Saturday, April 13, 2013

A March visit to the Emerald City...

Or how we lucked out with few days of late winter and early spring sunshine in Seattle…

Catherine and I had a chance to spend a several days in Seattle taking care of Stonerose and fire department business as well as a few personal chores. Getting by with a little help from our friends included our lodging on the waterfront of Elliott Bay seen in this image with Bell Harbor Marina as part of the front yard.

Seattleites’ like those of us residing in Ferry County, enjoy complaining about the weather but we found the daily sunny periods good chances to walk, cycle or capture a few photographs of the neighborhood as this one of dawn over the Olympic Mountains seen from our abode.

A new feature of Seattle's waterfront is what they are calling The Seattle Great Wheel, a Ferris wheel standing 175 feet tall and carrying 42 fully-enclosed gondolas. Each gondola seats up to eight people, meaning the wheel can hold over 300 passengers at any given time. The wheel extends nearly 40 feet beyond the end of the pier, over Elliott Bay, is open year round and weighs 280,300 pounds.

Enjoyed capturing this image of two of the Northwest's icons: a section of the Pike Place Market and one of the Washington State Ferries heading on a crossing to Bainbridge Island.

Catherine and I on the western Market Place stairs (and outdoor elevator) on one of the sunny afternoons.

Part of the Seattle waterfront seen from the Space Needle observatory. Looking closely one may note the Great Wheel just before the Ferry Landing. The commercial port area lays further south in the background of this image.

Catherine in our digs enjoying another sunset over Elliott Bay and the distant Olympic Mountains.


One of the Argosy tour vessels on an evening dinner cruise along the Seattle waterfront. During this visit to "The Emerald City" we did splurge for the Argosy Ballard Locks tour (more on that later)... 

Another dawn on the waterfront of Elliott Bay looking into Bell Harbor Marina near a historical point of interest for any of us naval buffs. This sculpted tower, erected on National Maritime Day 1961, marks the spot where the U.S. Navy's "Great White Fleet" anchored in 1908 during their famous 46,000 mile world cruise.

Lake Union, seen in this image from the Space Needle is in the heart of Seattle. Catherine and I did a leisurely bicycle ride along what is known as the West Lake area, a nautical community of small marinas, boat brokers, houseboat neighborhoods and chandlery shops.

Catherine walking her bike along an abandoned rail pathway on West Lake, which serves part of the Seattle houseboat community.

This row of quaint mailboxes nearly grown into the surrounding shrubs are also part of the houseboat neighborhood.

And one of the boardwalk pathways to a number of the houseboats on located West Lake Union in Seattle.

It was during our cycle along the lake that we chanced upon the sailing vessel ZODIAC laying pier side at the southern end of the lake. The ZODIAC is a beautiful, old, wooden sailing vessel I've had the chance to photograph while it was traveling in the San Juan Islands under sail. Neither of us had ever seen the vessel up close.

As it worked out while Catherine and I paused on our bikes and stood admiring the ZODIAC her watchmate, Don came on deck and began a conversation with us. When Don heard that Catherine serves as secretary to the Rickey Point Sail Club and I the commodore he insisted we come aboard for an 'informal' tour. In this image Don and Catherine are in the galley of the schooner ZODIAC.

The ZODIAC is 160 feet long, 26 feet beam, displacing 145 tons and was launched in 1924. The vessel is currently used for charter, research and education. Don captured this image of Catherine and I at the crew's dining table in the ZODIAC.

Here is an image I caught through a pilothouse portal of the ZODIAC looking aft onto her starboard deck.

The dedication plaque in the ZODIAC placing the vessel on the national historic register.

And this last image of the ZODIAC is of the earliest known photograph of the vessel under full sail. This framed image is hanging on a gang-way wall of the vessel itself.

Nicknamed the Ballard Locks, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, seen in this image beyond the railroad bridge, was constructed in 1911 and provides a link for boats sailing between the salt water of Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal connecting Lake Union and Lake Washington.

Catherine and I plan on piloting our sailing Vessel AQUILA thru these locks within the next few years and had been wanting to see how they worked. Thus when the opportunity presented itself to join Argosy Cruise for a tour of the locks we went for it. My 1st mate is seen here sharing the heave line for the shoreside tie with our tour guide Tray.

The vertical lifting capacity of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks is up to 20' but each lift of each passage is dependent on tides. Here our Argosy tour vessel is poised at the opening gate, facing eastwards and ready for a passage from saltwater into the freshwater confines of the Ships Canal and eventually Lake Union.

The next day Catherine and I returned to the locks for a walk through the surrounding gardens and some time spent watching various vessels make the passage on both the westerly and easterly points of sail.

This restored trawler is making an easterly passage in the smaller of the two locks.

Besides the locks themselves the facility has other features including a fish-ladder, spillway and saltwater barrier. All of which are designed to address unique functions of this freshwater / saltwater transition area. Here a group of fishing cormorants are taking advantage of "Smolt flumes" in the spillway. These flumes assist young salmon to pass safely downstream, of course "safely" for the young salmon is relative and depends on the number, appetite and skill of the cormorants.

These next few images are focused on the nautical aspect of the greater Seattle area. This statue, dedicated to Leif Erickson attests to the strong nautical ties of the area. Set at the Shilshoal Marina the plaque reads: "Leif Erikson, the first recorded European to set foot on North American shores symbolizes the long history of Scandinavian-American immigration. "

Thinking about an anchor upgrade to my 30' sailing vessel AQUILA: or not! During our cycle art-tour, Catherine caught me goofing off on this 18,500# anchor from the Holland America motor vessel VEENDAM.

Caught this image of a vessel in transit entering the downtown Seattle waterfront of Elliott Bay off Pier 66 from the Space Needle. Alki Point, the site of the first European settlement is visible in the distance.

This stylized ships wheel is one of many embedded in the concrete wall lining the downtown pier area. This one is near the dedication plaque erected on Maritime Day 1961.
This vessel, EXPLORER IV, was one of our neighbors for several days during it's stay at the Bell Harbor Marina. Home port of Saint Johns, Newfoundland tells part of the story of just how far this vessel has come to find itself visiting this northern Pacific waterfront
More to come ~ check back soon...