West Seattle Blog... » Seen at sea http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 25 May 2015 23:32:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Shell @ T-5: New scrutiny for Polar Pioneer & ‘Solar Pioneer’ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/shell-t-5-new-scrutiny-for-polar-pioneer-solar-pioneer/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/shell-t-5-new-scrutiny-for-polar-pioneer-solar-pioneer/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 06:56:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=311264

(WSB photo)
From around the Web tonight: Updates on the drilling platform Polar Pioneer and the protest barge Solar Pioneer, both still in West Seattle waters. We’d photographed the latter tonight from Don Armeni Boat Ramp after noticing it had moved, which was expected after it ran afoul of the Coast Guard, among others, as Sydney Brownstone of The Stranger has been chronicling. Tonight our partners at The Seattle Times had an update too; here’s their backstory about the barge. It’s now anchored out of the prime dive zone.

Meantime, Brownstone reports tonight that the state Department of Natural Resources is concerned Polar Pioneer might be taking up too much space in the West Waterway adjacent to T-5. So it’s asking Shell some questions, with a June 1st deadline for answers. That’s three days before the deadline for Shell, T-5 interim lease-holder Foss Maritime, and the Port of Seattle to respond to the city’s Notice of Violation, as reported here last Tuesday.

SIDE NOTE: No new protest plans reported here. But in Bellingham tonight, an activist is reported to have fastened herself to the anchor chain of a Shell barge, the Arctic Challenger.

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Big weekend on the water: 528-foot floating drydock due at Vigor http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/big-weekend-on-the-water-528-foot-floating-drydock-due-at-vigor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/big-weekend-on-the-water-528-foot-floating-drydock-due-at-vigor/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 22:17:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310449

(Photo courtesy Vigor Industrial)
From the what-you’ll-see-at-sea department – this just in from Vigor Industrial: A big floating drydock is due in over the weekend at its Harbor Island location, coming up from Portland. No photo yet (we’re looking for one), but here’s the announcement via a Vigor spokesperson:

The 14,000-long ton capacity drydock Vigilant that will support hundreds of family-wage industrial jobs at Vigor Industrial’s shipyard on Harbor Island is scheduled to arrive in Elliott Bay late Saturday or early Sunday.

The 528-foot long drydock, which is being towed from Portland by tugs from Seattle’s Harley Marine Services, will enable Vigor to continue to compete with California and U.S. Gulf Coast shipyards for ship repair, maintenance and construction contracts. The Vigilant replaces a sister drydock that was decommissioned in February.

“This is a needed and valuable asset for our Seattle yard, our workers and the local maritime economy,” said Adam Beck, Vigor’s executive vice president of ship repair. “We were temporarily down to one drydock and getting back to two will enable us to continue to perform construction, repair and maintenance work of a scope that few other shipyards anywhere can match.”

For example, when it had two large-scale drydocks in use last year, Vigor had the capacity in Seattle not only to continue building ferries for Washington State Ferries and working on other vessels, but also to successfully compete with other shipyards across the country to build a new fireboat for the San Francisco Fire Department.

The number of jobs the drydock will support varies depending on contracts and the type of work being performed, with larger scale projects employing upward of 200 workers. Welders and other professional craft workers at the shipyard typically can earn an average of $70,000 a year. The work at Vigor also supports jobs at subcontractors throughout the region.

Vigor began planning the move of the Vigilant to Seattle after the 80,000-long ton capacity Vigorous, the largest floating drydock in the country, was purchased and arrived at the company’s industrial center in Portland late last year.

The company performed some upgrades on the Vigilant to withstand the more challenging saltwater environment after spending its first 70 years in the fresh water of the Willamette River, and also to make it more nimble for disconnect and reconnect functions utilized in vessel fabrication. The upgrades are expected to give the drydock an additional lifespan of at least 25 years.

The Vigilant left Portland Friday and headed down the Columbia River and up the Pacific Coast.

“Bringing this asset to Seattle is consistent with our approach of strategically building our capabilities, workforce development and geographic mass from Oregon and Washington to Alaska,” Beck said. “Our greatest asset is our workers, but infrastructure such as this drydock is also critically important for efficiently serving our customers.”

The announcement also notes that you can track the drydock’s progress by searching MarineTraffic.com for the Millenium Falcon tug. Yes, that’s one “n,” even though the word is correctly spelled with two.

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West Seattle scene: Orcas passing our shores in the mist http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-scene-orcas-passing-our-shores-again/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-scene-orcas-passing-our-shores-again/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 20:52:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310220

A little murky for whale-watching today but Bob Bollen happened to catch these two passing Alki Point, northbound, this morning, and shared the photo. No word of any in this area currently but the Orca Network FB page mentions current sightings off Whidbey Island.

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UPDATE: State ferry M/V Tacoma towed back to dock; replaced by boat from Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth run http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/if-you-see-a-ferry-under-tow-off-alki-mv-tacomas-in-trouble/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/if-you-see-a-ferry-under-tow-off-alki-mv-tacomas-in-trouble/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 23:47:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309642 4:47 PM: M/V Tacoma, which serves the Seattle-Bainbridge state-ferry run, has just broken down, and is under tow right now. Thanks to the reader who tipped us via text; we often get questions about ferries that look to be in trouble off West Seattle shores, so we’re mentioning this pre-emptively. Thanks to @sudsymaggie for the photo:


Tacoma is the ferry that was out of service for eight months after a breakdown last July.

4:55 PM: Tacoma has been towed to Colman Dock. “This will cancel the 4:40pm and 6:20pm sailing from Seattle and the 5:30pm and 7:10pm sailing from Bainbridge Island,” says WSF.

7:04 PM: Tacoma remains out of service and for now, the Issaquah has been moved from Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, which subsequently is down to two boats. But thanks again to tipster Maggie, we know that State Sen. Sharon Nelson (who represents this area and lives on Maury Island) has been told that if Tacoma’s troubles persist, Evergreen State will be brought in to be a lower-capacity third vessel on F-V-S.

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What you’ll see at sea (and in port): 3 notes for today & tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/what-youll-see-at-sea-and-in-port-3-notes-for-today-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/what-youll-see-at-sea-and-in-port-3-notes-for-today-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 18:17:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308851 Three things West Seattle water-watchers might want to know about in the next two days:

TERMINAL 5: The car carrier Ryujin, which the Port of Seattle expected at Terminal 5 earlier this week, wound up stopping at Port Angeles for a while, and port spokesperson Peter McGraw says it’s now due in Seattle tonight:

We are now expecting the Ryujin to arrive at T-5 at 10:00 PM on Friday May 1st,
offloading to begin at 8:00 AM on Saturday May 2nd, leaving at 5:00 PM that day.

Speaking of Port Angeles, if you’re awaiting the big oil rig Polar Pioneer‘s arrival at T-5, it hasn’t left PA yet (the Chamber of Commerce’s webcam is still pointed at it).

SPOT SHRIMP SEASON: Last year, we didn’t know about this in advance, and were surprised to see Don Armeni packed with trailers, and the bay full of boats. This year, we’ve been watching for it, and we can tell you that tomorrow is the first day in which spot-shrimp fishing is allowed in this area, so you are likely to see a TON of traffic from the boat ramp and offshore. 7 am-3 pm Saturday (and then again on May 13th)

CRUISE SHIP SEASON: First one is Holland America Line’s Westerdam, and the port says it’s scheduled to enter the bay around 6:30 tomorrow morning. It’ll be docking at the Magnolia/Smith Cove terminal, leaving around 4 pm. This year’s cruise-ship schedule is here.

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UPDATE: Air, sea search off Alki after life ring spotted off Bainbridge-bound state ferry http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/why-ferries-are-stopped-off-alki-duwamish-head/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/why-ferries-are-stopped-off-alki-duwamish-head/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 05:05:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308392 10:05 PM: Thanks to the texter who asked about a stopped ferry off Alki. According to a tweet from the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, there was a report of a possible person overboard from the Bainbridge-bound M/V Puyallup. We note via MarineTraffic.com that Seattle fireboat Leschi is in the area too, and the Bremerton ferry M/V Kaleetan is stopped. The BIFD said the U.S. Coast Guard also would be responding.

10:11 PM UPDATE: Washington State Ferries has now acknowledged the “search and rescue operation” via its “bulletins” page.

10:29 PM UPDATE: Per BIFD, the Coast Guard is sending a helicopter to help.

10:42 PM UPDATE: Our partners at The Seattle Times quote the USCG as saying this started when a life ring with a strobe light was spotted in the water, and that a head count was being done aboard M/V Puyallup to try to determine if anyone is missing. It’s now headed back to Colman Dock.

11:31 PM UPDATE: The Coast Guard has tweeted that it’s still searching. Puyallup remains docked in Seattle, while Kaleetan headed back to Bremerton. (Added: Three minutes after this update, Puyallup left for Bainbridge.)

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FOLLOWUP: Shell’s Polar Pioneer floated off heavy-lift ship, but not West Seattle-bound yet http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-shells-polar-pioneer-floated-off-heavy-lift-ship-but-not-west-seattle-bound-yet/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-shells-polar-pioneer-floated-off-heavy-lift-ship-but-not-west-seattle-bound-yet/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:24:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=308337

At left in that image from a few minutes ago is the heavy-lift ship Blue Marlin, anchored in Port Angeles, notably no longer carrying the eventually-West-Seattle-bound drill rig Polar Pioneer, which it carried across the Pacific for Shell. Nine days after arriving in PA, the two were separated early this morning. We had been watching the slow-going operation for hours via a Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce webcam – here’s the view from just before dusk Saturday:

(We requested and were granted the PA Chamber’s permission to publish those images.) Right now, the drilling platform is no longer in view, as it is being towed to a closer-in Port Angeles anchorage, according to the Peninsula Daily News, which reports it will undergo about a week more of work, before it’s to be towed to Seattle. Also in Port Angeles is the first Shell vessel that had arrived at T-5, the icecutter Aiviq, which has been in PA since Friday and is currently shown on MarineTraffic.com as one of several vessels surrounding the Polar Pioneer as it moves through the PA’s harbor (others include at least four tugs owned by Foss, which will host the PP as part of its T-5 lease).

Shell’s second T-5-bound drill vessel, the Noble Discoverer, is still crossing the Pacific – it spent some time off Honolulu last Thursday, according to its track on MarineTraffic.com. Shell told the PDN that the drillship – which was last here in 2012 – will be proceeding directly to Seattle rather than stopping in PA as did the Polar Pioneer.

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Reel Paddling Film Festival: West Seattle screening Friday night http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/reel-paddling-film-festival-west-seattle-screening-friday-night/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/reel-paddling-film-festival-west-seattle-screening-friday-night/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:10:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307932 Right in time for Earth Day week, you have the chance to enjoy a film festival celebrating the beauty of our world’s waterways and the joy of exploring them. Mountain To Sound Outfitters is hosting a tour stop of the Reel Paddling Film Festival, 7 pm Friday (April 24th). The screening venue is just steps from M2SO’s shop in The Triangle, at Pershing Hall (inside the West Seattle Veterans’ Center/American Legion Post 160 building at 37th/Alaska). We just checked with M2SO proprietor Greg Whittaker and he says tickets are still available – buy online or at the door.

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West Seattle sunshine scenes: In the sky and on the sea http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-sunshine-scenes-in-the-sky-and-on-the-sea/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-sunshine-scenes-in-the-sky-and-on-the-sea/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:05:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307763

Headed home? Enjoy the sunshine – forecast suggests it might not be back tomorrow. Above, a paraglider was in flight again this afternoon over the West Seattle shore – we caught him headed southbound over Emma Schmitz Overlook/Me-Kwa-Mooks. Don’t know if it’s the same one we featured two months ago. Below, the newest state ferry Samish is still out on sea trials; we spotted it this morning from Charlestown Hill:

The Samish is the second of three 144-car ferries being built at Vigor on Harbor Island and is expected to start service in June in the San Juan Islands – but if you see a ferry off West Seattle making unusual moves between now and then, it’s probably this one.

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West Seattle weekend scenes: Along the shore, in the sunshine http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-weekend-scenes-along-the-shore-in-the-sunshine/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-weekend-scenes-along-the-shore-in-the-sunshine/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 23:39:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307618

ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:39 PM: Thanks to Don Brubeck for these photos showing some of what was up and who was out along West Seattle shores this afternoon.

P.S. At least one more sunny day is in store, according to the forecast – and if you have the chance to be out at the beach in the early afternoon, it’s the lowest tide of the month, -1.7 feet at 12:47 pm on Monday.

ADDED 5:13 PM: Speaking of low tide – an incident at Alki today is a reminder for boaters:

Low tide, bad luck from Avenue Collection on Vimeo.

Mark just shared that video of a small boat getting some help to get un-stuck during this morning’s low tide.

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VIDEO: Orcas in the area again, caught on video by Vashon Island http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/video-orcas-in-the-area-again-caught-on-video-by-vashon-island/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/video-orcas-in-the-area-again-caught-on-video-by-vashon-island/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:30:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307507

Thanks to Lindsay for sharing the video – without much notice, two killer whales headed south along Vashon Island shores earlier today, around 1 pm. She says the sighting was a surprise, while she was giving a tour of the area to two friends visiting from Colorado. Also, a texter told us of a sighting near Brown’s Point in Tacoma, so if you’re by the water, keep watch – they’ll have to come back this way sooner or later.

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Seen off West Seattle: More helicopter-and-boat photography http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/seen-off-west-seattle-more-helicopter-and-boat-photography/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/seen-off-west-seattle-more-helicopter-and-boat-photography/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:58:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307329

Thanks to Nicole for the photo – this caught some eyes on the water off West Seattle’s western shores early this evening. Reminds us of the photo shoot last month involving a boat built for the Tunisian Navy. But according to our friends at Beach Drive Blog, who had a front-row seat this time, the helicopter clearly had a camera mount and the name on the yacht began with Endurance. BDB wondered if it might be one of these yachts. (Maybe the E720?)

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FOLLOWUP: First vessel to arrive as part of Shell’s Arctic fleet, Aiviq, now docked at Terminal 5; Polar Pioneer/Blue Marlin approaching Strait of Juan de Fuca http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-first-vessel-in-shells-arctic-fleet-to-dock-at-terminal-5/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/followup-first-vessel-in-shells-arctic-fleet-to-dock-at-terminal-5/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:21:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307267

11:21 AM: Thanks to David Hutchinson for the photo, and to others for the tips: The first vessel in Shell‘s Arctic-drilling/support fleet has arrived in Seattle, and has docked at Terminal 5 (per MarineTraffic.com). It’s the Aiviq, mentioned here just last night in connection with the U.S. Coast Guard’s announcement of “safety zones” around the vessels expected here as part of Foss’s T-5 lease. The Aiviq is a three-year-old icebreaker that was among the Shell-related vessels that spent time here in 2012 before the company’s most-recent Arctic drilling attempts.

ADDED 11:52 AM: And for the first time in the weeks we’ve been watching for it, the Blue Marlin, carrying the drilling platform Polar Pioneer, is in MarineTraffic.com range, approaching the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the northwesternmost tip of Washington state, on schedule with its announced arrival in Port Angeles by tomorrow.

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West Seattle Whale Watch: Return of the orcas! http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-whale-watch-orcas-between-fauntleroy-and-vashon/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/west-seattle-whale-watch-orcas-between-fauntleroy-and-vashon/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:46:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307117 10:46 AM: According to a text tipster and the Orca Network Facebook page, you just might see orcas between Fauntleroy and Vashon right now – heading slowly southbound, according to observers, but at some point they might turn around, so this is your official heads-up that they’re in the area. Please comment if you see them! (And we ALWAYS appreciate texted tips about so many things – 206-293-6302, any time of the day/night.)

12:24 PM: We didn’t have any luck right around 11 from the Brace Point area – but two commenters have been watching more recently – thanks for the updates!

ADDED 7:44 AM: Some video from Wednesday, posted to YouTube and credited to Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network, identifying these orcas as transients, not residents.

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Congratulations! Emmy nominations for sea-star photography by ‘Diver Laura’ James http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/congratulations-emmy-nominations-for-sea-star-photography-by-diver-laura-james/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/congratulations-emmy-nominations-for-sea-star-photography-by-diver-laura-james/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 04:57:47 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306920

Congratulations to frequent WSB contributor “Diver Laura” James and her colleagues on that 2014 KCTS report about the sea-star die-off – they’ve been nominated for the Pacific Northwest Emmy Awards. That’s one of two nominations for Laura – her underwater photography of the sea-star situation also is part of another Emmy-nominated KCTS report, “Is Alaska Safe for Starfish?” Last year, she won one for another public-TV project, about sea otters and climate change. The full list of this year’s regional Emmy Award nominations is here; the winners will be announced in June.

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