West Seattle Blog... » Seen at sea http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:49:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 More Seafair air-and-sea details: Blue Angels in Seattle tomorrow, Parade of Ships (and aircraft) Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/more-seafair-air-and-sea-details-blue-angels-in-seattle-tomorrow-parade-of-ships-and-aircraft-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/more-seafair-air-and-sea-details-blue-angels-in-seattle-tomorrow-parade-of-ships-and-aircraft-wednesday/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:44:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280693

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
USS Essex
USS Chancellorsville
USS Howard
CGC Mellon
HMCS Edmonton
HMCS Brandon

Parade of Flight
Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demonstration – MH-54D

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/more-seafair-air-and-sea-details-blue-angels-in-seattle-tomorrow-parade-of-ships-and-aircraft-wednesday/feed/ 0
Decommissioned USS Constellation to pass West Seattle next week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/decommissioned-uss-constellation-to-pass-west-seattle-next-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/decommissioned-uss-constellation-to-pass-west-seattle-next-week/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:24:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280406

(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.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/decommissioned-uss-constellation-to-pass-west-seattle-next-week/feed/ 7
Terminal 5′s last cargo-ship call for now, after half a century http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/terminal-5s-last-cargo-ship-call-for-now-after-half-a-century/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/terminal-5s-last-cargo-ship-call-for-now-after-half-a-century/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:32:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280333

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.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/terminal-5s-last-cargo-ship-call-for-now-after-half-a-century/feed/ 17
Here are the U.S. Navy ships that’ll parade past West Seattle during Seafair Fleet Week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/here-are-the-u-s-navy-ships-thatll-parade-past-west-seattle-during-seafair/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/here-are-the-u-s-navy-ships-thatll-parade-past-west-seattle-during-seafair/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 22:17:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278199

(2011 US Navy photo of USS Essex)
The Blue Angels aren’t all that the U.S. Navy is sending back to Seafair this summer, after a year away because of federal budget travails. The Seafair Fleet Parade of Ships is back too – with the ships planning to sail past West Seattle shores on their way around Elliott Bay starting around 10 am July 30th. We just received the announcement of which ships will participate – the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83). All three are homeported in San Diego; they’ll also be open for public tours July 31-August 3. The Parade of Ships will include U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian participation, too – more as it gets closer.

P.S. Last amphibious-assault ship to participate in the Seafair Parade of Ships was the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2011 – here’s our coverage from that year.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/here-are-the-u-s-navy-ships-thatll-parade-past-west-seattle-during-seafair/feed/ 11
Beached-buoy followup: King County trying to solve the mystery http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-followup-king-county-trying-to-solve-the-mystery/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-followup-king-county-trying-to-solve-the-mystery/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 01:49:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277974

That photo shared by Lura last night showed the retrieval of a King County water-quality-monitoring buoy from its surprise spot on the Beach Drive shore, less than a year after it was put into place off Lincoln Park. Following up on what we reported Sunday, here’s what the county says today:

King County Environmental Laboratory employees are looking into how a water-quality- data-collection buoy came loose from its mooring before washing ashore along West Seattle on June 29.

The buoy and its host of environmental sensors had been in place off Point Williams since July 2013 and automatically transmitted a wealth of important data about environmental conditions. King County employees were notified early in the morning of June 29 that the buoy was ashore along the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park.

Later that day, laboratory employees successfully refloated the buoy and towed it to the Elliott Bay Marina while arrangements are made to move it to the County’s environmental laboratory in Queen Anne for refitting.

While the buoy itself appears unscathed by its unexpected journey, a sensor that detects and transmits data on water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity and depth did not fare as well and was damaged.

Exactly how the buoy came loose from its mooring remains a mystery. The buoy was secured off Point Williams by nearly 1,200 pounds of weight, including two railroad wheels and a heavy gage steel chain that was attached to the buoy by a shackle mechanism.

Environmental laboratory workers will try to determine what part of the mooring set-up broke and how it can be repaired so that the buoy can be placed back at Point Williams.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/beached-buoy-followup-king-county-trying-to-solve-the-mystery/feed/ 4
Underwater video: State of the sea stars near Seacrest http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/underwater-video-state-of-the-sea-stars-near-seacrest/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/underwater-video-state-of-the-sea-stars-near-seacrest/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 17:11:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277843

Sea Star Survey 6/26/2014 from Laura James on Vimeo.

From “Diver Laura” James, that’s the latest underwater look at the state of sea stars (aka “starfish”) at Cove 2 near Seacrest. Earlier this week, we featured video from a CCTV report on the sea-star dieoff, with Laura among the interviewees, in her role as a “citizen scientist.” The newest report was published last night on SeattleTimes.com (WSB partner), with a West Seattle focus, though our area is far from alone in experiencing the epidemic. Meantime, Laura summarizes what she observed in the video (from a dive on Thursday) as:

I’d gotten reports of baby stars showing up so figured it was time to go take a peek. It is really only one species that is showing what is hopefully signs of recovery (they still have to make it to ‘large’ size before it counts) the Evasterias or “mottled star”. Only a few pisaster (the purple ones) and zero pycnopodia (sunflower stars).

A reminder – if you spot sea stars on the beach or in the water, your observations can help too: sickstarfish.com.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/underwater-video-state-of-the-sea-stars-near-seacrest/feed/ 2
Video: Newest close-up look at the ‘sick starfish’ epidemic http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/video-newest-close-up-look-at-the-sick-starfish-epidemic/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/video-newest-close-up-look-at-the-sick-starfish-epidemic/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 18:25:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277361

Scientists still haven’t figured out what is causing the mass die-off of sea stars (aka “starfish,” though they’re not fish) in our waters and many other places along the Pacific Coast. The clip above, shared by West Seattle’s “Diver Laura” James, is the latest in-depth look at the crisis. Laura (and her dad!) are interviewed as part of the report, which was produced for China’s English-language network CCTV (you also can view it on the CCTV website here).

Meantime, as noted here earlier this month, your observations are important if you see starfish, living or dead – republishing what Laura told us during the recent low-low-low tides: “There’s a variety of ways to share the information – optimally through the surveys linked here. If people don’t have time to fill out a form if they could just use #sickstarfish [social-media hashtag] or manual entry on www.sickstarfish.com or even just e-mail me at ljjames@mac.com, it would be a massive help.” She is helping, as you’ll see in the CCTV story, as a “citizen scientist.”

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/video-newest-close-up-look-at-the-sick-starfish-epidemic/feed/ 5
Upgrading Terminal 5: Port Commission approves $5 million first step http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/upgrading-terminal-5-port-commission-approves-5-million-first-step/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/upgrading-terminal-5-port-commission-approves-5-million-first-step/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 22:30:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=275411

The Port of Seattle‘s westernmost cargo terminal is one step closer to a possible quarter-billion-dollar modernization project. The first step toward upgrading half-century-old Terminal 5 in West Seattle was taken by the Port Commission at its meeting this afternoon – authorizing $4.7 million to be spent on planning, designing, reviewing, and almost everything short of building the project. As laid out in this slide deck prepared for the commission meeting (source of the image above), key elements of the proposal include:

• Crane Rails
• Fender System
• Structural Rehabilitation
• Power Supply
• Berth Deepening

Ships just keep getting bigger, the port points out, and most of its West Coast competitors (not to mention the East Coast) have upgrade projects under way to handle the changes. “If we don’t stay competitive, we go out of business,” observed commissioner John Creighton at today’s meeting. Though construction is not likely to start for two years, Terminal 5 will be closed starting this summer, with its cargo operations (via Eagle) moving east to Terminal 18, as reported by KING 5 last week and explained in a Port announcement. Another major point, included in this memo prepared for today’s meeting: The port has not figured out where the $180 million to $250 million for the full project would come from. But with today’s vote, design and planning begins.

P.S. We’ll be following up on a few side points of this – including what the almost-immediate closure of Terminal 5 means for local truck traffic.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/upgrading-terminal-5-port-commission-approves-5-million-first-step/feed/ 10
Video: See what’s in the sea off West Seattle’s shores http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-see-whats-in-the-sea-off-west-seattles-shores/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-see-whats-in-the-sea-off-west-seattles-shores/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 17:35:54 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274543

Puget Sound in the Spring… from Laura James on Vimeo.

On this holiday morning, take a peek beneath the surface of Puget Sound, just off West Seattle, in this video shared by “Diver Laura” James (thanks!). Unlike some underwater videos, this one identifies most of what/who you’ll see – unobtrusively; if you want to find out more about any individual creature, you then can look it up via a site like this.

P.S. Laura says they wouldn’t have been able to do this if the noctiluca bloom hadn’t begun to let up (that’s the orangish-red water that seems to show up every year – here’s the photo we published a week ago).

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-see-whats-in-the-sea-off-west-seattles-shores/feed/ 17
West Seattle scene: Former ferry Annabelle, on Elliott Bay http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-former-ferry-annabelle-on-elliott-bay/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-former-ferry-annabelle-on-elliott-bay/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 18:52:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274329

Thanks to Trina for the photo of the Annabelle, which she reported seeing near Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). An info search reminds us that we’ve shown the Tacoma-based former Herron Island ferry here before, in 2010, at which time commenters surfaced lots of info about both its history and its rebirth as a floating home.

SIDE NOTE FOR SEA-WATCHERS: Checking the Coast Guard’s latest Local Notice for Mariners, looks like west-facing water watchers will see a yacht race one week from today – the annual Blake Island Race (see the course map on page 23, here) on May 31st.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-former-ferry-annabelle-on-elliott-bay/feed/ 4
No, the ferry’s not in trouble. It’s the new M/V Tokitae. http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/no-the-ferrys-not-in-trouble-its-the-new-mv-tokitae/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/no-the-ferrys-not-in-trouble-its-the-new-mv-tokitae/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 01:45:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274112

(Added: Photo of Tokitae this evening, courtesy JayDee in Upper Alki)
We’ve received some questions about a ferry that seemed stalled in the water off Alki Point earlier this hour. No, it’s not in trouble. We checked via MarineTraffic.com; it’s the new Washington State Ferries vessel M/V Tokitae, built at Vigor on Harbor Island and scheduled to go into service next month.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/no-the-ferrys-not-in-trouble-its-the-new-mv-tokitae/feed/ 7
West Seattle sea scene: Buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-sea-scene-buoy-tender-uscgc-henry-blake/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-sea-scene-buoy-tender-uscgc-henry-blake/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 04:53:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274049

Thanks to Guy Smith on Alki Point for sharing the photo of the 175-foot buoy tender USCGC Henry Blake, seen between our peninsula and Bainbridge Island today. We noticed it while out for a midday walk on Duwamish Head, but didn’t have binoculars or zoom lens or even MarineTraffic.com handy at the time; Guy’s e-mail tonight with the photo enabled us to identify it via its number, WLM-563. It’s based in Everett and was commissioned there in 2000, according to the Henry Blake’s official USCG fact sheet, which notes, “Henry Blake’s primary mission is servicing navigational aids, but it also provides marine environmental protection and search and rescue.” Closer view:

P.S. Bonus info – here’s a closer look at the Coast Guard’s “black-hulled fleet,” including this ship, and how the USCG’s ships are color-coded.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-sea-scene-buoy-tender-uscgc-henry-blake/feed/ 0
West Seattle scene: Orange water = non-toxic noctiluca’s back http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-orange-water-non-toxic-noctilucas-back/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-orange-water-non-toxic-noctilucas-back/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 22:18:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273932

Thanks to Leslie and Paul (whose photo is above) for word that the non-toxic microorganisms known as noctiluca have returned to West Seattle waters. When the weather and water warm up, this type of bloom tends to show up, rendering the water an alarming orange-ish-red, but authorities assure us it’s not toxic to humans or animals. It’s been almost exactly a year since the first reports of noctiluca in spring/summer 2013; it also showed up in June. This state webpage has more information as well as an e-mail address for a researcher who would like to hear about it when you see it.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scene-orange-water-non-toxic-noctilucas-back/feed/ 0
West Seattle scenes: Shrimpers, rainbow as boating season begins http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scenes-shrimpers-rainbow-as-boating-season-begins/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scenes-shrimpers-rainbow-as-boating-season-begins/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 21:35:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=272284

More scenes from the start of boating season: Carolyn Newman spotted the West Seattle Water Taxi navigating between shrimp boats – today is the first of two 7 am-3 pm days during which the state is allowing shrimp-catching in Elliott Bay (the second day will be next Wednesday, May 7th).

Earlier in the morning, Roger Hayes photographed a rainbow from Alki, which he considered to be an auspicious start to Opening Day:

This also is the start of cruise-ship season, as reported here earlier. And now for some history:

THE STORY OF THE SANS SOUCI II: Also to commemorate the start of boating season, Beach Drive Blog tells the tale of the yacht Sans Souci II, owned by the pioneering Schmitz family, briefly drafted into military service – read about it (and see it!) by going here.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-scenes-shrimpers-rainbow-as-boating-season-begins/feed/ 15
West Seattle weekend scene: Cruise-ship season starts http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-weekend-scene-cruise-ship-season-starts/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-weekend-scene-cruise-ship-season-starts/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 15:26:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=272234

Thanks to Lynn for the early-morning view of the Golden Princess, one of the two ships in Seattle today as this year’s cruise season begins. The Princess Cruises ship is berthed at Pier 91 in Magnolia along with Holland-America Line’s Westerdam; as the season ramps up in the weeks ahead, you’ll see other ships using Pier 66 downtown, too. Here’s the full schedule for this year’s season, which runs five months, with the last scheduled stop on September 30th.

http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-weekend-scene-cruise-ship-season-starts/feed/ 0