Tag Archives: boat

Now This Is A Tug!

Sunny Saturday afternoon and we were coming back from Discovery Park.  Our route took us passed Commodore Park which gives immediate access to the Chittenden Locks at Ballard.  With it being such a nice afternoon, we decided it was worth a brief stroll across to see what was going on.  There were a number of smaller boats coming through the little lock which we watched for a while.  Then, coming up from Puget Sound, we saw a large commercial vessel approaching.

It was a tug returning from time out on the open ocean.  There are plenty of tugs in the area – many of which are not too big – but this one was a decent size.  No doubt there are larger ones for open ocean recovery of vessels but this was still impressive.  The crew was busy preparing for port.  Hosing the salt off the superstructure, greasing up exposed metalwork and gathering all of the trash.  They had to wait for a short while because the lock crews were still working the smaller lock.  Then they were summoned in.  A little burst of power from a tug this size can really get the water churning.  Since they needed the larger lock, the other waiting boats were brought in too.

Once the water level was raised, the lock gates were opened and the water flowed through to finally balance things out.  The current whipping past the tug made it look like it was moving at some speed even though it was standing still.  Once cleared to depart, they pulled off gently.  Since a lot of small craft were behind them in the lock, they couldn’t just give it the beans or their wash would have bounced everyone around.  Instead, a delicate application of power and they were on their way.  Below is a little video of them to go with the stills.

Historic Hull In A Bad Way

As I was driving around the waterfront in Everett, I came to an open sided shed with a decaying ship hull under the cover.  It was a ship called Equator.  It was a hull that had been rescued after being used as part of the breakwater at Everett.  Even after being saved, it sat outside for a long time gradually weakening.  Eventually, funding was found to put a structure over the hull.  However, it was already in a pretty bad way and the stern collapsed.  It’s not clear what is going to happen to it at this point.

The structure is open on the sides which would be good for getting photos but the fencing is a bit of a problem.  A bit of reaching up and using Live View to try and get some shots was required.  Getting far enough back to get the hull in frame was problematic.  At the stern end, there is a small wall for storage of some sand and it was possible to stand on top of the wall to get a few more angles.  Not an easy one to shoot though.

Cruise Ship Comparison

The cruise ships are back in Seattle.  A year of cruise travel didn’t happen while COVID was raging and no vaccinations were available.  Now they seem to have found a protocol to make cruises viable.  (Not something I would be trying but each to their own.)  When we were down in the city for a weekend, we got to the hotel shortly before one of the cruise ships sailed.  It belonged to the Norwegian cruise line and was a huge thing.  It was not an elegant looking ship but it clearly had plenty of capacity.

It sailed off on its trip – presumably towards Alaska – and a little while later the other end of the cruise ship spectrum showed up.  The National Geographic Venture is not a traditional cruise ship.  They have small vessels that are able to make more specialized trips into restricted spaces that the large cruise ships could never get to.  We have looked at their cruises to Alaska as something that we might want to do at some point.  The season is over for them now so it was not clear what the boat was up to but it couldn’t have looked more different than the Norwegian ship.

Island Sheriffs Clearly Need Fast Boats

The ferry terminal at Orcas isn’t the only dock available and it is the home of a boat used by the local Sheriff’s department.  We didn’t often see them out and about while we were staying there but they did come by a couple of times.  The boat is clearly capable of a good speed.  No doubt, if you are the sheriff, you don’t want to be outrun by people that easily and you also need to be able to get to places promptly.  That means power in the form of some chunky outboards.  I suspect it is quite a fun boat to drive.

Old Victory Shot

I was searching through my archive looking for some ship shots and the keyword search threw up a few extras that were separate from what I was after.  It included some shots of HMS Victory.  Victory is one of the most famous warships in the UK.  She was the flagship of Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and he died on her deck as the battle was won.  She survived after her main career was over and sat afloat at Portsmouth for many years before being restored and put on display in a dry dock in the navy base.

I have been on board a few times over the years.  I have some old photos from the film days that I took and also some aerial shots of her and thought I might share them here.  I understand that she has recently undergone a further restoration.  The hull had been sagging around the supports underneath and so she has been repaired and the support system modified.  It is also now possible to go under the hull as part of the visit.  This is something I would like to try when I next have time during a visit to the UK.

RV Thomas G. Thompson

Quite a while back, now, I was down on the shore at Mukilteo when this research ship transited passed the lighthouse.  It was clearly a vessel designed for studying something marine related (unless it was a spy ship) so I decided to check it out.  There is a small fleet of these vessels operated by the Office of Naval Research.  They put operation of the ships out to tender and this one was won by the University of Washington.

The ship is named after the guy that founded UW’s Oceanographic lab in the 30s.  it spends over 300 days a year at sea, so I guess they get plenty of use out of it.  Originally, she would have been scheduled out of service by this year but a big refit was carried out in a local Seattle shipyard, Vigor, a few years back so she should be good until the late 2030s.

Big Container Ship Making Waves

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.

Rescue Boat Drills for WSF

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!

Royal Navy Warships at Portsmouth

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.

Sailing Amongst the Islands

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.