Late in the day, orcas were back in the area, first time since last Friday’s throng, heading south – thanks to @sudsymaggie for tweeting the report! – so if you’re by the water tomorrow, keep watch, and please let us know (text/call 206-293-6302) if you see them. Even though weather made the viewing tougher, orca lovers were somewhat balmed, after the sadness of last night’s report that the Southern Resident Killer Whales’ first baby in two years is missing and presumed dead.
Unlike most of their counterparts, the southern residents subsist on fish, and they are here looking for chum salmon; as of last weekend, the run didn’t yet appear to be plentiful – Guy Smith on Alki Point sent a photo of a purse seiner that he said didn’t seem to be hauling much in on Sunday night (though apparently it did net some fish before departing Monday morning).
Also regarding the chum, our friends at the Kitsap Sun have published this update about how things are looking across the water.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: A sighting was reported from the Bainbridge ferry just after 7 am, by a commenter on the Orca Network FB page, a few orcas headed toward the southwest. Weather’s awfully murky today but conditions can change quickly, so …
(Photo by Carrie Sapp)
After the Southern Resident Killer Whales came through last Friday, the experts noticed someone missing in other regional sightings – baby L120, first calf born to the local orcas in two years. No one wanted to announce her death until word came from orca experts – and now it has, shared in a news release via Orca Network:
The Center for Whale Research has confirmed that baby L120, only about seven weeks old and the third known offspring of a 23-year old Southern Resident orca known as L86, was not with his or her mother when she and other members of L pod were photographed recently in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research said, “L86 was seen and photographed on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, all without L120.”
L120 was the first newborn Southern Resident offspring seen since August 2012. In February of that year the the body of L86′s second offspring, 3-year old female L112, washed up at Long Beach Wash. with indications of death by severe acoustic trauma.
Research conducted in recent years has shown that Southern Resident orcas depend almost entirely on chinook salmon for sustenance, with a diet of chum salmon during fall months when chinook are especially scarce.
This orca clan has suffered episodic food deficiency for many decades, as chinook salmon runs were depleted by habitat destruction, excessive harvest and dams from Alaska to California. They were also routinely shot at for decades and over 50 were captured or killed for theme parks during the 1960s and 70s, followed by wanton disposal of persistent toxins into Puget Sound that continue to impair fetal development and immune responses, especially when the whales can’t find sufficient food.
“We haven’t treated these magnificent orcas well at all. As a society we are not successfully restoring this orca community despite the many warnings and legal declarations. Our challenge is clear: bountiful salmon runs must be restored and protected or we won’t see Resident orcas in the Salish Sea in coming years.” said Howard Garrett of Orca Network.
The loss of her second baby must be especially traumatic for L86, but knowing this young orca will never grow up and reproduce is painful for all who care about this precariously dwindling extended family. Now down to only 78 members, the Southern Resident community is at or below their numbers in 2001 when alarms rang with such intensity that they were eventually listed as endangered under the ESA in 2005.
(Starting at :15 in, you’ll see some whales – sorry for the shakiness, very long zoom!)
8:59 AM: If you’re anywhere near the water today, keep watch for orcas! Just before nightfall Thursday, the Orca Network had southbound sightings in the north Sound – first sightings that far south in quite a while. Then this morning around 7:30 am, according to West Seattleite Jeff Hogan from Killer Whale Tales, sightings were reported off Vashon Island – still southbound, but at some point, they will have to head back this way, so we’re sharing the alert. If you see whales, please let us know (text/voice 206-293-6302 is our breaking-news hotline, and this qualifies); we’ll update with any reports.
9:40 AM: Still southbound, south of us, per this ON commenter – off Point Robinson on Maury Island (across Puget Sound from Des Moines) about 20 minutes ago.
10:44 AM: Now at least some of the whales are reported to have turned and headed northbound.
12:14 PM: Jeff just texted to say that whales believed to be from all three resident pods are “trending northbound” past Three Tree Point south of West Seattle.
(Added: Photo by Greg Snyder)
1:28 PM: In view! Passing Blake Island.
1:58 PM: The research boat is visible off Blake Island – binoculars definitely needed – if you are near Me-Kwa-Mooks on Beach Drive as we are now. Some whales are ahead of it, some behind.
5:38 PM: Continuing to add visuals from today’s sightings as we get them. Above and (added) below, photos by Gary Jones, as the orcas passed Alki Lighthouse.
Here’s word of the first presentation in a new series of Orca Talks presented by West Seattle-headquartered The Whale Trail: You’ll hear about the proposal for “A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas,” 7 pm Thursday, October 30th at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). From TWT executive director Donna Sandstrom:
The Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered and seriously declining; their 2014 population of 79 is the lowest since 1985. To aid their recovery, Orca Relief is urging NOAA Fisheries to conduct a public process that will result in a Whale Protection Zone for the SRKWs.
A well designed and enforced WPZ would provide the Southern Resident Orca a safe-haven in the very core of their critical habitat, and a relief from vessel impacts including noise, disturbance and air pollution. Bruce Stedman, Executive Director of Orca Relief, will describe the key aspects of how a protected area for the Orca should be developed and how it could help the SRKWs begin to recover.
These talks are usually sellouts – get your ticket(s) ASAP online, $5 suggested donation, kids free. C & P is at 5612 California SW.
Last time we featured undersea video from “Diver Laura” James – observing a curious octopus – we heard clamors for more. Laura has obliged, inviting us to share the clip you see above, which she titled “Beneath a Dark Sea.” Yes, these are local waters – Cove 2, right off Seacrest.
Thank you, as always, to “Diver Laura” James for sharing another view of what you won’t see unless you’re a diver too. From her dive last night off Seacrest, an unedited stretch of octopus-watching:
Along with the link, Laura wrote: “We spent almost 10 minutes with this amazing beautiful creature before we had to leave because of depth, time and air constraints (though I would have happily spent all night). It turns out my buddy swam right over the well-camouflaged octopus and was checking out the den of another octopus looking to see if there were any eggs (none to be found so far). You can see me signal him by bobbing my lights. The octopus gets curious and decides it wants to come check me out (I’m actually swimming backwards in some of the video) until my dive buddy comes over and then it decides to do something even more entertaining. Upon noticing my dive buddy, it ceases advancing on me and for lack of a better descriptive, turns around and starts sneaking up on my buddy. You can actually see it hunkering down and hiding behind the log, then it squeezes under the log and boo! Octopus! It does not appear upset in any of the interactions, more curious and checking things out. It does get upset later on when it tries to invade the den of a second octopus and gets into a bit of a wrestling match.” P.S. Interesting Giant Pacific Octopus info and trivia here.
P.S. On a much-smaller scale – remember Laura’s iPhone-microscope plankton-watching? She has agreed to join us in the WSB booth at the West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival four weeks from today, so you can bring your kid(s) by to have a look at the tiny creatures that fill our seas. The Harvest Festival is set for 10 am-2 pm Sunday, October 26th.
ADDED 3:42 PM: Laura just sent an edited video with a “potpourri of critters” from the dive, so we’re adding it:
West Seattle Crime Watch notes:
TROUBLE AT SEA: Thanks to Wendy (who sent that photo), Erin, and Lynn for mentioning police activity on the water and on land off the Don Armeni/Anchor (Luna) Park area around sunset tonight. After hearing via the scanner that police were going to tow a boat downtown, we headed over in hopes of asking shoreside officers what was going on, but we just missed them. Via e-mail, we did get some information from Southwest Precinct Lt. Paul Leung, who says it involved “a disturbance between a male and a female. Officers boarded the boat. The female retracted her story but the male was arrested for several outstanding DV [domestic violence] warrants.”
MISSING FIRE PIT: James, near Lincoln Park, says the fire pit used for neighborhood gatherings all summer is suddenly missing.
(Saturday), my family and I went to Alki for lunch and then ran some errands. We’re sure the fire pit was out front when we left, but now it’s not. It was close to the street, but didn’t have a ‘Free’ sign or anything on it. I’d like to see if a nearby neighbor picked it up wondering if it was indeed abandoned. We live on a block with very light traffic (46th Ave SW between Kenyon & Austin) and don’t see many cars that don’t live close. It disappeared between noon and 4:30 on Saturday (yesterday).
The fire pit is black iron. The base is up on legs, and the fire is in a tray surrounded by an iron lattice. It’s probably 3 feet long on its longer side, and 2 feet wide. Can you see if anyone in the neighborhood took it thinking we were giving it away? No harm no foul if we get it back.
It has been reported to police just in case it WASN’T a mistake.
ADDED 1 AM – SUNDAY BURGLARY: Just missed a phone call from someone who reported being burglarized in Belvidere Sunday, coming home to find their home on 37th SW “trashed,” including jewelry left behind that didn’t belong to them.
P.S. No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, but WSCPC says it will reconvene in October (10/21, 7 pm, at the precinct).
(L-pod orcas – file photo, shared here in 2009 by Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales)
Just a week ago, the Kitsap Sun reported that Puget Sound’s orcas, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, were down to their lowest population level in almost 30 years, after two deaths this year, and no new births in two years. Tonight, some good news: The Center for Whale Research, which had reported the population down to 78, says it’s up to 79, with a new baby spotted in L Pod, same pod that had the last SRKW birth in 2012. In a Facebook post, CWR says the baby, to be known as L120, was with L86. You can see a photo on Orca Network‘s FB page.
“Diver Laura” James promised video from her morning at Seacrest with two ROVs (and friends) – and she’s delivered. The clip above includes some footage of the unfortunately not-recovering-yet local sea stars, as well as showing how an ROV gets around.
(Top photo by Laura James; other photos by Rachel Chaimson)
On Wednesday morning, the divers at Seacrest weren’t all human: As previewed here, “Diver Laura” James and friends went in with ROVs, to check on the sick-sea-star situation, among other missions. Laura sent a report and photos:
The day started by picking up the trash can that had been knocked over the night before:
Pretty gross. (Thanks to the kind gentleman who offered me a wet-wipe afterward.) Now on to the ROV’s :) They show up in BIG yellow boxes – seen here with National Geographic Young Explorer Erika Bergman, who is currently working on the OpenExplorer platform, and OpenROV summer intern Christine Spiten from Norway:
The event was well documented by myself and another West Seattle shooter, Micah O’Keiley, and his snazzy camera (he’s helping me do a promo video for Diver Laura and Kids program stuff, for which I am AMAZINGLY grateful).
Video up in the next day or so. They are very cute – this one even has a shark fin!
Then it was time for me to get in the water with the little critters:
They were waiting impatiently:
Good dive! Vis was a bit murky, and the baby mottled stars that were abundant a few weeks ago are now sparse. There is wasting disease ongoing, with arms from moderately-sized mottled stars lying around at regular intervals.
All too soon it was time to pack up and head home:
As noted in Wednesday’s daily preview, Laura is working on her own OpenROV, and promises advance notice of explorations, so you can check it out in person.
It took 52 minutes and 9 seconds for those four rowers to make the 7-mile round trip between Alki and Bainbridge during Sound Rowers’ Great Cross-Sound Race this morning. Their quad was listed as entry #1, and that’s where they finished. In second at 53:40, Megan Yount and Bruce Rolfe:
Finishing third and fourth, Evan Jacobs (multiple past winner) in 54:10 (right) and Robert Meenk in 54:31:
No immediate rest at race’s end:
Full list of the almost three dozen entrants and their finishing order is here.
Video: Who’s in the water? iPhone ‘microscope’ shows you Puget Sound creatures you’d never see otherwiseAugust 19, 2014 at 6:38 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 9 Comments
From the ever-creative “Diver Laura” James … a new idea for looking at who and what are in Puget Sound. She says it’s simple as pie to turn an iPhone into a microscope that’ll show you plankton and other micro-organisms in Puget Sound.
And there’s a reason she hopes you’ll look at the videos she’s creating with this rig, even if you don’t try to replicate it yourself:
My goal with these videos is to help show that every drop of our precious Puget Sound is alive, and when we pollute it, the stormwater is not going into just water, but flowing into and poisoning the homes of the foundation of our food web, and a nursery for so many baby critters that it boggles the mind.
See more of the plankton here:
And check out Laura’s YouTube playlist. She says she’s working on a “key” to help plankton viewers know exactly what they’re seeing, too.
With this weekend’s Washington State Ferries woes – Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth is still running two boats because the un-mothballed M/V Evergreen State remains out of service – some have wondered about the status of ferries in view at Vigor on Harbor Island. The one in the foreground of our photo above is the 130-car M/V Kitsap, a 34-year-old ferry that is at Vigor until late September for $5 million worth of scheduled work, including painting and galley modifications. In the background at right is the M/V Yakima, in for about $310,000 of maintenance scheduled to last another week. The third ferry you might glimpse at Vigor is still being built, the 144-car M/V Samish, expected to go into service next year.
(Terminal 5, photographed today from SE Admiral area)
Three weeks after the last cargo ship called at now-closed Port of Seattle Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the resulting stretch of empty space continues to catch attention, and we’re still getting questions about why it’s empty. In short, if you missed previous stories: The port closed it and plans to “modernize” it to handle the huge new ships that are coming on line in the cargo industry, though it has not finalized plans for how to fund the full nine-digit price tag that project will cost.
Today, a new development – the Port Commission will be asked for approval next Tuesday to sell Terminal 5′s six cranes, which it says would have to be replaced anyway. The item on the agenda for next week’s commission meeting includes a memo that also surfaces a timeline for the modernization project, saying, “The objective of this effort is to design and build a facility capable of handling two EEE class vessels by mid-2018.” The cranes that Port management wants to sell were purchased in the 1980s, and appraised as worth up to $3.75 million, according to the memo, which adds, “With the direction to modernize Terminal 5, and as there are no other open Port terminals where the cranes could be utilized, it is desirable to sell the cranes while they are fully functional and have current certifications.” It also warns that the market for used cranes is “slow” and that if they don’t sell within six months, staff will come back to the commission to “obtain authorization to dispose of them in accordance with Port procedures, including paying to have the cranes dismantled and scrapped.”
The commission’s Tuesday meeting is at noon at Port headquarters (2711 Alaskan Way) and includes one other item related in part to modernization – authorization of $1.5 million to cover half the cost of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on possibly deepening its west and east waterways to accommodate larger ships.
Thanks to Anne for the photo from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where canoe paddlers are launching a trip across Elliott Bay to participate later this morning in a rally to show concern about environmental risks from increased oil/coal-carrying train/ship traffic in our region.
(Added 12:57 pm: Tweet with photo of Blue Heron Canoe‘s arrival:)
— 350 Seattle (@350_Seattle) August 11, 2014
(back to earlier report) We received this announcement about that rally late last night:
(Today) at 11 am a ‘Protect Our Salish Sea’ rally will begin with a traditional Northwest Coastal canoe landing and kayak flotilla at the beach below the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is a traditional sacred gathering place of the Coast Salish Nations. The rally will include speakers such as Freddy Lane and Laverne Lane of the Lummi Nation, a traditional welcoming and protocol by Ken Workman of the Duwamish Tribe, Mike Evans of the Snohomish Tribe leading a traditional canoe ‘Paddle to Seattle,’ activists Carlo Voli of 350 Seattle, and Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign. This is a family-friendly event that will include an inter-tribal jam session, a Water Blessing ceremony, and will be immediately followed by a procession to the tracks for a symbolic blockade of the BNSF Railroad at Alaskan and Broad Street in Seattle.
(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.
Followup: USS Constellation’s final voyage to start tomorrow; special Foss website will track the towAugust 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 1 Comment
(US Navy photo: USS Constellation in Elliott Bay during Seafair, 1996)
New information today about the last voyage of the USS Constellation, the aircraft carrier that’s about to be towed away from Bremerton after a decade, and that will pass West Seattle shortly after the start of its 18,000-mile tow to a Texas shipbreaking yard. Foss Maritime – whose ocean tug Corbin Foss is scheduled to tow the “Connie” – just let us know about a special website it’s set up to chronicle the journey; see it here. The trip is now set to start early tomorrow afternoon (Friday, August 8th), according to Foss, which says harbor tugs will bring it from Bremerton, and rendezvous with the Corbin Foss off Blake Island. You’ll be able to see it from West Seattle (primarily Beach Drive/Alki) once it’s out of Rich Passage and northward-bound into Puget Sound. The Constellation is one of the last few non-nuclear carriers to be scrapped; it’s been mothballed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard since it was decommissioned in 2003. It (and the Corbin Foss) will stop at Long Beach, California – last U.S. port – around the 16th.
It’s a wild place we live in … three reader reports to share:
WHALE WATCHING: Heard about the humpbacks in the area this past week or so? Colleen saw one and shared the photo:
A little late since this was Saturday night…..While boating with friends from West Seattle to Bainbridge Saturday evening around 5:15, we spotted a whale … We were so excited, our pictures are not that good. … It was awesome and unbelievable to be so close (our friends turned off their Bayliner’s engine as we watched the whale).
COYOTE REPORT: From Paul in North Admiral:
Just thought I’d pass on news of a coyote sighting in front of my house (Monday) morning on 42nd Ave between Seattle and Atlantic Streets in North Admiral. 4:30 am, I was leaving to go fishing, and a neighbor was walking his dog. We all must have come upon the coyote at the same time, and it took off running. Healthy looking adult. I’ve seen one here before, but it’s been several years.
RACCOONS: From Sean in Gatewood:
Spotted this mom and four youngsters at 8:30 (Monday) morning in my backyard. Very cute, but I’d prefer they dig holes elsewhere.
8:04 PM: Some questions came in this evening about two cruise ships that turned around and came back after leaving Seattle this afternoon. The Grand Princess, according to Princess Cruises via Twitter, returned for a “technical issue” but the cruise line hopes it will be able to leave tonight. MarineTraffic.com shows it still at Pier 91 in Magnolia as of this writing. The Norwegian Pearl, which had spent the day at Pier 66 downtown, had to deal with a medical emergency, according to this tweet by KIRO, and is already back out to sea, heading through north Puget Sound.
10:23 PM: The Grand Princess is under way again – MarineTraffic.com shows it off Shilshole, northbound.
(US Navy photo of USS Constellation decommissioning ceremony, 8/7/2003)
Thanks to JanS for spotting an update this weekend on the expected departure date for the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Constellation: The Kitsap Sun reports it now looks like Thursday, postponed from last Thursday, which in turn was later than a previously announced date. The KS story says this will be the biggest shipbreaking job ever for a yard in Brownsville, Texas, to which a tug from Seattle’s Foss Maritime will tow the “Connie” via a route all the way around the southernmost tip of South America, since it’s too big to fit through the Panama Canal. We’re watching this because it will be visible from West Seattle once it leaves Rich Passage and heads north into the open Sound. It’s been mothballed in Bremerton for more than a decade.
P.S. We found this webpage dedicated to “the Constellation’s final journey,” which in turn points to this San Diego report from last year with memories of Constellation veterans. And something else we discovered while researching to add to this – Thursday will be the 11th anniversary of the carrier’s decommissioning ceremony in San Diego.
TUESDAY NOTE: Kitsap Sun now reports it’s pushed back to a 5 pm departure Friday.
(UPDATED Wednesday evening with more photos plus clip from the aircraft “parade”)
(Updated video: 1:35 pm)
1:05 PM: We’re on Duwamish Head, where the Seafair Parade of Ships – led by the USS Essex, an amphibious-assault ship you might mistake for an aircraft carrier, is about to come into view after passing Alki. The ships will sail past here on their way to the downtown waterfront, which also will get a series of flyovers. Here again (from last night’s preview) is what you’re looking at/for, on the sea and in the sky – see the PDF here, or embedded below via Scribd:
Updates and photos to come!
(USS Essex, courtesy of Greg)
1:42 PM: Behind the USS Essex came the USS Chancellorsville, USS Howard, Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, and now, from Canada, HMCS Brandon.
(USS Chancellorsville, from Lynn Hall)
(USS Howard with fireboat Leschi, from Mark McAndrews)
(USCGC Mellon, courtesy of Greg)
(Chancellorsville and Howard, by Gary Jones)
1:54 PM: While the Parade of Ships has passed West Seattle – and the Essex is Magnolia-bound – the Parade of Flight is under way, with aircraft passing the downtown waterfront, fairly low, flying north and then turning west (added: video of two of them, passing over the entire ship parade):
2:15 PM: Show’s about over.
The Essex is docking over at Smith Cove. Info on tours over the next four days (all the Parade of Ships visitors) is in the brochure embedded above, if you’re interested in. We’re headed back to HQ to add photos and video to this.
Thanks to Leslie Allen for that photo of the Seattle fireboat Leschi off Alki during tonight’s sunset. Leschi is scheduled to be out again during the Seafair Parade of Ships tomorrow afternoon, which kicks off Fleet Week, including ship tours on the downtown waterfront. Details are in the official guide (see the PDF here, or embedded below via Scribd):
Still not sure what you’ll be seeing Wednesday afternoon? Check some of our previous years’ coverage – last Parade of Ships, in 2012, we were on board the USS Bunker Hill, so our perspective was from the middle of it all (thanks to community-contributed photos, though, we had views from the shore, too). Year before that, 2011, we covered it from Duwamish Head.
Again this year, the official time is 1:45 pm, but that’s calculated for downtown-waterfront viewing, so, based on those previous two years, we’d expect to see something from Alki around 1 pm. We’ll be out watching much sooner, of course, and will give heads-up, especially on WSB Twitter, WSB Facebook, and WSB Instagram, once ships are in view. And thanks in advance for any photo(s) you care to share!
ADDED: Navy sighting on Alki tonight, courtesy of Elain:
If you watch the Parade of Ships with binoculars, look for the sailors out on deck as they approach downtown. Meantime, you will also see one of the Blue Angels jets on Wednesday, flying with three “influencers” and one media rep, one at a time, between 11 am and 5 pm. They are Dennis Fraser, Civil Air Patrol squad commander (and a Marine Corps veteran); former Seahawk Marcus Trufant, Seafair’s current King Neptune; Sounders FC goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann; and Channel 7 anchor Michelle Millman.
1:19 PM: Water-watchers know the regular Bainbridge and Bremerton Washington State Ferries routes by heart, so it’s not hard to see when something digresses from the usual pattern. Right now, M/V Sealth has diverted from the Bremerton route to go check out trouble reported with M/V Tacoma, which is reported to be stalled by Bainbridge Island. You can track both via WSF’s VesselWatch.
1:26 PM: Update via Kitsap Sun reporter Josh Farley on Twitter:
— joshfarley (@joshfarley) July 29, 2014
The person whose photos he has re-tweeted is Van Badzik, who also tweeted this:
Starting the tow. pic.twitter.com/wn0Xlv1yxW
— Van Badzik (@Van_Bad) July 29, 2014
That’s West Seattle in the backdrop, east of where the ferry-towing is happening alongside Bainbridge.
1:39 PM: As noted in comments, and also now reported by the Kitsap Sun, the tug Thea Foss is headed over to help.
2:46 PM: The Tacoma is en route to Bainbridge to offload. WSF says the Bainbridge/Seattle run is one boat only TFN.
Bright as a star, named for an astronaut: What those bright lights across Puget Sound from West Seattle turned out to beJuly 28, 2014 at 3:47 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 7 Comments
(USNS John Glenn last night, WSB photo at twilight, from a distance)
ORIGINAL MONDAY REPORT: For the past few weeks, people with west-facing views from West Seattle have been noticing a new and VERY bright light from the Manchester vicinity (map). The WSB Forums even had a thread going for a while, and that led to the theory that the lights were coming from, or related to, a certain ship that’s been at the Manchester Naval Fuel Depot about that long, and finally confirmed it last night by taking a ride on the Seattle-Bremerton state ferry. The ship is the USNS John Glenn, a mobile landing platform that was just dedicated a few months ago. Here’s a US Navy file photo:
We observed the lights on the port (left) side of its superstructure, rising. Today, a spokesperson for Manchester told WSB earlier today that lighting is required when fuel/fluid operations are under way at night. What we’re still trying to find out is – if this is even available as public information – how long the USNS John Glenn, which apparently does not yet have a homeport, will be there. But since we’re still getting inquiries about this, we didn’t want to wait any longer to share the answer of WHAT the lights are.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The John Glenn headed out this morning and MarineTraffic.com now shows it almost to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, heading west.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: The JG is back at Manchester, bright lights and all, tonight. (Photo above, taken this afternoon by Gary Jones.)
LATE SUNDAY NIGHT: The John Glenn left Manchester at noon today and did NOT come back – we discovered this after noticing the westward view devoid of the bright lights. As of midnight, it was out of the Strait of JdF and heading south past the Washington seacoast.
More Seafair air-and-sea details: Blue Angels in Seattle tomorrow, Parade of Ships (and aircraft) WednesdayJuly 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 14 Comments
Welcome to seattle #7! pic.twitter.com/Gt4m2vEeJD
— Seafair Festival (@SeafairFestival) July 28, 2014
Earlier today, we mentioned military aircraft sightings linked to Marine Week, which is part of Seafair this year. But the big show is yet to come – the return of the Blue Angels. Love them or hate them, you might want to know when they’re coming in, in addition to when they’re practicing and performing. So we’ve just confirmed that six Blue Angels arrive at Boeing Field tomorrow (Monday) by 1 pm. (One arrived unannounced today – see Twitter photo above.) A downtown flyby is expected around 12:30 pm. Wednesday, #7 goes up for demonstration flights with one “influencer” and one media person. Then Thursday (9:45-noon and 1:15-2:40 I-90 bridge closures) and Friday are practices, Saturday-Sunday are the official shows (12:15 pm-2:40 pm I-90 closures the latter 3 days). More as the week goes on. Also:
PARADE OF SHIPS/FLIGHT: We’ve already mentioned this feature returns this year too, and the ships will be visible from West Seattle shores on Wednesday afternoon – you might glimpse the aircraft from here too, though in the past we’ve noticed the flybys were closer to downtown. Here’s the list of participating vessels and aircraft expected along the downtown waterfront around 1:45 (so, obviously, passing West Seattle earlier):
Parade of Ships
Parade of Flight
Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demonstration – MH-54D
(US Navy photo: USS Constellation in Elliott Bay during Seafair, 1996)
Advance notice for everyone who is interested in what passes our shores: The decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Constellation is scheduled to be towed from Bremerton one week from today (Thursday, July 31st), which means you’ll be able to see it – at a distance – from Alki Point southward. Its eventual destination will be Brownsville, Texas, where it will be broken up. It’s been mothballed in Bremerton for almost a decade, after being decommissioned in 2003 and then towed here from San Diego, following 42 years in service. A time for its departure hasn’t been announced yet, but we’ll be watching in the days ahead.
SIDE NOTE: One day before the Constellation’s move, active Navy ships participating in the Seafair Fleet will be visible from even more of the West Seattle shore. Here’s our recent preview of the July 30th Parade of Ships.
ADDED: Just noticed that the Kitsap Sun now reports this isn’t likely to happen until sometime the week of August 4th.
Moored on this murky day at the Port of Seattle‘s Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the Westwood Olympia is the last ship scheduled for a T-5 call TFN. After 50 years as a cargo terminal, T-5 will be idle once this ship departs. We reported last month on the port’s plan to close T-5 while spending $5 million planning a modernization project, so that it can handle new mega-sized ships – but there’s no plan yet for where the port will get the up to one-quarter-billion dollars the project will cost. Port spokesperson Peter McGraw tells WSB that “during the multi-year design and permitting phase of Terminal 5 Modernization, we will be working to attract interim maritime uses to this industrial facility.” Meantime, while other shipping lines that used it are moving to other Seattle terminals, Westwood ships are going back to Tacoma after 31 years, with its first call there scheduled for one week from today.
ADDED FRIDAY: For the record, here’s a Port memo about some of the terms related to the T-5 shutdown, as Eagle Marine Service moves on to sublease space on Harbor Island.
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Header image by Nick Adams. ABSOLUTELY NO WSB PHOTO REUSE WITHOUT SITE OWNERS' PERMISSION.
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