1:04 PM: We’ve been on board the USS Bunker Hill for four hours – and finally it’s showtime. After a day that has so far included a leisurely cruise through the bay, a bit north, a bit south, with a naturalization ceremony along the way – 17 active-duty servicemembers from 13 countries, now brand-new U.S. citizens – the Seafair fleet is turning off Beach Drive to head for Elliott Bay and the Parade of Ships/Flight (remember, you’ll see aircraft too). The sailors are taking their places to line the deck. You should get a good view from Alki and Duwamish Head if you’re not heading downtown, which is the official parade-viewing spot 1:45-2:15 pm. The guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, by the way, is at the head of the fleet, with the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey right behind, then the amphibious-transport dock ship USS New Orleans, plus US and Canadian Coast Guard participants too. As of 1:10 pm, we’re passing the heart of Alki.
1:31 PM UPDATE: Passing Seacrest right now. Just added video from a few minutes ago, as we passed Alki. The “official” parade time along the downtown waterfront is 1:45-2:15 pm; then the ships dock, and there are tours the next four days.
1:53 PM UPDATE: Now passing the north end of the downtown waterfront. Some great sights along the way – big crowd watching from the West Seattle Water Taxi, for example, with a Coast Guard escort. (video added)
On board, a whistle sounded every so often, and the sailors changed their stance – at ease, at attention, saluting, then back at ease just after the Bunker Hill passed Pier 66.
2:19 PM: After the downtown pass, the ships are all headed in now to dock – this one is at Pier 46, not far south of the Water Taxi dock (Pier 50) and Colman Dock. Will add more visuals later – and thanks to everyone who has sent photos from their viewpoint on shore! We’ll be checking those too.
5:24 PM: Finally back home – quite an operation to back up a battleship into a city dock. Adding a few more of our visuals to this, and checking everything else that’s come in.