(Photo added 9:45 pm, by Gary Jones at Alki Point)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:55 PM: It’s been about an hour since the scrapyard-bound USS Constellation was towed from Bremerton.
(US Navy Public Affairs photo)
The aircraft carrier is passing the mouth of Dyes Inlet and in another hour or so should be visible from West Seattle, as it emerges from Rich Passage between Bainbridge and Blake Islands. We’ll be updating as it gets closer; you can track the tow via MarineTraffic.com – a group of tugs is escorting it now, and the oceangoing Corbin Foss is en route to rendezvous with them, preparing for its solo 16,000-mile tow around South America and up to Brownsville, Texas.
4:45 PM: Still a ways to where they’ll be out of Rich Passage and visible from here. It’s somewhat hazy off to the west so it won’t be a really crystal-clear view as it would be if it were a cloudless summer morning – Alki Point and vicinity will likely be the clearest. But the tugs are showing on MarineTraffic.com as having picked up some speed – about 2 knots per hour now. We’ll update when they’re in view (at least via binoculars).
5:40 PM: Getting closer. The tugboats show on MarineTraffic.com as starting to round the point that is just north of Manchester.
6:09 PM: Now in view with binoculars from Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, having just emerged from Rich Passage. At this moment, it’s still pointed south, and has to be pulled to face northbound before it will start sailing toward Alki Point and beyond.
6:49 PM: It’s still in the shadows near Manchester, looking across from here. The Foss blog-format website tracking the journey has a photo looking back this way as the Corbin Foss and “Connie” get acquainted at the start of their 16,000-mile journey. (Click here for a larger version of the photo in Foss’s update.)
7:37 PM: You can see the silhouette without binoculars now, and it appears to be slowly starting to make the turn. At this rate, it’ll likely be a lovely sunset scene somewhere in front of Bainbridge!
8:05 PM: After four hours on Beach Drive, we headed for higher ground. Looks like it will be a great view from west-facing North Admiral (we’re at the famous Seattle/Sunset street-sign mini-viewpoint waiting for it to get into better photographic range).
8:22 PM: Some spectators up here. This viewpoint likely will be good all the way until dusk, since you can see north to West Point from here. Meantime, the Foss website has linked to a photo gallery of the Bremerton departure.
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
8:55 PM: Just as it gets dark, the Connie and Corbin Foss are heading out of range.
(Photo with vehicle carrier Auriga Leader passing, by Greg)
9:49 PM: Added three photos, from three photographers. (Thank you!) Corbin Foss and Constellation are expected to arrive at Long Beach for a refueling stop at mid-month; the trip around the tip of South America (as someone pointed out while talking with us during Connie Watch, it’ll be summer down there) and up to Texas is expected to take almost five months.