Seen at sea – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 21 May 2018 04:24:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Kayak/canoe flotilla protesting pipeline expansion Sun, 20 May 2018 21:34:45 +0000

A Canadian pipeline controversy drew protesters to the waters off West Seattle today. The flotilla was part of a day of sea and land demonstrations against Kinder Morgan, which has a terminal on Harbor Island. The company plans to expand its Trans Mountain Pipeline, from the Alberta tar sands to British Columbia, and opponents say that would mean a dramatic increase in oil tankers traveling in waters that are home to the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, among other concerns.

Along with the kayak and canoe protesters, who ended up launching from east of Seacrest Pier, there were rallies and marching on land, including at Jack Perry Park along East Marginal, where a participant texted us this photo:

Here’s some backstory on the pipeline expansion, first proposed 4 1/2 years ago, and the controversy.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: U.S. Coast Guard air and sea crews, training Mon, 14 May 2018 21:44:15 +0000

Thanks to Gary Jones (above) and Scott Lipsky (below) for photos of U.S. Coast Guard sea and air crews in action off West Seattle shores at midday today.

We checked with the Coast Guard’s 13th District public-affairs office to be sure this was practice, not a search, and they confirm, “It was just training.”

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Vashon Island Race Sun, 13 May 2018 00:35:48 +0000

Thanks to Gary Jones (above) and James Bratsanos (below) for photos from today’s Seattle Yacht Club‘s Vashon Island Race as participants sailed past West Seattle.

This is part of the SYC’s Tri-Island race series, which concludes with the Blake Island Race in three weeks, on June 2nd.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USNS Carl Brashear Wed, 09 May 2018 19:25:43 +0000

Just after someone else texted about seeing that ship off south Bainbridge, Jim Borrow sent the photo. It’s a Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship, USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7). Looks like some work is ahead for the nine-year-old vessel, named for Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear (1931–2006), the first African-American to become a US Navy Master Diver.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Submarine passing by Tue, 08 May 2018 00:46:02 +0000

That photo is from Jim Borrow; thanks to everyone who sent word of that submarine passing West Seattle a little more than an hour ago. Since many military vessels don’t show up on trackers, we haven’t yet figured out which one it is.

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GONE FISHING: First day to seek shrimp in Elliott Bay Sat, 05 May 2018 17:16:42 +0000

10:16 AM: Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photos! Along with everything else happening today, it’s the first day of shrimp fishing in Elliott Bay – until 1 pm or until the limit is caught, as explained in the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announcement.

Jim explains that photo”was taken toward Bainbridge Island; you can see a few boats off Alki in the foreground with the buoys for the shrimp pots near the boats. In the background you can see all the small boats in the area around Blakely Rocks near Bainbridge.” And keep in mind that with the 1 pm closing (west of Alki Point, it’s even earlier – 11 am), it will be very busy around Don Armeni Boat Ramp early this afternoon. The state hasn’t yet announced the next date(s).

ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: Above and below, two photos from our pass through Don Armeni as many boaters were leaving just before 1 pm.

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WEST SEATTLE WHALES: Orcas visible right now Fri, 04 May 2018 21:03:58 +0000 2:03 PM: Thanks for the tip! Orcas are in the area this afternoon – just got a report that at least three are visible southbound between Blake and Vashon Island. As always, if you’re going to go look, take binoculars. And let us know if/when you see them!

3:00 PM: Kersti Muul just texted to say they’re visible south of the Vashon ferry dock, on the Vashon side.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Whale off Alki Tue, 01 May 2018 23:42:20 +0000 4:42 PM: Thanks to the texter who reports seeing a lone whale – bigger than an orca, they believe – headed west along Alki, off Anchor/Luna Park a little while ago. We’re not seeing any other reports of what’s in the area, but earlier this week heard about at least one lone dolphin/porpoise sighting. So let us know if you see it too! (And if you’re an orca fan… remember The Whale Trail‘s Orca Talk in just a few hours – details in our preview.)

5:48 PM: More sightings reported in comments – but no confirmed ID yet.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Clipper Round-the-World Race yachts head out Mon, 30 Apr 2018 01:17:43 +0000

Thanks to Carolyn Newman for the photos! A few hours ago, the yachts in the Clipper Round-the-World Race headed out of Elliott Bay, northbound in Puget Sound toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the open ocean.

According to the race website, the next leg takes the crews to Panama, and that should take about 26 days. Of course, a fireboat salute was part of today’s sendoff.

The race has its own online tracker, which shows them passing south Whidbey Island right now. The finish line is in the UK, three months away.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: 1st cruise ship of the year Fri, 20 Apr 2018 03:17:36 +0000

8:17 PM: Thanks to Carolyn Newman for the photo of the Norwegian Sun, maneuvering before sailing away tonight for a two-and-a-half week cruise to Florida (after a stop in Victoria), first cruise ship to visit Seattle this year. We previewed the upcoming season on Wednesday. Next scheduled ship: Ruby Princess, April 28th (one week from Saturday).

9:19 PM: As a commenter and texter point out, and as confirms, the ship is back in the middle of Elliott Bay. Don’t know why, but we’re trying to find out.

9:31 PM: And now it’s headed back out of the bay, up to 11 knots per MT.

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WHAT YOU’LL SEE AT SEA: This year’s Seattle cruise season starts with arrival tomorrow Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:05:56 +0000 From our “what you saw/will see at sea” file – tomorrow you’ll see the first cruise ship of the season in Elliott Bay, on its way to (and from) Pier 66 on the downtown waterfront. The Norwegian Sun, currently docked in Victoria, B.C., is scheduled to be here on Thursday for a 5 pm departure on a cruise that will take it through the Panama Canal and on to Florida. According to the Port of Seattle, this will be one of 215 cruise-ship visits this season (here’s the schedule), bringing in 1.1 million passengers, half a billion dollars in revenue, $19 million in state/local taxes. Norwegian Cruise Line will make an even bigger splash on May 30th, when its Norwegian Bliss becomes the largest cruise ship homeported on the West Coast – 1,082 feet long, 4,000 passengers, 1,716 crew members.

P.S. We asked port spokesperson Peter McGraw when the Sun will sail in tomorrow. Reply: Around 3 am.

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Ferries from/for afar Tue, 10 Apr 2018 02:03:46 +0000 Recent sightings off our shores:

Gary Jones photographed FVF Chenega, fast-ferry catamaran from the Alaska Marine Highway System, this afternoon as it was under tow northbound in Puget Sound. Online research reveals it’s been docked at Vigor‘s Tacoma facility for a year and a half. Earlier this year, Alaska sought bids for towing it to Ketchikan by the end of this month.

Speaking of Vigor, the company is involved with another passenger ferry sighting from a week and a half ago:

Carolyn Newman sent that photo on March 30th, but we didn’t get to share it at the time. She spotted it off Vigor, which has been building new foot ferries for the San Francisco Bay fleet and is scheduled to deliver two this year – building the hulls at its Ballard yard, the rest on Harbor Island.

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West Seattle whale-watching: Orcas in Elliott Bay Mon, 09 Apr 2018 21:43:04 +0000 Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – the transient killer whales that have been in the area today took a turn into Elliott Bay! And, she says, a TV helicopter is over them right now. Let us know if you see them!

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, headed out again Sat, 24 Mar 2018 18:53:25 +0000

11:53 AM: Thanks to Paula Grassell for the photo from Alki – that’s the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), headed out this morning. It’s one of two aircraft carriers based at Bremerton, but you won’t see the other one off our shores for a while – the USS Nimitz is getting maintenance work for the next year. The Stennis has been out for various training periods in recent months, getting ready for an upcoming deployment, but there’s no official word yet on this voyage.

12:48 PM: And thanks to Tom Stoner for this photo:

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SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USCGC Polar Star; post-cargo Zhen Hua 33 Fri, 16 Mar 2018 23:54:06 +0000 (Photo by Gary Jones)

Seen in Elliott Bay this afternoon: Above and below, USCGC Polar Star, the heavy icebreaker just back from a three-month-plus mission to Antarctica, as previewed here last night.

(Photo by Don Brubeck)

And below, Zhen Hua 33 has finished delivering the drydock Evolution to Vigor on Harbor Island – its appearance without cargo startled at least a few people into thinking it was a sinking ship:

No photo, but someone texted about a passing submarine today, too.

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