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.
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.
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.
Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard. HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship. See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties. Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty. Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.
I have not ever visited her. I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit. I have photographed her from a distance though. Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point. With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.
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.
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.