These shots aren’t particularly nice but, at the time I took them, I didn’t realize that they would be a bit more significant for a friend of mine. He was a skipper for Virgin Atlantic and making his first run to Seattle. I went out to get his arrival despite it being a bit gloomy. We met up afterwards for a beer and some food. He flew back the following day.
Since that time, the airline business (along with many businesses) has taken a bad turn and Virgin Atlantic has been getting rid of staff. My friend was eligible for retirement and decided to take it. Consequently, this flight turned out to be the last landing he made in his commercial flying career. The return leg landing was made by another member of his crew. It would have been nice if the conditions were better but I am glad I was there to see it. Happy retirement Chris and see you soon I hope!
While I had headed to SeaTac to see the 21Air 767 arrive, I hung around for a couple of other arrivals. Delta operates a variety of long haul types into the airport and this includes A330s of the older and newer generations. First to arrive was an A330-300. A little while later, it was followed by an A330-900, the A330neo version. I thought I would try and get identical shots of both jets to see how much the engine and winglet changes showed up when looking at them in flight. Here are shots to compare the two types for you to make your own comparisons. I think the differences are there but they are not drastic.
One Saturday morning, I was scanning what was moving around the Seattle area and saw a Boeing 767-200 coming to SeaTac, operated by 21Air. I had never heard of this operator before and the picture online made the jet look like it was painted more interestingly than the average freighter. I figured I would pop down to get some shots, even though the conditions were not great. The light actually perked up a bit when the jet arrived so the results were better than I hoped. I asked a buddy about the operator and he, having never seen them before, was actually looking at two of their jets in LA. I wonder why they are suddenly on the west coast.
Alaska Airlines has a 737 flying in a special scheme as a Salute to Veterans. I have shot that in the past and it appeared on the blog in this post. I wasn’t aware until recently that they had painted a second jet in a similar scheme – this time from their regional fleet. This is an Embraer E175-E1. Here it is departing SeaTac one morning while I was awaiting my flight out.
While the Chihuly Museum in Seattle is well known, it is not the only glass museum in the area nor the only one involving Dale. He is from Tacoma originally and teamed up with some partners to create the Tacoma Glass Museum that is a focal point of the redevelopment of part of downtown Tacoma. We had seen it on a previous visit and resolved to visit on a winter’s day. We finally got around to doing that at last. It is not a huge museum but it does have some interesting works. It also has a hot shop which I shall post about separately. These are some of the shots of the works that are on display. Some of Dale’s own work is there but much work by other artists too.
The Rose Garden in Point Defiance Park was a feature but there weren’t only roses. They also had a dahlia section. Nancy loves dahlias so we checked this out. The variety of these blooms was almost as good as it was for the roses!
Ask any engineering student about famous bridges and the Tacoma Narrows has a great chance of coming up. The original bridge failed pretty spectacularly due to aeroelastic issues. It was replaced and the bridge has stood since without significant issues other than overcrowding. Consequently, a second Bridge was added a few years ago. The pair span the narrows and provide a roadway for the busy local traffic.
The hike around Point Defiance Park takes you out onto the overlooks the narrows and, as you move along the trail, you get differing views of the bridges. The further south you get in the park, the clearer the view is of the whole span. I grabbed a few shots of the water and the bridges and also shot some closer shots to make a pano when I got home.
Point Defiance Park had a rose garden that seemed worth a visit. Walking in to the garden I was immediately struck by the fragrance of the flowers. Some roses are a lot more fragrant than others but, stick enough of them together and you are going to get a strong smell. Roses are interesting in how many varieties that they come in. Some look exactly like you might imagine a rose while others are very different in shape.
The garden was laid out around a central point with rows of blooms curving around the middle. They were attracting human and insect visitors in large quantities. Some blooms seemed to be quite persistent while others looked like they reached their peak before quickly wilting and being replaced by another bloom.
We had entered the garden from one side but on the other was a more structured entrance which took you through an arch covered in multiple blooms. The concentration of flowers made it visually striking. Also, having the light coming through from above meant that the flowers were backlit which made for a nice look and a filtered color of light inside the tunnel. Hardly a person passed without taking their own photo.
We took a trip through Tacoma after our visit to the Bonsai Museum to go to Point Defiance Park. There was plenty to see and do in the park and, while we were there to go for a hike on the trails, we did check out some of the other parts. Some of these will have posts of their own but to start things off (if you exclude a post that has already come out from the park), here are some shots of the park grounds. There is a nice visitor center that has the look of a large chalet about it. There is also a pond area which is home to plenty of ducks and turtles. There is also a Japanese themed event location that can be hired out and was apparently being used for a wedding while we were there.
The park is also home to a zoo. We are known to visit zoos to see what they have on offer, but this trip was not about that. We may well head back some time to see the animals but that will have to wait for now. Before we started exploring, we had brought some lunch with us and we were able to enjoy one of the many picnic benches. The one we chose was very close to a statue commemorating one of the founders of the park. I can’t recall his name, but I think I am safe in saying it wasn’t Point Defiance (unless his parents really didn’t like him!).
Seeing aquatic creatures when you are at sea level can be tricky. If they pop out of the surface, you might spot them if you are paying attention. Get a bit of elevation and things are suddenly a lot easier to spot. We reached Point Defiance at the turning point of our hike and stopped to look out across the water. Straight down below us was a group of seals. Looking down they were immediately obvious. They would dive down every once in a while but, given how many of them there were, there were always a few on the surface. They seemed to be just hanging out near the beach on a sunny day.