I took a ride around Lake Washington on my bike. Once you have turned north at Renton, you go inland for a short time before coming back to the lake shore at the entrance to Seward Park. Between Seward Park on the shoreline is Andrews Bay. Apparently, this is a popular place for boaters to come and hang out on weekends. It was like a traffic jam there. Plenty of the boats were tied together with parties underway. I only had my phone with me so not a detailed shot but it does give a good impression of just how busy the water was.
I made a bit of a road trip recently. I decided a day off work was in order and I had some aviation themed things I wanted to see so I set out early. My first stop was in a town called Brewster. The airport in Brewster is up on a bluff above the Okanogan River where it merges with the Columbia River. On a sunny August day, the view across the river was really nice. An island under the bluff provided some interest and the view across the wider section of river to the opposite bank was very nice.
There were plenty of boats on the river. It looked like they were busy fishing as everyone seemed to be in formation across the width of the river. I assume it was fishing that they had in mind but don’t know for certain. A tranquil spot for sure. A house on the waterfront would look appealing but it is a serious hike to get there from any centers of population so I doubt I will be contemplating moving anytime.
The smaller of the locks at Ballard has mooring points that float with the water level so the boats can tie up and wait for the process to be over. In the big lock, the boats have to let out or take in their lines as the level changes because they are tied to the lock side itself. When the boats were down, the lock crew shouted out clear instructions to everyone to keep their lines tight until instructed to do otherwise. As the boats had come in, we had watched with some amusement a guy who didn’t seem to know how to handle his boat. Judging by the text on the boat, it was a share scheme of some sort.
I wandered away as they started to move out of the lock but Nancy and Mum stayed to watch. Judging by the shouting that followed, one of the boats had let off his lines early. When the gates open, there is a flow out of the lock which starts to take loose boats with it. One of them started to rotate and take the other boats with it. I missed the whole thing but I was able to guess who was the one that hadn’t followed instructions. Hmm…
The houseboats aren’t the only thing along the shore of Lake Union. It is still definitely a working waterway and this is reflected by the yards along the edge of the lake servicing the boats. Floating dry docks and regular moorings are filled with boats of all sorts. Some look like they are retired from their original role while others seem to be in for maintenance before heading back into use. I’m not sure how busy the yards are compared to their peak and whether the neighbors are trying to ease them out but they do seem to be needed based on the number of them and the number of boats!
The return of fall also means the return of some boats. The boats that live out in the lakeside marinas during the summer start their migration back to the boat yards for the winter. For those with masts that don’t fit under the bridge, there are but two options. Wednesday or Saturday. Okay, it is one option but it happens twice a week. These are the days that the bridges along the Chicago River are opened to allow the boats to make their way back inland.
I wanted to grab some shots of the returning boats on one of the Saturday runs. The weather was looking promising so I decided to head out. It is not the best time to shoot since the light is a bit in front of you and behind the boats but it is worth a look. What is trickier is that the buildings are casting some strong shadows which make for a very contrasty scene. However, that’s what RAW is for!
Living in the city you can get a lot of things happening out of the window. They can spring up and catch your attention but can equally end before you know it. This can be a problem when you are trying to decide whether to go out and see what is happening. One such example happened recently. I was on the phone when I looked out of the window and saw that the Michigan Avenue bridge over the Chicago River was up and didn’t seem to be showing any sign of coming down. Finally it did lower but not completely. This is when the fun started!
One of the Chicago Fire Department’s boats came up to the bridge and then started spraying water on the bridge. It wasn’t clear at all what was going on. Some fire trucks also showed up spraying onto the bridge from each end. I grabbed some shots of this from our windows. This is the time when you have to make a decision. Do I grab my stuff and go down to get more shots and risk that it is all over before I get there or do I stay upstairs to see what happens and find out that it goes on for ages and I could easily have been out and shooting for a while? I have got this decision wrong both ways in the past. This time I decided to go out and see what I could see.
I didn’t find out what was happening since Chicago’s finest were happy to shout at you for stepping in the wrong place but certainly weren’t going to tell you anything. I later found out the bridges had expanded in the heat and needed to be cooled down. I managed to get to a few locations and get some shots before they opened the bridge up again and then lowered it. This time it went where it was supposed to go and a few cheers came from the crews.