PHOTOS: Orca sightings off West Seattle

October 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 9 Comments

(ADDED: Photo by Paul Brannan - orca off Fauntleroy)

5:43 PM: Caller says a few orcas are southbound – playfully, not speedily – off Constellation Park south of Alki Point right now. Might be “transients,” which Orca Network says have been in the central Sound today. Let us know if you see them!

7:46 PM: Adding a photo – thanks, Paul!

8:25 PM: And thanks to Araya Casey Photography for sharing these images:

The photos were taken in the Alki area.

West Seattle whale watching: Sightings reported in Alki area

September 28, 2015 at 10:51 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 17 Comments

(Photo taken from Alki today, by Trileigh Tucker)

10:51 AM: Multiple reports of whales in the Alki Point vicinity. First, the Orca Network cited a WSF report of orcas; Jeff from Killer Whale Tales says it might instead be the humpbacks that have been in the area. Off to look!

11:24 AM: Breezy morning so lots of whitecaps off both Constellation Park and Alki – hard to see whale spouts unless you’re really close (or have a great eye/telescope). Jeff says the humpbacks have been breaching in the ferry lanes north of Alki Point. (West Seattle-based The Whale Trail offers a species-by-species guide if you’re not sure you’d know the difference between a humpback and an orca.)

12:41 PM: West Seattle photographer Trileigh Tucker saw one from Alki – and has the photo to prove it. Added above – thanks!

Off West Seattle, cruise season’s about to end until next year

September 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm | In Port of Seattle, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Around 4 pm, Holland America Line’s Amsterdam and Noordam and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl are scheduled to sail out of Elliott Bay, ending the 2015 Seattle cruise season. According to the Port of Seattle‘s media advisory for the departures:

For the eighth year in a row, Port of Seattle cruise terminals welcomed over 800,000 revenue passengers. This year brought 192 cruise ship calls. Seattle’s cruise business — currently leading all cruise homeports on the West Coast in passenger volume — is responsible for over 3,600 jobs, $441 million in annual business revenue, and $17.2 million annually in state and local tax revenues. Each homeported cruise vessel brings $2.5 million to the local economy.

Amsterdam and Noordam are leaving Pier 91 in Magnolia; Norwegian Pearl is sailing from Pier 66 downtown.

West Seattle whale watching: Sighting near Fauntleroy ferry dock; northbound at sunset

September 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm | In Fauntleroy, Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 7 Comments

5:08 PM: Via Orca Network on Twitter and Facebook, “Washington State Ferries reports a large whale, probably a humpback, off the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle.” Please let us know if you see it (and which way it seems to be heading)!

6:50 PM: Sheri reports, via Twitter, that she just saw it dive off Lincoln Park, and that it’s heading north.

More hope for Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales: Fifth baby orca in less than a year!

September 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 6 Comments

For the fifth time in less than a year, Puget Sound’s Southern Resident Killer Whales have welcomed a baby. The Instagram-shared photo above and news release below are from the Center for Whale Research:

Today there was another new baby in the L pod! L91 was first seen near Sooke, BC this morning with a very newborn calf, confirmed a few hours later by Mark Malleson off Victoria, BC and CWR staffers, Dave Ellifrit and Melissa Pinnow, and by colleagues Drs. John Durban, Holly Fearnbach, and Lance Barrett-Lennard.

These latter colleagues happened to be in the area conducting a sequel to CWR aerial measurements of all of the SRKW’s (Southern Resident Killer Whales), this time with a very sophisticated hexacopter (Unmanned Aerial System – UAS, or drone). The measurements were accomplished on the US side of the border as Dave and Melissa took numerous identification photographs from the research vessel “Orca” at a respectful distance. The new calf is designated L122, and is the fifth new baby to come into the population since December, 2014. The mother and baby and other L pod whales spent the afternoon and evening in Haro Strait ‘fishing’, and by day’s end were joined by J and K pod members.

In the forty-year history of ORCA SURVEY, a long-term photo-identification study of this whale population, the greatest number of calves born in a year was 9 in 1977, and there were none born that survived in 2013 or 2014. We hope this year’s ‘baby boom’ represents a turnaround in what has been a negative population trend in recent years.

The four babies born in the previous nine months:
*J52 in March
*L121 in late February
*J51 in mid-February
*J50 last December

West Seattle whale watching: Sighting in Elliott Bay

September 4, 2015 at 8:46 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 1 Comment

If you have eyes on Elliott Bay, watch for spouts. Ian reports via Twitter that he’s seen multiple spouts by an unknown type of whale that’s “made a huge circle of the bay.” (P.S. Our most recent sighting report was last Sunday, humpbacks near Alki Point.)

West Seattle whale watching: Alki Point sighting this morning

August 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 13 Comments

Thanks to Guy and Joy Smith for the photo and this report:

At 9 o’clock this am, we saw 2 marine mammals traveling south off Alki Point. They were exhaling big clouds of steam and we knew they were too large to be either Harbor or Dall’s Porpoises. We grabbed our handy guide, handed out by the Whale Trail organization at the Bath House this summer, and it indicates they were probably Minke whales. They are in the 20 to 30 foot range and that’s about what we guessed. Wikipedia says their dives can be up to 20 minutes. If we had known to wait that long we might have gotten another picture.

Obviously Guy and Joy saw more than just this photo, so they were gauging by more than what’s seen in the photo, but the fin also looks like it could have been a humpback. Anyone else see these whales?

West Seattle whales: Orcas reported, heading southbound

August 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 1 Comment

Three reports of orcas off our shores – most recently, just before 2:30 pm, off Beach Drive in the Me-Kwa-Mooks vicinity, headed southbound. As always, we hope you’ll let us know (comments or text/voice 206-293-6302) if you see them!

West Seattle whale watching: Orcas reported to be heading this way

August 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 7 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 12:07 PM: Just texted by Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales: Orcas reported to be in Elliott Bay, headed toward Alki. On our way to look; please let us know if you see them!

1:26 PM UPDATE: We looked from Constellation Park, around Duwamish Head and beyond, no sightings, and we’ve heard nothing further; checked the Orca Network as well, and assuming this is the group of “transient” killer whales their readers spotted, they have no further sightings either, with speculation the whales might have gone into Kitsap waters. Could turn up later!

West Seattle scene: Tsunami-debris barge has arrived

August 6, 2015 at 10:03 am | In Environment, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Last night, we mentioned a barge full of trash including tsunami debris was expected at Waste Management Northwest‘s South Park dock in time for a media event tomorrow morning. Looks like it’ll be there in plenty of time:

Steve just sent these photos from the low bridge as a barge matching the WMNW photos went through, headed southbound on the Duwamish River:

Here’s more backstory – including some details we didn’t have in last night’s story – the barge is the Dioskouroi.

Barge with unusual cargo that’ll pass West Seattle on Friday: Tsunami debris

August 5, 2015 at 6:41 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

(Photos courtesy Waste Management NW)
From the “what you’ll see at sea” file: Waste Management Northwest says the 300-foot barge you see above is on its way to its South Park dock after a trip to Alaska…

… where helicopters were used to pick up more than 3,000 super sacks filled with hundreds of tons of marine debris, each weighing approximately 400 pounds.

A significant amount of the collected debris was generated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and was subsequently deposited by winds and currents along the remote coastlines of Alaska and Canada. … The barge will arrive and unload the super sacks of marine debris on Waste Management’s Seattle dock. In a few weeks, local environmental volunteer groups will sort the material for recycling at an event coordinated by Parley for the Oceans, a national non-profit focused on addressing threats to the world’s oceans. Material Innovation company Bionic Yarn will then transform the sorted marine debris plastic into high-performance textiles and polymers. All remaining debris will travel via train to the Columbia Ridge landfill.

WM isn’t sure yet exactly when the barge will enter the Duwamish River; it’s hosting a media briefing at 11 am this Friday (August 7th) and the barge is expected to be docked by then.

Also happening today: Seattle Grind canoe races, from Alki

August 1, 2015 at 11:12 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

Thanks to Kathryn Schledwitz for sharing photos from Alki with news that the Seattle Grind canoe races are under way this morning. The women/mixed long-course racers are paddling from Alki to Blake Island and back right now.

The Lake Union-based Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club organizes the races. This year they’re running a short course too, 4 miles along Alki, scheduled for a 2:30 pm run, after the 12:30 pm long-course men’s race.

P.S. A different group of paddlers will be racing from Alki later this month – the Great Cross-Sound Race on August 22nd.

AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: Seafair Parade of Ships, visible from West Seattle shores, after Blue Angels flyby

July 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(ADDED: Photo by David Hutchinson)
12:31 PM: We’re on the shore at Duwamish Head as the Seafair Parade of Ships fleet comes into view to the northwest, passing Bainbridge Island, with the amphibious-assault ship USS Boxer (looks like an aircraft carrier, but isn’t) in the lead. And, as also previewed this morning …

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
… the Blue Angels have just flown by, after buzzing the Mariners-game crowd at Safeco Field, now en route to a Whidbey Island flyover.

(ADDED: Photo by Robert Spears, post-Safeco, pre-West Seattle)
Still time to get to the Alki/Duwamish Head/etc. shore if you want to watch the ships. More to come.

(ADDED: Photo by Gary Jones)
1 PM: Right on time, the lead ships are making the turn at Alki Point and heading along the north/northwest-facing West Seattle shore.

1:25 PM: USS Boxer is now fully in view from Duwamish Head, with two destroyers to follow, fireboat Leschi ahead of it, and a Coast Guard patrol escort alongside it.

(ADDED: USS Boxer photo by Lynn Hall)

(ADDED: Photo by Monica Zaborac – USCGC Midgett and HMCS Brandon)

1:48 PM: The parade continues; USS Boxer is now turning northward along the downtown waterfront, right behind the water-spouting fireboat Leschi.

More spectators out here than in years past, on the shore and in the water via kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. If you’ve missed earlier coverage – the ships will dock on the waterfront at Piers 66, 69, and 90, where they’ll be open for tours the next four days.

HMCS Whitehorse is next, followed by HMCS Brandon.

2:03 PM: And that’s it – at least from West Seattle, though we can still see the ships on their “official” downtown passes. Thanks to everyone who’s sending photos – we’ll be adding (and substituting) shortly!

(ADDED: Photos by David Hutchinson – CGC Midgett, above, USS Boxer, below)

Seafair in West Seattle: Fleet arrival before parade tomorrow; Blue Angels technicians @ South Seattle College on Friday

July 28, 2015 at 1:53 pm | In Blue Angels, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

Two Seafair/U.S. Navy notes:

FLEET ARRIVING, PARADE TOMORROW: Thanks to Lynn Hall for that photo of the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) arriving today in advance of the Seafair Parade of Ships tomorrow and tours Thursday-Sunday. As first previewed here last week, the Dewey is one of seven ships (U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Canadian Navy) you’ll see in the seagoing parade, which should pass West Seattle’s north-facing shores around 1 pm tomorrow.

BLUE ANGELS TECHNICIANS AT SSC ON FRIDAY: Three years ago, we covered a Blue Angels pilot and support-crew member speaking at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Seafair Friday. This year, two technicians from the support team are due at SSC, which says the presentation is open to the public:

Two US Navy Blue Angels technicians will hold an hour-long presentation and audience Q&A at South Seattle College on Friday, July 31, to provide a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes support that goes into Blue Angels performances, including the Seafair shows this weekend.

The presentation occurs from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on July 31 in the Olympic Hall Auditorium at South’s West Seattle campus. The free event is open to the public, with limited seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Petty Officer of the Navy 1st Class Zoltan Prestridge (aviation maintenance control team) and Petty Officer of the Navy 2nd Class Cyrille Sandusky (aviation electrician crew chief) will discuss the background and training that led to their position with the Blue Angels, and what it’s like to ensure the safety of pilots’ planes as they perform aerial stunts.

The Blue Angels’ visit was coordinated by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) Chapter 19, a student club made up of female aeronautical technicians in training at South. Whether training in the Aviation Maintenance Technology or Aerospace Composite Technology programs at the college, the experience will be memorable for South aviation students.

“We share an industry and a passion (with the speakers) … and their experiences are highly educational and motivational for all of us,” AWAM club member Sherry Loeser said.

Olympic Hall is on the south end of the campus (6000 16th SW). The Blue Angels’ practice airshow that day isn’t until 1:40 pm, enabling the technicians to visit in the morning.

U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian lineup set for Seafair Parade of Ships past West Seattle, plus tours

July 21, 2015 at 2:11 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(US Navy file photo of USS Boxer)

One week from tomorrow, it’s the next Seafair event you can watch without leaving West Seattle – the Parade of Ships, sailing past our shores on Wednesday afternoon, July 29th. And today, we know which ships are participating: Comprising this year’s Seafair fleet are the U.S. Navy’s 844-foot amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4 – it looks like an aircraft carrier) and guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Dewey (DDG 105), plus one U.S. Coast Guard vessel – 378-foot CGC Midgett – and three Royal Canadian Navy ships, 440-foot HMCS Vancouver, 181-foot HMCS Whitehorse, and 181-foot HMCS Brandon. (Read more about them on the Seafair website.)

The ships will pass West Seattle in the 1 pm vicinity on July 29th, then past downtown around 1:45 pm, and circling back to their docks. Then the following day, tours start. From the Seafair website:


U.S. Navy:
Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Gridley
Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Dewey

U.S. Coast Guard:
High-Endurance Cutter CGC Midgett

Thursday, July 30 – Saturday, August 1
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 2

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



Royal Canadian Navy:
HMCS Brandon

HMCS Whitehorse

Thursday, July 30 – Saturday, August 1
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 2

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.



U.S. Navy:
Amphibious Assault Ship USS Boxer (LHD 4)

Royal Canadian Navy:
HMCS Vancouver

Thursday, July 30 – Sunday, August 2
12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

See the Seafair website for important info before you go take the tours, which are free. For the Parade of Ships – just find a spot along the shore, from Alki to Jack Block (or of course downtown).

VIDEO: Giant Pacific Octopus mom-to-be in West Seattle waters

July 15, 2015 at 12:00 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 4 Comments

(Photo and video by Laura James)
It’s beautiful – and sad. Protecting her eggs until they hatch is the last thing this Giant Pacific Octopus will ever do. But it’s an amazing sight to see, and “Diver Laura” James plans to check back on this one, in hopes of catching the hatching when it happens (she’s recorded the process before – see the end of this story). This octopus and her eggs are at Cove 2 near Seacrest off the West Seattle shore. Here’s the video version:

GPOs usually lay thousands of eggs. The survival rate is infinitesimal.

P.S. You can help this octopus, her future babies, and the rest of Puget Sound sea life (ultimately benefiting those of us on shore, too) by following the simple advice here.

Off West Seattle shores: Aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis heading out

July 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | Comments Off

Seeing a big Navy ship northbound past West Seattle? It’s the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, heading out from Bremerton on pre-deployment training and inspections, according to the Kitsap Sun.

Shell’s other rig heads north, without ever coming to Terminal 5

June 30, 2015 at 6:08 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Photo by Valerie Costa)
According to tracking and photos tweeted by drilling opponents, the leased-by-Shell drillship Noble Discoverer is starting its journey to the Arctic. Its departure from Everett comes two weeks and one day after Shell’s other rig, Polar Pioneer, left Terminal 5 in West Seattle. At one point, it was expected that Noble Discoverer also would come to T-5 as part of Foss’s interim lease, but instead it’s been in Everett since its Puget Sound arrival. Polar Pioneer arrived in the Aleutian Islands last weekend as a stop along the way to the Chukchi Sea; several other Shell vessels that have spent time at T-5 in recent weeks are there already – including Aiviq and Harvey Explorer – or en route, including Harvey Champion, now in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When they’ll return depends on what happens or doesn’t happen in the Arctic between now and September.

West Seattle whale-watching: Transient orcas seen off Alki

June 21, 2015 at 11:33 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, Wildlife | 3 Comments

Just got a text that up to six transient killer whales are visible from Alki right now, and heading “north into Elliott Bay.” (Transients are the non-resident orcas whose prey includes other marine mammals; residents are the members of the three Puget Sound-based J, K, and L pods, who eat fish.) Please let us know if you see them – we’ll be looking too, but don’t always have the best of luck!

REPORT #2: Shell’s Polar Pioneer leaves West Seattle; 24 ‘detained’ in kayak-blockade attempt

June 15, 2015 at 6:27 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 43 Comments

6:27 AM: Picking up from our all-night coverage – right now, Foss tugs are pulling the Polar Pioneer out of the west mouth of the Duwamish River, a month after its arrival, and a kayak blockade is trying to stop it.

Heavy police and Coast Guard presence in the area, on sea and in the air, plus we’ve seen police bicycle officers at Terminal 5 in the wake of the rig’s pullout.

6:32 AM: The rig and tugs are fully out in the bay now and the blockade appears to be moving along with them.

6:35 AM: The tugs and rig briefly stopped but are now moving, very slowly, again. Commenters in our earlier coverage asked why protesters are trying to stop it from leaving, since they didn’t want it here in the first place.

They have said that the point is to try to keep it from getting to the Arctic in its relatively short summer window, to stop it from drilling.

6:47 AM: The group continues to advance toward Duwamish Head, tugs, Polar Pioneer, kayakers and all. The Lindsey Foss and Garth Foss are pulling the Polar Pioneer while the Andrew Foss and Henry Foss are behind. The first three also were among the tugs that brought it into Seattle from Port Angeles on May 14th.

7:10 AM: We’ve moved over to Don Armeni, which has been protest HQ for some days now. Red flags are set up on the shore.

7:19 AM: The protest group says there have been “several arrests.” No further details or confirmation so far.

7:47 AM: We’re still at Don Armeni, but about to move on; the rig is out of sight, and some kayakers continue returning to the ramp here. Most of the citywide media has left. We asked if anyone knows how long the Solar Pioneer barge will stay; no info on that yet. (As we reported last night, a cleanup is scheduled today at the spot near Seacrest where its cables and blocks did damage before it moved west.)

8:28 AM: We’re back at HQ and will be adding/replacing some photos. If any new information emerges later, regarding arrests or anything else related to today’s departure, we’ll update this story. A couple points in the meantime:

*Polar Pioneer is headed first to Dutch Harbor, AK, a 12-day trip, according to this Houston Chronicle story we linked and explained in our overnight report

*Foss has a 2-year lease with the Port of Seattle for part of Terminal 5, and the plan has been for Shell to return here after Arctic-drilling season. In the meantime, though, the permit fight will play out, with a city hearing set for July 23rd. As we first reported over the weekend, maritime companies are seeking to join that fight, in a group calling itself the “T-5 Intervenors.”

10:10 AM: No arrests confirmed but the Coast Guard has tweeted that 24 people were detained:

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien is reported to have been among the detainees.

11:48 AM: What the protesters couldn’t do, the tide apparently did – the Shell No group texted about an hour ago – right around the lowest tide of the day, almost the lowest of the month – that Polar Pioneer was “beached” off Bainbridge Island. We were away from HQ but tweeted it and then noted that it was indeed still visible in the distance from Alki. As of right now, still shows it and its accompanying vessels – plus Coast Guard and police – in the same spot off north Bainbridge Island.

11:54 AM: Foss spokesperson Paul Queary says it’s not stuck – it’s a planned change of tugs.

4:45 PM: The Polar Pioneer is currently passing between North Kitsap and South Whidbey. West Seattle pilot/photographer Cuyler Binion shared this aerial view from earlier:

What you’re seeing at sea: USCG Cutter Healy off Alki Point

June 13, 2015 at 1:48 pm | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

(Added: Photo by Gary Jones)
1:48 PM: From the “in case you wondered, too” files: Thanks to the tipster who texted (206-293-6302 any time) that the 420-foot US Coast Guard Cutter Healy is off Alki Point right now. Our tipster also points out that the Seattle-based Healy has a big mission ahead in late summer, headed for the North Pole to study the chemistry of Arctic waters. (P.S. Thanks in advance if you have a photo to share – we can’t get down to the water right now!)

2:20 PM: Thanks to Gary Jones for the photo we’ve added atop this story – which, as you’ll see, includes other vessels in what he says appears to be a ceremony. We’re checking! (USCGC Healy did have a change of command earlier this month, for starters …)

4:20 PM: Might be related. Eve says she inquired at the lighthouse after noticing party preparations there and was told it was for a retiring captain.

In case you wondered too: Pierce County ferry off West Seattle

June 12, 2015 at 10:22 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | Comments Off

FRIDAY MORNING: Thanks to Janna for the photo and news of the sighting – what she described as the “little ferry” seen off West Seattle this morning is the Pierce County ferry Steilacoom II. Looks like it’s headed to Vigor for maintenance in drydock.

ADDED SUNDAY NIGHT: We happened to catch this photo while visiting Jack Block Park; adding it for posterity:

Seen off West Seattle: USS John C. Stennis heading out

June 8, 2015 at 9:54 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(Added 10:26 am: Thanks to Cindi for the photo!)
Thanks to Joseph for the tip that an aircraft carrier is visible off West Seattle right now, heading out of Rich Passage. According to the Kitsap Sun (via Twitter), it’s the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), though they apparently (unlike most departures) did not have advance word. It’s been back in Bremerton less than a month, following six weeks of training at sea.

West Seattle scenes: Kayak procession for World Environment Day

June 6, 2015 at 6:51 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 26 Comments

One last set of scenes from Friday night before we move on to Saturday – lanterns and lights in a variety of forms, on the shore and the bay.

This was from the “illuminated flotilla” procession marking World Environment Day, following a concert presented by the Vashon-based Backbone Campaign on the protest barge “Solar Pioneer” off Don Armeni. We counted about 30 kayaks as well as the sailboat above.

Seattle Police Harbor Patrol was in evidence throughout (and we saw the Coast Guard’s smaller vessels in the early going)

On shore, lights included giant tulips as well as these salmon:

The kayaks eventually paddled past Seacrest, toward Jack Block, then turned around.

For those who’ve been asking about the concerts and events on the barge, which apparently have been audible all the way up the hill into Admiral, the ShellNo website lists a “jazz band” for tonight, no further details.

Local swimmer Andrew Malinak hoping to become 2nd person to swim between Tacoma and West Seattle

June 4, 2015 at 9:04 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 6 Comments

You’ve probably seen him in the water off Alki – and this Saturday, you’ll see Andrew Malinak off Lincoln Park (and points south) if he’s successful in the swim he’s just announced:

On Saturday, 6 June 2015, Seattle resident Andrew Malinak will attempt to swim from Tacoma to West Seattle. This swim, between Old Town Dock and Lincoln Park, covers over 18.8 miles and will follow Marathon Swimming Federation rules for unassisted swims (no wetsuit or outside assistance). The swim is expected to take between seven and nine hours with water temperatures between 52F and 55F.

Tacoma native Bert Thomas swam from West Seattle to Tacoma in 1956, and remains the only person to have ever done so. A year prior, Thomas was the first person to successfully swim the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a swim Malinak attempted in 2013 and will attempt again later this year. The reverse of Thomas’s original route has not been attempted before.

To prepare for the cold water and long distance, Malinak has been training at Alki Beach, West Seattle throughout the winter and spring. He has previously completed a circumnavigation of Manhattan (2012, 28.5 miles), a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar (2010, 10 miles), and most recently 8 Bridges, a seven-stage swim down the Hudson River in New York (2014, 120 miles). He will be supported on this swim by Peter Ray, local swimmers Wendy Van De Sompele, Melissa Nordquist, Dan Robinson, and Erika Norris, Boston marathon swimmer Elaine Howley, and Citizens for a Healthy Bay of Tacoma.

If all goes according to plan, Malinak expects to arrive at Lincoln Park around 4:30; Twitter updates are planned at

(Photo courtesy Andrew Malinak)

Shell @ Terminal 5: Next round of protest events announced, including ‘luminary flotilla’ Friday

June 2, 2015 at 5:03 pm | In Environment, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 43 Comments

(May 2015 photo of ‘Solar Pioneer,’ with Polar Pioneer in background, by David Hutchinson)
While Shell’s Arctic-offshore-drilling vessels might be leaving as soon as June 10th, opponents have announced another round of protest events in West Seattle. According to an online schedule (found earlier on this webpage, but it’s timing out as we write this), they’re including two “welcoming” events today and Thursday at the park adjacent to Delridge Community Center and a gathering tomorrow night across the street at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, as well as “land blockades” as soon as Friday and a Friday night flotilla near the People’s Platform/Solar Pioneer barge off Don Armeni Boat Ramp.

ADDED 6:25 PM: We went over to the Delridge CC park to check on the “welcoming” event and found two people under a canopy along with this sign near the corner of Delridge and Genesee:

They told us someone had already sent police over to check on them; the officers stopped by, and left.

(back to original report) Meantime, the state Department of Natural Resources confirmed to WSB that Shell has responded to its questions about whether the drilling platform is too big for T-5, but hasn’t made the response public yet, saying DNR staffers are “reviewing” it.

West Seattle sea scene: Another Shell fleet vessel, Tor Viking II

May 30, 2015 at 11:56 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

From the “what’s that vessel?” file: Thanks to Lynn Hall and Don Brubeck for sending photos of this icebreaker/tug seen off West Seattle this morning – that’s Lynn’s photo above. Online information indicates that the Norway-built Tor Viking II is associated with the Royal Dutch Shell offshore-Arctic-drilling fleet; while most of the information involves its tasks from Shell’s 2012 Arctic efforts, this is one of the more than two dozen vessels listed in the U.S. Coast Guard “rule” for Puget Sound “temporary safety zones” related to Shell’s fleet.

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