnold, as did a pair of young entrepreneurs from Belfair.
Hope Schintz, 13, and sister Faith, 11, were selling key chains and bracelets they crafted from parachute cord in Seahawk colors. They’re paying their way to summer camp. The girls stood with their dad outside CenturyLink Field for three games this season. They even sold a bracelet to Macklemore; they’ll show you a cellphone photo of the Grammy-winning Seattle singer to prove it.
Sales were not brisk during Wednesday morning’s wait, but the line gradually pulled the Schintzes closer to their destination.
“We’re going to get there, I know we are,” said Hope, her name reflecting her attitude. “We sell most of them to people on the ferry because they’re warm and happy.”
The line held co-workers and friends, classmates and teachers. It held dozens of students from Gig Harbor High School and from Peninsula High — the original home of the Seahawks — enjoying their senior skip day.
It held proud fathers like Mike Burris of Gig Harbor, whose 4-year-old son, Brody, was decked out in a Russell Wilson jersey.
Together with Brody’s grandparents, they waited for the 11:15 ferry that would rescue them and most of the remaining diehards, dropping them in Seattle just in time to see the slow-starting, slow-moving parade.
“He’ll be stoked when he’s older and he realizes what kind of event we took him to,” Burris said. “We’ll be talking about this forever, man.”
Matt Misterek: 253-597-8472