Tacoma is one of the largest container ports on the west coast. It gets a lot of big container ship traffic and, at some point, I intend to explore the port a little more to see if there are any interesting photo opportunities. While waiting around at Ruston, I saw a large ship heading down the sound towards the harbor. It seemed to be making good speed considering how close it was to its destination. They say it takes a long time to stop big ships but I guess they still had a decent distance to go and plenty of time to slow down. As it headed towards me, I was taken by the wake it was creating as it plowed forward. It turned to enter the harbor so I got a last look at it as it disappeared behind the marina wall.
On our most recent trip to Orcas, we had an unusual experience during the ferry crossing to the islands. The crew announced that there would be a rescue boat drill and that we weren’t to worry or do anything. The ferry came to a halt in the open water and the crew manned up the RIB. Fortunately, the RIB they were using was the one mounted on the side of the ferry we were parked on so I was able to lean out through the opening of the car deck and watch the launch.
Two crew members got in the boat and then the davit was swung out and the boat lowered to the surface. They got the motor going, let out the lines and zipped off in to the distance. I figured they would shortly be back but they seemed to go quite a way off and then disappear from view. Instead, the ferry powered up and continued on its way.
As we got closer to our first stop at Lopez, we caught up with the RIB and, after bringing the ferry to a stop again, the process was reversed and the boat was brought back on board before we resumed our normal crossing. Reading the Washington State Ferries news emails, it appears that rescues are a pretty regular feature with the ferries picking up various water users that have got themselves in to trouble. Good that they keep well practiced!
My aerial photo searches brought me to some shots of the Royal Navy’s dockyard at Portsmouth. One or two shots from this were used in a post about a flight I took with Pete but not very many. Flying over the home of the Royal Navy, we got to see a bunch of ships – large and small. HMS Bristol was moored for use as a training ship. I think she may have now been relieved of that duty so don’t know whether she is still around and for how long.
Plenty of frigates were moored alongside and there were surplus Type 42 destroyers at various locations too. This got me thinking about a day many years ago when we were in Portsmouth for some reason. We took a trip around the harbour in a sightseeing boat and I got a few shots of some ships then too so these are interspersed here. Now the arrival of the two carriers to the fleet would mean a good chance of getting a far larger vessel alongside. Might have to think about doing something like this again at some point when I am in the UK.
The holiday weekend meant the San Juan Islands were definitely the place to be if you had a boat. We saw plenty of boats coming and going including plenty of sailing boats. Some seemed either to be racing or training together too. I just grabbed some shots of the boats when I could. The evening light on a spinnaker really looks very nice.
While boating across Lake Union, we saw a few of the sort of boats that you buy when you have amassed a decent amount of cash. Some of them looked quite elegant while others had a more aggressive look to them – perhaps the style is indicative of the owner? With the IT business being so large in the region, I suspect a lot of the boats are connected with people from that industry. I doubt I shall be buying something like this any time soon.
This is a weird looking boat. It passed me twice at Ruston while I was hanging out. At first I thought it was a catamaran with two people in it but I then realized there was a third person in there. I’m not sure whether they were pedaling too. That got my wondering how many hulls it really does have. Is it two or three? Who came up with it? Is it fun to use?
Continuing my quest to explore the ferry services of the Pacific Northwest, I took a trip down to Tacoma and out towards Point Defiance. Ruston is the location for another of the Washington State Ferries terminals. This service crosses to their south end of Vashon Island. I knew about the ferry to Vashon from Fauntleroy but I didn’t initially realize that there was a second connection to the Island. It is a short crossing and, while I was there, only one ferry was used to run a shuttle back and forth.
The ferry terminal is right next to the entrance to the marina. The jetty provides access to allow me to photograph the other side of the ferry to that which is visible from the shoreline. The ferry in use is of the same class that runs the service from Port Townsend to Coupeville. It was big enough to clear the line of cars each time it came in while I was there. Maybe busier weekends have more of a waiting time, though.
It is not hard to see across to the other terminal. I was able to track the ferry is it made the crossing in each direction. It was not a particularly bright day when I got there but I was happy to add another ferry to the collection. However, as I was contemplating moving on, the sun started to come out. The light colors of the hull certainly look a lot better on a sunny day so I figured I would wait for it to come back once again. Unfortunately, as it started back across in lovely sun, a cloud was moving in over me. Sure enough, the ferry was back in shade by the time it got close in. Oh well, not the most important thing to worry about.
Lake Union is a real mix of boat types. We were crossing it on a pontoon rental that my friend Torger had access to. We got to see a lot of different stuff out there. There is plenty of cash in Seattle so there were a lot of the large boats that are owned by those with a touch more cash than me. However, while the leisure market is a big deal these days, Seattle is still a commercial port. Fishing boats abound in Salmon Bay and out towards Lake Union. There are dry docks for the work that big vessels need including floating dry docks.
Towing operations are aplenty. Tugs to pull barges up the coast to Alaska are there as are tugs for more local duties. Fishing vessels also mean fish processing vessels. These boats take the catch from the smaller boats and process and freeze it for transport back to the distribution facilities ashore. These fishing vessels look pretty substantial when you see them alongside in Seattle. However, I imagine when you are out in the Bearing Straits, they suddenly seem a lot smaller as the big swells of the northern Pacific are heading in their direction. Not a job for the faint of heart.
Renting a boat seems like a fun thing to do. Having a hot tub is something people like a lot too. I had never contemplated the idea of renting a hot tub boat, though. Apparently this is a thing in Seattle. We passed these people in their hot tub. It sat very low to the water and I assume that waves lapping over the side is not going to result in them sinking but it still seemed like a very odd idea. They seemed to be having fun, though.
When photographing the ferries at Edmonds, the sun was very low in the sky and was coming on to the boat at an oblique angle. This shows up something that is not obvious about ships from far away but is really obvious when you get close to them. Take a look at a large ship from far away and it may look like a smooth sided creation. However, ships are constructed from plates of steel being welded together and, when you get close to them, this becomes a lot more apparent. The individual panels are far from smooth and the joins where they are welded together are a bit “agricultural”. Get the light on them at a shallow angle and this is pretty clear.