Anyone that has arrived in Seattle on an international flight will know that the arrivals facility was a bit cramped and unwelcoming. The airport has been building a new arrivals facility for a while now. It was supposed to open a while back but got delayed by a variety of things, not least COVID. The new building has been built alongside the A concourse in the main terminal with a bridge connecting the South Satellite to bring arriving passengers across.
The whole thing is due to have a soft open in April 2022 and be fully open by May. The airport requested volunteers to come and help test the systems to see how they handle a volume of people. You can do a variety of tests but the true test is when a load of people show up. This is still not going to be as much load as it will get when multiple international flights arrive at the same time but it is part of the process.
I volunteered to take part. Yes, I was happy to help out but I was also keen to have a nose around the new facility. I was hoping to get to see the new bridge and the view it provides of the ramp area but was to be disappointed. Everything we were testing was on the A concourse side of things. We did have a good view of the new bridge though.
We were given assignments for our run through the arrivals procedure. We had various elements that we needed to engage with and evaluate. I was arriving on a flight with Emirates and had to connect to a Delta flight. I needed to collect one piece of luggage and then clear immigration and recheck my luggage. At two locations, we had to complete surveys based on what we had experienced. We started at a gate waiting area and then entered the gate to turn on to the route an arriving passenger would take. The route is alongside the ramp area so you get a great view of the airport as you walk through. The new buildings are quite airy and spacious and very white!
Most things worked well enough. A few things could do with tweaking and it will be interesting to see whether the areas that got backed up for us will cope when the real passengers show up and staffing is increased. Hopefully it will be a lot nicer way to arrive in SEA than was previously the case. I would avoid it in the first few days since I imagine there will be some teething issues but, after that, it should be a welcome change.
Some of the rocks along the shore in Larrabee State Park had worn in to interesting shapes under the relentless pressure of the sea. The coastal rocks are all shaped by the wave action but I thought these looked a little different to normal. I wonder whether the rocks are a softer type than I am more familiar with because the curves and cracks seemed to be a lot smoother than is usual. Some of the rocks also had pitting in them, presumably from the eddies in the water flowing across them gradually eroding deeper into the surface of the rock.
On our drive up the coast towards Bellingham, we were passing Larrabee State Park. Apparently, this was the first state park in the state of Washington. We were only making a brief stop so we didn’t get to explore it too fully but we did follow the trails down to the beach. The first trail we took brought us down to the water’s edge in a little cove. A few people were there but it was quite sheltered from the wind and seemed very tranquil.
We then reversed course and heading to another part of the shoreline. This was far more rocky and exposed and also very attractive. Standing up on the rocky outcrops looking out to see in the sun as the birds wheeled overhead, I could easily have stayed there for a long time. We also had a good view across the bay to the opposite shore which had some nice looking houses arrayed along the cliff tops. Some larger building was further up the coast in a prominent location. We were heading elsewhere, though, so we walked back up through the park, past the stage area and off on the next leg of the journey.
A while back I posted about the Amphitrite Lighthouse in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. We saw it while walking on the Pacific Coast Trail. At the time of that post, I said I would post more from the rest of the trail. I guess I have finally got around to doing so. The beginning of the trail took us past the lighthouse but it was a bit backlit. As we walked further around the coastline, the light came to be behind us more and the view of the various inlets and islands got to be very nice.
It was such a tranquil spot. I suspect November is not the busiest time of year and the trails might be a lot more crowded in peak season but the sun was out and it was really lovely to be there. The rocky coastline looks like it is something that you need to know your way around carefully if you are in a boat. The presence of a lighthouse tells you that plenty have come to grief in the past. On a day like the one we had, though, it couldn’t have seemed more appealing.
When I was a teenager, we lived on the seafront in Cowes. The road was a short distance in from the waterfront but a side street led down to the sea itself and you could walk along from there in either direction, either along to Egypt Point or in to the town center. The railings that stopped you falling in to the sea (if standing up was not something you could manage on your own) were mounted between a series of posts and, on one of these posts, there was a sculpture of a lion. Clearly weathering had taken a toll on this lion but repairs had been carried out over the years. When I was there last year, we took a walk along this same stretch and it was great to see this familiar old fella still guarding the shoreline.
The walk along the beach in Deception Pass State Park starts out in amongst a lot of people. The West Beach near the parking lot had a lot of people enjoying themselves while we were there. However, they didn’t want to go too far it seemed as, when we started walking along the shoreline towards the North Beach, we rapidly found ourselves a lot more isolated. There was the occasional person passing the other way but we were, for the most part, on our own. Standing on the shore and looking out across the water on a sunny afternoon was really relaxing.
Cannon Beach was quite a way north of where we were staying in Oregon. However, it was on our route home so we stopped off to wander along the sands for a bit prior to hunting down some lunch. We were not the only ones enjoying a sunny day on the beach but, given the expanse of sand available, there was plenty of space for everyone to spread out so it wasn’t crowded.
The huge flat sands were most impressive and the rocks that sit out in the water look very cool. It is hard to gauge their scale when they are out like that as they are so separated from the people that you don’t have enough of a reference to work with. It is safe to say that they are pretty big though. There was a bit of sea spray in the air which made everything take on a slightly more misty look when you were looking south towards the sun. Looking north this was a lot less apparent. I could see why a landscape photographer would come here to spend some time in the early and late hours.
We were walking along the shore in Pacific Grove when we saw a bunch of people on the dock that is part of the wall of the small harbor. It appeared that they were getting ready to jump in so we stopped to see if they were or not. Jumping into the Pacific in spring is hardly a polar bear plunge but it was still fun to see their reactions as they jumped in. I guess it was still pretty chilly.
Take a walk from Americas Camp on San Juan Island and you are quickly down by the water. One of the trails leads to a lovely little bay called Grandma’s Cove. I don’t know who Grandma was or even whose grandma she was. Why the cove was hers is a mystery to me too. However, she obviously had pretty good taste because it is an idyllic spot. Almost no one was there when I visited. Unfortunately, a couple of guys were down on the beach and were interested in making art in the sand. This disrupted my vision of the shots a touch but, when you are somewhere so lovely, it is hard to be upset about anything for long.
I’m sure this will look very formulaic to a number of photographers but, for the longest time, I have loved the image of a lone boat in the open sea. I think the first time I took a shot like this was on the Ribble Estuary in Lytham. That was on film of course. Now, even when I know it is not being terribly original, I can’t help myself but be drawn to an image like this. Maybe one day I will have the perfect shot but I doubt it.
The way the light bounces from the water, the shadow that the boat is in, the texture of the waves and the isolation of the boat in the expanse of the water all appeal to me. Hope you like it too.