West Seattle Blog... » Seen at sea http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:44:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Video: Late-night octopus-watching off West Seattle’s shore http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/video-late-night-octopus-watching-off-west-seattles-shore/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/video-late-night-octopus-watching-off-west-seattles-shore/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:55:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=287170 Thank you, as always, to “Diver Laura” James for sharing another view of what you won’t see unless you’re a diver too. From her dive last night off Seacrest, an unedited stretch of octopus-watching:

Un-cut octopus footage from 9/28 from Laura James on Vimeo.

Along with the link, Laura wrote: “We spent almost 10 minutes with this amazing beautiful creature before we had to leave because of depth, time and air constraints (though I would have happily spent all night). It turns out my buddy swam right over the well-camouflaged octopus and was checking out the den of another octopus looking to see if there were any eggs (none to be found so far). You can see me signal him by bobbing my lights. The octopus gets curious and decides it wants to come check me out (I’m actually swimming backwards in some of the video) until my dive buddy comes over and then it decides to do something even more entertaining. Upon noticing my dive buddy, it ceases advancing on me and for lack of a better descriptive, turns around and starts sneaking up on my buddy. You can actually see it hunkering down and hiding behind the log, then it squeezes under the log and boo! Octopus! It does not appear upset in any of the interactions, more curious and checking things out. It does get upset later on when it tries to invade the den of a second octopus and gets into a bit of a wrestling match.” P.S. Interesting Giant Pacific Octopus info and trivia here.

P.S. On a much-smaller scale – remember Laura’s iPhone-microscope plankton-watching? She has agreed to join us in the WSB booth at the West Seattle Junction Harvest Festival four weeks from today, so you can bring your kid(s) by to have a look at the tiny creatures that fill our seas. The Harvest Festival is set for 10 am-2 pm Sunday, October 26th.

ADDED 3:42 PM: Laura just sent an edited video with a “potpourri of critters” from the dive, so we’re adding it:

Potpourri of Critters from Laura James on Vimeo.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Arrest on the water; missing fire pit; burglary http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-crime-watch-arrest-on-the-water-missing-fire-pit/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-crime-watch-arrest-on-the-water-missing-fire-pit/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:34:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285730 West Seattle Crime Watch notes:

TROUBLE AT SEA: Thanks to Wendy (who sent that photo), Erin, and Lynn for mentioning police activity on the water and on land off the Don Armeni/Anchor (Luna) Park area around sunset tonight. After hearing via the scanner that police were going to tow a boat downtown, we headed over in hopes of asking shoreside officers what was going on, but we just missed them. Via e-mail, we did get some information from Southwest Precinct Lt. Paul Leung, who says it involved “a disturbance between a male and a female. Officers boarded the boat. The female retracted her story but the male was arrested for several outstanding DV [domestic violence] warrants.”

MISSING FIRE PIT: James, near Lincoln Park, says the fire pit used for neighborhood gatherings all summer is suddenly missing.

(Saturday), my family and I went to Alki for lunch and then ran some errands. We’re sure the fire pit was out front when we left, but now it’s not. It was close to the street, but didn’t have a ‘Free’ sign or anything on it. I’d like to see if a nearby neighbor picked it up wondering if it was indeed abandoned. We live on a block with very light traffic (46th Ave SW between Kenyon & Austin) and don’t see many cars that don’t live close. It disappeared between noon and 4:30 on Saturday (yesterday).

The fire pit is black iron. The base is up on legs, and the fire is in a tray surrounded by an iron lattice. It’s probably 3 feet long on its longer side, and 2 feet wide. Can you see if anyone in the neighborhood took it thinking we were giving it away? No harm no foul if we get it back.

It has been reported to police just in case it WASN’T a mistake.

ADDED 1 AM – SUNDAY BURGLARY: Just missed a phone call from someone who reported being burglarized in Belvidere Sunday, coming home to find their home on 37th SW “trashed,” including jewelry left behind that didn’t belong to them.

P.S. No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, but WSCPC says it will reconvene in October (10/21, 7 pm, at the precinct).

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Puget Sound orcas welcome first new baby in two years http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/puget-sound-orcas-welcome-first-new-baby-in-two-years/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/puget-sound-orcas-welcome-first-new-baby-in-two-years/#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 03:49:57 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284833

(L-pod orcas – file photo, shared here in 2009 by Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales)
Just a week ago, the Kitsap Sun reported that Puget Sound’s orcas, the Southern Resident Killer Whales, were down to their lowest population level in almost 30 years, after two deaths this year, and no new births in two years. Tonight, some good news: The Center for Whale Research, which had reported the population down to 78, says it’s up to 79, with a new baby spotted in L Pod, same pod that had the last SRKW birth in 2012. In a Facebook post, CWR says the baby, to be known as L120, was with L86. You can see a photo on Orca Network‘s FB page.

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Followup: See underwater video from ROVs’ morning at Seacrest http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-see-underwater-video-from-rovs-morning-at-seacrest/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-see-underwater-video-from-rovs-morning-at-seacrest/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 23:54:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284051

“Diver Laura” James promised video from her morning at Seacrest with two ROVs (and friends) – and she’s delivered. The clip above includes some footage of the unfortunately not-recovering-yet local sea stars, as well as showing how an ROV gets around.

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Photos: ‘Diver Laura’ and friends’ Seacrest morning with ROVs http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/photos-diver-laura-and-friends-seacrest-morning-with-rovs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/photos-diver-laura-and-friends-seacrest-morning-with-rovs/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:17:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283858

(Top photo by Laura James; other photos by Rachel Chaimson)
On Wednesday morning, the divers at Seacrest weren’t all human: As previewed here, “Diver Laura” James and friends went in with ROVs, to check on the sick-sea-star situation, among other missions. Laura sent a report and photos:

The day started by picking up the trash can that had been knocked over the night before:

Pretty gross. (Thanks to the kind gentleman who offered me a wet-wipe afterward.) Now on to the ROV’s :) They show up in BIG yellow boxes – seen here with National Geographic Young Explorer Erika Bergman, who is currently working on the OpenExplorer platform, and OpenROV summer intern Christine Spiten from Norway:

The event was well documented by myself and another West Seattle shooter, Micah O’Keiley, and his snazzy camera (he’s helping me do a promo video for Diver Laura and Kids program stuff, for which I am AMAZINGLY grateful).

Video up in the next day or so. They are very cute – this one even has a shark fin!

Then it was time for me to get in the water with the little critters:

They were waiting impatiently:

Good dive! Vis was a bit murky, and the baby mottled stars that were abundant a few weeks ago are now sparse. There is wasting disease ongoing, with arms from moderately-sized mottled stars lying around at regular intervals.

All too soon it was time to pack up and head home:

As noted in Wednesday’s daily preview, Laura is working on her own OpenROV, and promises advance notice of explorations, so you can check it out in person.

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From Alki to Bainbridge and back: 2014 Great Cross-Sound Race http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/from-alki-to-bainbridge-and-back-2014-great-cross-sound-race/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/from-alki-to-bainbridge-and-back-2014-great-cross-sound-race/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 23:56:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283419

It took 52 minutes and 9 seconds for those four rowers to make the 7-mile round trip between Alki and Bainbridge during Sound Rowers’ Great Cross-Sound Race this morning. Their quad was listed as entry #1, and that’s where they finished. In second at 53:40, Megan Yount and Bruce Rolfe:

Finishing third and fourth, Evan Jacobs (multiple past winner) in 54:10 (right) and Robert Meenk in 54:31:

No immediate rest at race’s end:

Full list of the almost three dozen entrants and their finishing order is here.

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Video: Who’s in the water? iPhone ‘microscope’ shows you Puget Sound creatures you’d never see otherwise http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/video-whos-in-the-water-iphone-microscope-shows-you-puget-sound-creatures-youd-never-see-otherwise/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/video-whos-in-the-water-iphone-microscope-shows-you-puget-sound-creatures-youd-never-see-otherwise/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:38:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282974

From the ever-creative “Diver Laura” James … a new idea for looking at who and what are in Puget Sound. She says it’s simple as pie to turn an iPhone into a microscope that’ll show you plankton and other micro-organisms in Puget Sound.

And there’s a reason she hopes you’ll look at the videos she’s creating with this rig, even if you don’t try to replicate it yourself:

My goal with these videos is to help show that every drop of our precious Puget Sound is alive, and when we pollute it, the stormwater is not going into just water, but flowing into and poisoning the homes of the foundation of our food web, and a nursery for so many baby critters that it boggles the mind.

See more of the plankton here:

And check out Laura’s YouTube playlist. She says she’s working on a “key” to help plankton viewers know exactly what they’re seeing, too.

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WSF side note: About the ferries at Vigor on Harbor Island http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/wsf-side-note-about-the-ferries-at-vigor-on-harbor-island/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/wsf-side-note-about-the-ferries-at-vigor-on-harbor-island/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 00:46:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282830

With this weekend’s Washington State Ferries woes – Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth is still running two boats because the un-mothballed M/V Evergreen State remains out of service – some have wondered about the status of ferries in view at Vigor on Harbor Island. The one in the foreground of our photo above is the 130-car M/V Kitsap, a 34-year-old ferry that is at Vigor until late September for $5 million worth of scheduled work, including painting and galley modifications. In the background at right is the M/V Yakima, in for about $310,000 of maintenance scheduled to last another week. The third ferry you might glimpse at Vigor is still being built, the 144-car M/V Samish, expected to go into service next year.

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Port seeks to sell cranes at West Seattle’s closed, empty Terminal 5 http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/port-seeks-to-sell-cranes-at-west-seattles-closed-empty-terminal-5/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/port-seeks-to-sell-cranes-at-west-seattles-closed-empty-terminal-5/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:54:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282644

(Terminal 5, photographed today from SE Admiral area)
Three weeks after the last cargo ship called at now-closed Port of Seattle Terminal 5 in West Seattle, the resulting stretch of empty space continues to catch attention, and we’re still getting questions about why it’s empty. In short, if you missed previous stories: The port closed it and plans to “modernize” it to handle the huge new ships that are coming on line in the cargo industry, though it has not finalized plans for how to fund the full nine-digit price tag that project will cost.

Today, a new development – the Port Commission will be asked for approval next Tuesday to sell Terminal 5′s six cranes, which it says would have to be replaced anyway. The item on the agenda for next week’s commission meeting includes a memo that also surfaces a timeline for the modernization project, saying, “The objective of this effort is to design and build a facility capable of handling two EEE class vessels by mid-2018.” The cranes that Port management wants to sell were purchased in the 1980s, and appraised as worth up to $3.75 million, according to the memo, which adds, “With the direction to modernize Terminal 5, and as there are no other open Port terminals where the cranes could be utilized, it is desirable to sell the cranes while they are fully functional and have current certifications.” It also warns that the market for used cranes is “slow” and that if they don’t sell within six months, staff will come back to the commission to “obtain authorization to dispose of them in accordance with Port procedures, including paying to have the cranes dismantled and scrapped.”

The commission’s Tuesday meeting is at noon at Port headquarters (2711 Alaskan Way) and includes one other item related in part to modernization – authorization of $1.5 million to cover half the cost of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study on possibly deepening its west and east waterways to accommodate larger ships.

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West Seattle scene: Preparing to paddle across the bay to downtown rally http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-scene-preparing-to-paddle-across-the-bay-to-downtown-rally/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-scene-preparing-to-paddle-across-the-bay-to-downtown-rally/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:03:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282218

Thanks to Anne for the photo from Don Armeni Boat Ramp, where canoe paddlers are launching a trip across Elliott Bay to participate later this morning in a rally to show concern about environmental risks from increased oil/coal-carrying train/ship traffic in our region.
(Added 12:57 pm: Tweet with photo of Blue Heron Canoe‘s arrival:)

(back to earlier report) We received this announcement about that rally late last night:

(Today) at 11 am a ‘Protect Our Salish Sea’ rally will begin with a traditional Northwest Coastal canoe landing and kayak flotilla at the beach below the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is a traditional sacred gathering place of the Coast Salish Nations. The rally will include speakers such as Freddy Lane and Laverne Lane of the Lummi Nation, a traditional welcoming and protocol by Ken Workman of the Duwamish Tribe, Mike Evans of the Snohomish Tribe leading a traditional canoe ‘Paddle to Seattle,’ activists Carlo Voli of 350 Seattle, and Bill Moyer of Backbone Campaign. This is a family-friendly event that will include an inter-tribal jam session, a Water Blessing ceremony, and will be immediately followed by a procession to the tracks for a symbolic blockade of the BNSF Railroad at Alaskan and Broad Street in Seattle.

The Salish Sea has sustained all of life in the area for millennia. Natives and non-natives are unified to protect it from plans to despoil it to create a fossil fuel corridor to Asia. We stand together in opposition to the coal terminals being proposed for Longview and on the Great Lummi Nation’s sacred burial ground. We are unified in opposition to the huge increase in coal trains and oil trains filled with explosive Bakken oil or dirty tar sands bitumen, and pipelines in BC that will increase the risk from catastrophic tanker spills passing through Washington State. “These are unacceptable and unfathomable risks to our health, land, water, and all of life in the Salish Sea, and only increases our resolve to protect this sacred place for each other, and future generations,” says Sweetwater Nannauck, organizer of Idle No More Washington.

This rally reflects an unprecedented unity that exists in our communities along with growing momentum for future unified action. It is organized by Idle No More Washington, Backbone Campaign, Protect the Sacred, and 350 Seattle.

Two weeks ago, part of an oil-carrying train derailed in Interbay, and though nothing spilled, it spotlighted ongoing concerns about an increase in risk from oil/coal-carrying trains coming through the area.

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Last voyage of decommissioned USS Constellation, past West Seattle http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/happening-now-last-voyage-of-the-uss-constellation-passing-west-seattle-soon/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/happening-now-last-voyage-of-the-uss-constellation-passing-west-seattle-soon/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 22:55:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281949

(Photo added 9:45 pm, by Gary Jones at Alki Point)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 3:55 PM: It’s been about an hour since the scrapyard-bound USS Constellation was towed from Bremerton.

(US Navy Public Affairs photo)
The aircraft carrier is passing the mouth of Dyes Inlet and in another hour or so should be visible from West Seattle, as it emerges from Rich Passage between Bainbridge and Blake Islands. We’ll be updating as it gets closer; you can track the tow via MarineTraffic.com – a group of tugs is escorting it now, and the oceangoing Corbin Foss is en route to rendezvous with them, preparing for its solo 16,000-mile tow around South America and up to Brownsville, Texas.

4:45 PM: Still a ways to where they’ll be out of Rich Passage and visible from here. It’s somewhat hazy off to the west so it won’t be a really crystal-clear view as it would be if it were a cloudless summer morning – Alki Point and vicinity will likely be the clearest. But the tugs are showing on MarineTraffic.com as having picked up some speed – about 2 knots per hour now. We’ll update when they’re in view (at least via binoculars).

5:40 PM: Getting closer. The tugboats show on MarineTraffic.com as starting to round the point that is just north of Manchester.

6:09 PM: Now in view with binoculars from Emma Schmitz Viewpoint, having just emerged from Rich Passage. At this moment, it’s still pointed south, and has to be pulled to face northbound before it will start sailing toward Alki Point and beyond.

6:49 PM: It’s still in the shadows near Manchester, looking across from here. The Foss blog-format website tracking the journey has a photo looking back this way as the Corbin Foss and “Connie” get acquainted at the start of their 16,000-mile journey. (Click here for a larger version of the photo in Foss’s update.)

7:37 PM: You can see the silhouette without binoculars now, and it appears to be slowly starting to make the turn. At this rate, it’ll likely be a lovely sunset scene somewhere in front of Bainbridge!

8:05 PM: After four hours on Beach Drive, we headed for higher ground. Looks like it will be a great view from west-facing North Admiral (we’re at the famous Seattle/Sunset street-sign mini-viewpoint waiting for it to get into better photographic range).

8:22 PM: Some spectators up here. This viewpoint likely will be good all the way until dusk, since you can see north to West Point from here. Meantime, the Foss website has linked to a photo gallery of the Bremerton departure.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
8:55 PM: Just as it gets dark, the Connie and Corbin Foss are heading out of range.

(Photo with vehicle carrier Auriga Leader passing, by Greg)
9:49 PM: Added three photos, from three photographers. (Thank you!) Corbin Foss and Constellation are expected to arrive at Long Beach for a refueling stop at mid-month; the trip around the tip of South America (as someone pointed out while talking with us during Connie Watch, it’ll be summer down there) and up to Texas is expected to take almost five months.

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Followup: USS Constellation’s final voyage to start tomorrow; special Foss website will track the tow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-uss-constellations-final-voyage-to-start-tomorrow-foss-sets-up-website-to-track-the-tow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/followup-uss-constellations-final-voyage-to-start-tomorrow-foss-sets-up-website-to-track-the-tow/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:35:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281854

(US Navy photo: USS Constellation in Elliott Bay during Seafair, 1996)
New information today about the last voyage of the USS Constellation, the aircraft carrier that’s about to be towed away from Bremerton after a decade, and that will pass West Seattle shortly after the start of its 18,000-mile tow to a Texas shipbreaking yard. Foss Maritime – whose ocean tug Corbin Foss is scheduled to tow the “Connie” – just let us know about a special website it’s set up to chronicle the journey; see it here. The trip is now set to start early tomorrow afternoon (Friday, August 8th), according to Foss, which says harbor tugs will bring it from Bremerton, and rendezvous with the Corbin Foss off Blake Island. You’ll be able to see it from West Seattle (primarily Beach Drive/Alki) once it’s out of Rich Passage and northward-bound into Puget Sound. The Constellation is one of the last few non-nuclear carriers to be scrapped; it’s been mothballed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard since it was decommissioned in 2003. It (and the Corbin Foss) will stop at Long Beach, California – last U.S. port – around the 16th.

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West Seattle wildlife: Whale sighting; coyote report; raccoons… http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-wildlife-whale-sighting-coyote-report-raccoons/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-wildlife-whale-sighting-coyote-report-raccoons/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 09:02:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281553 It’s a wild place we live in … three reader reports to share:

WHALE WATCHING: Heard about the humpbacks in the area this past week or so? Colleen saw one and shared the photo:

A little late since this was Saturday night…..While boating with friends from West Seattle to Bainbridge Saturday evening around 5:15, we spotted a whale … We were so excited, our pictures are not that good. … It was awesome and unbelievable to be so close (our friends turned off their Bayliner’s engine as we watched the whale).

COYOTE REPORT: From Paul in North Admiral:

Just thought I’d pass on news of a coyote sighting in front of my house (Monday) morning on 42nd Ave between Seattle and Atlantic Streets in North Admiral. 4:30 am, I was leaving to go fishing, and a neighbor was walking his dog. We all must have come upon the coyote at the same time, and it took off running. Healthy looking adult. I’ve seen one here before, but it’s been several years.

RACCOONS: From Sean in Gatewood:

Spotted this mom and four youngsters at 8:30 (Monday) morning in my backyard. Very cute, but I’d prefer they dig holes elsewhere.

The state has advice on dealing with raccoons and coyotes – the former, here; the latter, here. (And lots of other species too – see the sidebar on either of those pages for the links.)

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Why two cruise ships departed Seattle today & then came back http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/why-two-cruise-ships-departed-seattle-today-then-came-back/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/why-two-cruise-ships-departed-seattle-today-then-came-back/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 03:04:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281463 8:04 PM: Some questions came in this evening about two cruise ships that turned around and came back after leaving Seattle this afternoon. The Grand Princess, according to Princess Cruises via Twitter, returned for a “technical issue” but the cruise line hopes it will be able to leave tonight. MarineTraffic.com shows it still at Pier 91 in Magnolia as of this writing. The Norwegian Pearl, which had spent the day at Pier 66 downtown, had to deal with a medical emergency, according to this tweet by KIRO, and is already back out to sea, heading through north Puget Sound.

10:23 PM: The Grand Princess is under way again – MarineTraffic.com shows it off Shilshole, northbound.

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Update: USS Constellation now reported to be leaving Thursday – on its decommissioning anniversary http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/update-uss-constellation-now-reported-to-be-leaving-thursday-on-its-decommissioning-anniversary/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/update-uss-constellation-now-reported-to-be-leaving-thursday-on-its-decommissioning-anniversary/#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 19:45:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281427

(US Navy photo of USS Constellation decommissioning ceremony, 8/7/2003)
Thanks to JanS for spotting an update this weekend on the expected departure date for the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Constellation: The Kitsap Sun reports it now looks like Thursday, postponed from last Thursday, which in turn was later than a previously announced date. The KS story says this will be the biggest shipbreaking job ever for a yard in Brownsville, Texas, to which a tug from Seattle’s Foss Maritime will tow the “Connie” via a route all the way around the southernmost tip of South America, since it’s too big to fit through the Panama Canal. We’re watching this because it will be visible from West Seattle once it leaves Rich Passage and heads north into the open Sound. It’s been mothballed in Bremerton for more than a decade.

P.S. We found this webpage dedicated to “the Constellation’s final journey,” which in turn points to this San Diego report from last year with memories of Constellation veterans. And something else we discovered while researching to add to this – Thursday will be the 11th anniversary of the carrier’s decommissioning ceremony in San Diego.

TUESDAY NOTE: Kitsap Sun now reports it’s pushed back to a 5 pm departure Friday.

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