Chicago Water Taxi offers transportation for commuters and tourists along the Chicago River. The ships travel between Goose Island and Chinatown daily from Saint Patrick’s Day weekend to December (weather depending).  Photographer Max Thomsen spent a few days following Captain Chloe West, a ten-year veteran of the company, and her crew on the Wendella Ltd. Shuttling folks along the waterway revealed unique views of the city only visible from bow or stern.   v

—Jamie Ramsay

Captain Chloe WestCredit: Max Thomsen
Before the day starts, the crew practices retrieving a ring buoy, part of a Coast Guard safety test.Credit: Max Thomsen
With a few gentle adjustments of the throttles and a spin of the wheel, Captain West pulls the ship in with grace.Credit: Max Thomsen
The Wendella Ltd. waits for kayakers to pass.Credit: Max Thomsen
Reflection of the ship in the River Point building at 444 W. Lake.Credit: Max Thomsen
Two massive John Deere engines power the Wendella Ltd. The engines are cooled with pumps that pull water from the river.Credit: Max Thomsen
West inspects the ship’s two generators.Credit: Max Thomsen
Civic Opera across from the Ogilvie and Union Station stop. According to Senior Deck Hand Dave Ling, there are 75 singing faces on the river side of the building.Credit: Max Thomsen
Deckhand Nick Leon installs a nonslip ramp for passengers to enter and exit the ship.Credit: Max Thomsen
View from below the Congress Parkway BridgeCredit: Max Thomsen
You can catch a glimpse of vintage coach cars in the Amtrak Car Yard along the route to China Town.Credit: Max Thomsen
Credit: Max Thomsen
A view of the Canal Street Railroad Bridge at the China Town stop in Ping Tom Memorial Park.Credit: Max Thomsen
The REI boathouse at the Chinatown stop in Ping Tom Memorial Park rents kayaks to travel the river.Credit: Max Thomsen
Captian Chloe West rides into the sunset on the way to the next stop.Credit: Max Thomsen
The ship is docked overnight at the Ogilvie and Union Station stop.Credit: Max Thomsen