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.
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.
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.
After our aborted trip on the Edmonds ferry, I figured that the morning light would be good on the ferries as they arrived and departed. Rather than bore Nancy that day, I figured an early morning visit would make more sense – assuming that the weather was nice. We had a steady stream of nice weather for a week so, early one morning, I headed back to Edmonds.
At this time of year, the sun is a little further north than appropriate to get light on the side of the ferry while it is in the terminal. However, as soon as it leaves, it turns to the south slightly to head across to Kingston. The light soon gets on to the right side of the boat. It is nice to still have a bit of snow on the top of Olympics which provides a bit of a more interesting background.
You can see across to Kingston from Edmonds and the morning light made the view across pretty clear. I was surprised how well you could see the ferry departing the other terminal as well as the stored ferry on that side. As they crossed in the middle, it was easy to get the two of them in one shot. The morning light also brings out some texture on the side of the ferries but that is going to get its own post.
My lockdown interest in different ferry operations continues unabated. Since I was down at Nisqually checking out the wildlife refuge, I figured I was close to Steilacoom which is the home of a ferry service provided by Pierce County. This one operates across to Anderson Island – a location where some friends of ours have a place. It occasionally stops at a smaller island too but that is not a frequent service.
There were two ferries tied up at the dock when I got there. One was the Christine Anderson and it was the one in use. The other was called Steilacoom II and I wonder whether that is an older ferry that is kept in reserve. Not long after I arrived, the ferry departed. I hadn’t positioned well to catch it but it turned immediately and headed south so was soon visible away from the other dock vessels. I got myself some lunch while I waited for it to return. The sun was out and the conditions were lovely as it made its way back to Steilacoom. However, a big cloud bank rolled in at just the wrong time and, as it got close to its destination, it was suddenly in shade that did not make for good photos. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the background was still bathed in good light though. One more ferry to add to the tally!
I have posted a couple of times with ferries at Guemes Island and Lummi Island. While I mainly was shooting stills at these locations, I did get some video too. When the boats are being tossed about, I figured that video was a better way of conveying what the conditions were like. Below are a couple of videos I edited of the two ferries.
Since I was already in Anacortes, I headed down to the shipyard to see if anything interesting was going on. On my last visit, a ship from Woods Hole was there and got covered in this post. The same ship is still there but now it is nearing completion. The painting is mostly complete (aside from a while in the side of the hull which still needs to be closed up). The propulsion units (not sure whether they are called thrusters or propellers) have been installed.
It looks like it is going to be finished off before too long. I did see it from a different angle, albeit a more obscured by foreground clutter angle so you can get an impression of the size of the ship. When I showed the pictures to Nancy, she commented on how cool it would be to see them move the ship back to the water. This is definitely true although I doubt I will get the chance.
Having made a return trip to Anacortes to check out the dilapidated ship hills on the shore, I decided to add to my ferry collection. Just beyond Bellingham is an Indian Reservation called the Lummi Nation. Just off the coast is Lummi Island and there is a little car ferry that connects the island to the Nation. The ferry is called the Whatcom Chief and it is operated by the county. It isn’t a big ferry – it looks to hold about 16 cars – but the crossing is not long and they apparently will run extra services to clear a backlog of vehicles if needed beyond the scheduled services.
It was just as windy up at Lummi as it had been in Anacortes but it lacked the sun that I had experienced down there. Rain showers were blowing through periodically and it was a lot less enjoyable to be outside! However, I’d come all that way so I wasn’t going to miss out on the shots. As I mentioned, the ferry is not large and, with the wind whipping up some waves, it was bouncing around as it made the crossing. I guess you want to hose the salt water off your car after a crossing on a day like this since the spray was going across the boat as it pitched and rolled.
There were more cars waiting to make the crossing than there was space for so they squeezed as many as they could onboard and then headed back again. Hopefully they came right back for the remainders but I had got what I needed, had a decent drive home ahead of me and wanted to warm up so it was back in the car for me.
In this previous post, I had some shots of a ship hull in Anacortes that had become part of a harbor wall. When I showed this to a colleague of mine, he looked at Google Maps and thought there might be one or two more hulls making up the harbor. Once I saw what he was looking at, I could see what he was thinking. I also couldn’t work out why I didn’t go down to take a closer look when I had been there. A return journey seemed in order.
First I checked out the original hull and the one that is in the best condition. It looked more impressive when down on its level. I didn’t see any sign of a name which was a shame. Then I went to see what the other areas were. Sure enough, behind the first hull is a second one. This one is much more broken down but the timbers are still there making up another part of the harbor wall. I then realized that a third hull was part of the harbor which we hadn’t seen from Google. That is because it is a barge hull and so square which meant it wasn’t conspicuous from the aerial photos.
The last hull was located within a shipyard and, since I didn’t have permission to enter their premises, I didn’t go closer to check it out. A look from the access road above it did seem to confirm that it was indeed another hull. I guess whoever created the harbor figured the easiest way to do so was to sink a few derelict hulls and then build up the land around them (or let nature do that for you). I imagine that has been done elsewhere. Not quite the D-Day Mulberries but something similar.