Seen at sea – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:58:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 1 ship with 4 giant cranes will pass West Seattle on Friday Wed, 21 Feb 2018 21:21:56 +0000 (Photo courtesy Northwest Seaport Alliance)

This should be a sight at sea sometime Friday – a big ship carrying four of the biggest container cranes on the West Coast, headed to Tacoma. From the Northwest Seaport Alliance announcement:

Puget Sound Pilots are scheduled to board the Zhen Hua 28, a 761-foot-long heavy-lift ship, early Friday morning in Port Angeles and begin the journey to Tacoma. …

The ship will sit at anchor in Commencement Bay for a day or two before delivering the cranes to Husky Terminal at the northwest end of the Blair Waterway.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance ordered eight new super-post-Panamax cranes from Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (ZPMC) in China through a competitive bid process. No container cranes currently are manufactured in the U.S. ZPMC is the largest heavy-duty equipment manufacturer in the world and delivers more than 200 cranes every year around the world, including many seaports in the U.S. The other four cranes will arrive in 2019.

Find out more about the cranes in this NWSA video:

They’ll be 50 feet higher than the biggest ones in the area now, with “an outreach of 24 containers and a lift height of 165 feet above the pier deck.” The Tacoma terminal where they’ll be used is part of an ongoing overhaul project.

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WEST SEATTLE WHALE-WATCHING: Orcas not far away Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:53:50 +0000 2:53 PM: Thanks to Kersti Muul, who pointed out via text that an Orca Network commenter reported orcas off Fay Bainbridge Park on north Bainbridge Island [map] about an hour ago – if they continued southbound, they could end up off West Seattle. Kersti is watching from Constellation Park south of Alki Point and “not seeing anything yet,” but we thought we’d share the potential heads-up. (And whether or not you get to do any whale-watching today, remember The Whale Trail has an event tonight!)

5:21 PM: Now alongside north Vashon, per comments, as dusk approaches.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Alaska ferry M/V Kennicott Thu, 15 Feb 2018 19:47:01 +0000

Thanks to Alki Point photographer Gary Jones for the photo of the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry M/V Kennicott, which is out on sea trials off West Seattle right now. The 20-year-old, 382-foot ferry has been at Vigor on Harbor Island, undergoing maintenance, and is due to go back into service in Alaska before month’s end.

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Wild waves today, ‘king tides’ and lunar eclipse next week Sat, 27 Jan 2018 23:11:58 +0000 Separate from the Coast Guard response mentioned earlier – it’s an afternoon of wild waves on West Seattle’s western shores:

(WSB photo)

That’s the view looking north from Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook, across from Me-Kwa-Mooks. Just after high tide (12:12 pm, 11.6 feet), the water was high enough to go over the stairs and walkway below:

(WSB photo)

At Constellation Park, in-car wave-watching was popular:

(WSB photo)

A texted view:

We can’t guarantee the wind will be up too, but the high tides will be much higher next week – “king tide” level – with the Wednesday (January 31st) full moon: 12.6 feet at 5:25 am that day, 12.9 feet at 6:03 am Thursday, 13.0 feet at 6:40 am Friday – that’s the peak.

Depending on the cloud cover, early risers also have the chance to see the lunar eclipse on Wednesday – starting at 3:48 am, according to Totality will be from 4:51 am until 6:05 am; moonset is at 7:44 am.

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UPDATE: US Coast Guard says response off Beach Drive was ‘false alarm’ Sat, 27 Jan 2018 20:54:14 +0000 (Photo courtesy Doug B)

We are at Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook, after numerous reports of a US Coast Guard vessel and helicopter off Beach Drive. Big wind and waves, but the USCG was gone when we arrived, and there has been no SFD rescue dispatch of any kind.

(Texted photo)

We reached the USCG after-hours media number and they tell us they got a report of a paddleboarder in distress and sent crews to check it out but it “was a false alarm.”

(Photo courtesy Doug B)

ADDED 1:16 PM: Multiple readers tell us they tracked the paddleboarder in question and that he made it safely around the point to Alki (photo above), where the water is decidedly calmer.

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About the early-morning helicopter search over Puget Sound: 1 person dead, 1 in critical condition Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:22:42 +0000 Around 5 am, we got texts from a few people in southwesternmost West Seattle and beyond – The Arroyos and Shorewood – wondering about what appeared to be a helicopter search/rescue operation involving the U.S. Coast Guard. We couldn’t find out anything at the time, and later tried reaching the USCG by phone with no success, but now this USCG news release is just in, distributed by the King County Sheriff’s Office:

Coast Guard air and boat crews rescued one woman and recovered one man after their 15-foot paddleboat was reportedly beset by weather near Three Tree Point in Burien, Wash., Sunday morning.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles and a Station Seattle rescue boat crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium responded to the incident and transferred both mariners to local Emergency Medical Service personnel.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound watchstanders received initial notification from King County Dispatch at 2:53 a.m., reporting two individuals aboard a paddleboat potentially beset by weather. Sector personnel established communication with the mariners via cell phone and reported hearing a loud scream before losing connection.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard aircrew discovered the capsized vessel near Seahurst Park.

At 4:51 a.m., the aircrew located an unresponsive female in the water and vectored in the boat crew to rescue her. The crew transported her to the Fauntleroy Ferry dock where a local EMS crew was waiting.

At 5:02 a.m., a male was recovered by the helicopter crew and transported to Boeing airfield where he was pronounced dead by a local EMS crew at 5:38 a.m.

The female is reportedly in critical condition and is being treated at Harborview Medical Center hospital.

KCSO is investigating. Sgt. Cindi West says the man who died was from Burien, the woman from Vashon Island.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS John C. Stennis, headed out for training Wed, 17 Jan 2018 03:00:05 +0000

Thanks to Gary Jones for the photo from Alki Point as the Bremerton-based aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) headed out, northbound in Puget Sound, late today. According to this post on the Stennis’s website, the vessel and its sailors are headed out for “routine training … scheduled to conduct flight operations, damage control and firefighting training, seamanship training, medical training, and exercises designed to maintain technical and tactical proficiency in a variety of warfare areas.”

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UPDATE: Orcas in Elliott Bay off West Seattle – photos added! Sat, 13 Jan 2018 20:41:15 +0000 (Added: Photo by David Hutchinson – orcas passing cormorants @ Duwamish Head light)

12:41 PM: Thanks for the tip – a couple of Orca Network commenters are reported orcas seen off West Point, across Elliott Bay, described as “drifting southward” as of about 20 minutes ago. So this is early heads-up that they *might* be visible here before long. We’ll be heading out with our binoculars to look.

(Added: Photo by Susan Numbers)

1:31 PM: We looked too soon. Just got a call from Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales that they turned into Elliott Bay and at least half a dozen have just passed Seacrest and are “headed [northeast] toward the Space Needle.”

2 PM They have changed direction and are headed back west toward the mouth of the bay. We have also heard from Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail, who is watching from Luna/Anchor Park, while Jeff is with a group at Don Armeni Boat Ramp.

(Added: Photo by Dan Ciske)

3:36 PM: They turned north within the past hour, Dan on Alki tells us. We ourselves caught one glimpse as they headed back out of the bay – and then lost sight.

4:00 PM: Photos added – thanks to everyone who sent them! These were transient orcas, not residents, were told – one major difference is diet; transients eat mammals, too, which means the sea lions we saw in the vicinity were being extra brave and/or foolhardy!

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Duwamish Head yacht race – plus northbound orcas! Sat, 06 Jan 2018 20:21:21 +0000

12:21 PM: Thanks to Mark for the photo from Upper Fauntleroy – the sailboats are part of the Three Tree Yacht Club‘s Duwamish Head Race, which started this morning in Des Moines.

(Photo by Gary Jones)

Speaking about points south – Kersti Muul has been keeping us updated on resident orcas (K Pod) seen south of here, heading this way. Orca Network commenters have seen them off north Vashon as of a few minutes ago, still northbound, so if you’re interested in whale watching, you might grab binoculars soon and head to the west-facing West Seattle shore. It’s murky out there but on the other hand, the whales stand out even more against silver water.

By the way, there’s also word a whale was seen in the area a few hours ago – swimmer Melissa was out and said her group thought it might have been a humpback – if you saw that one, let us know!

12:55 PM ORCA UPDATE: Kersti says they are moving fast, now north of Vashon.

1:04 PM: We can see them from north end of Emma Schmitz Overlook, with binoculars.

1:16 PM: Lost track of them and we’re moving on. Some of the racing yachts are still out there, and the weather has cleared somewhat, so it’s a nice view anyway if you want to try your luck.

(Added: Photo by Monica Zaborac)

2:57 PM: Orca Network commenters say the whales are north of West Seattle now – so our viewing time is probably over. Thanks also to Donna Sandstrom of The Whale Trail for calling earlier to be sure we’d heard.

(Photo by John Saalwaechter)

And thanks to those who’ve sent more photos of the sailboats – we’re adding a few more above. Some of them must have had a great view of the whales!

5:50 PM: Thanks to Kersti for posting orca photos in comments – and to Monica Zaborac for e-mailing some, including this one showing the research boat you might have noticed today:

Researcher Mark Sears talked at last month’s Whale Trail gathering about what they do while out with the orcas.

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NEW FERRY: M/V Suquamish christened at Vigor on Harbor Island Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:42:46 +0000

That photo from Washington State Ferries shows WSF boss Amy Scarton christening the newest state ferry, M/V Suquamish, this afternoon at Vigor Industrial on Harbor Island. It’s the fourth Olympic Class ferry, and scheduled to go into service later this year. Before that, you’ll see it out on sea trials starting in a few months. The plan for starters is for it to be on the Mukilteo/Clinton run in the summer and be on maintenance relief for other vessels at other times of the year. The ferry’s name is explained in the announcement: “The Washington State Transportation Commission selected the vessel name in 2016 to honor the Suquamish people, a tribe that has inhabited the central Puget Sound for approximately 10,000 years.”

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WEST SEATTLE WHALE WATCHING: Orcas north of Blake Island Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:29:55 +0000 11:29 AM: If you grab binoculars and head for Constellation Park [map], you just might find Kersti Muul and Jeff Hogan there watching orcas. Kersti has texted us that whales are visible off the north tip of Blake Island, currently “milling,” though they had been observed northbound earlier.

11:47 AM: Jeff confirms that they’re visible from here, between Blake and Bainbridge islands currently.

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WEST SEATTLE WHALE WATCHING: Northbound orcas nearby Mon, 01 Jan 2018 18:25:14 +0000 10:25 AM: Thanks to Alisa and Kersti for the tip – if you look westward across the Sound, you might see orcas. Orca Network had a report of northbound whales headed toward Blake Island, along the west side of Vashon, as of an hour ago. We are at Constellation Park but without binocs. Let us know if you see orcas!

11:15 AM: Update – they were most recently seen passing Restoration Point on Bainbridge Island [map], which means they might be in view looking north from the west end of Alki.

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WEST SEATTLE WHALE WATCHING: Southbound orcas off Bainbridge Sat, 30 Dec 2017 23:25:42 +0000 3:25 PM: With less than an hour until nightfall, we don’t know how good the viewing will be, but we’re sharing the news that orcas are headed southbound in our direction, last seen off Bainbridge Island. Kersti Muul sent the tip that they’d been seen from the Shilshole vicinity, and we just checked Orca Network, where a tipster saw them off mid-Bainbridge [map] – closer to that side than this one, so if you go looking, take good binoculars!

4:22 PM: As it gets dark, one Orca Network commenter reports one male orca is visible from Constellation Park (just south of Alki Point), still southbound. Maybe we’ll see whales northbound in the morning! Let us know any time you see one (or more) off West Seattle – text or voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!

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VIDEO: 360-degree view of West Seattle’s Cove 2 Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:35:59 +0000

The video is from “Diver Laura” James, who continues to experiment with 360-degree video equipment, and shared that clip from one of her most-recent experiments. It was recorded in the Cove 2 area off north/northeast West Seattle.

P.S. If you haven’t viewed 360-degree video before – just “grab” it in the player window while it’s playing, and pull it around to look above, below, behind, around!

UPDATED MONDAY EVENING: If you have trouble with the clip as embedded above, try this version.

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WEST SEATTLE WHALE WATCHING: Northbound orcas Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:25:59 +0000 (photo by Monica Zaborac)

9:25 AM: Last night people watched southbound resident orcas through sunset … now we are getting reports they are headed this way northbound, likely in view from Fauntleroy “soon.”

9:31 AM: At least one is already reported in view from Emma Schmitz Overlook.

10:08 AM: Thanks to commenters for updates, most recently Peter, who sees “About 6-8 orca heading northbound, mid-channel and spread out, between Blake Island marina and West Seattle.”

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