Thanks to Beach Drive Blog for first word of this – a new buoy off Lincoln Park that’s gathering water-quality information around the clock. After seeing BDB’s story this afternoon, we asked the county if it had an announcement to share:
A new marine water quality monitoring buoy launched this week by King County will provide a wealth of data about water conditions on Puget Sound to scientists and the public alike.
At more than seven and a half feet in diameter and standing three feet tall with a seven-foot-tall mast, the yellow, donut-shaped buoy is firmly anchored in about 550 feet of water just less than half a mile off Point Williams in West Seattle. The buoy was deployed July 30th by staff with the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit.
The water quality monitoring system on the buoy consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15 minutes.
These sensors are suspended about three feet below the buoy. Collected data are sent via a cell phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data, at green.kingcounty.gov/marine-buoy/default.aspx.
Water quality sensors and communications equipment were repurposed from a former monitoring system that stopped functioning about one year ago.
The new water quality monitoring system is one of four locations in Puget Sound that collect data every 15 minutes.
Collected data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.
The county link doesn’t seem to be working right now, but this one from the BDB report is – just click the green circle off West Seattle.
Two notes of interest to sea-life lovers:
HARBOR-SEAL BIRTH: If you haven’t already seen that video – which we first noticed on the website of our friends at KING 5 – it might be of interest: The surveillance system at Elliott Bay Marina, across the bay in Magnolia, recorded a harbor seal giving birth to a pup this past Monday. (In case you wonder before hitting “play,” the video is taken from a distance and does not seem graphic or intrusive, at least to us, and we’re fairly sensitive/squeamish.) KING quotes the harbormaster as saying the mom and pup headed into the water about three hours later. Harbor seals, of course, are the primary species with which West Seattle-based Seal Sitters deal; one more reminder that they have a beach cleanup coming up 9 am-noon this Saturday – this post on their Blubberblog explains how to RSVP and participate.
OCTOPUS-PROTECTION DECISION: This Friday in Olympia, the state Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make its decision about whether/how the Great Pacific Octopus should be protected. Here’s the 44-page presentation that commissioners will review – proposing options from no protection to a complete moratorium on any octopus fishing in Puget Sound. This traces back to last November’s controversy over an octopus caught in West Seattle waters. The young diver who caught it subsequently advocated in Olympia for protecting the species. The decision is scheduled to be made at 1 pm; the meeting will be live on TVW.
‘PINKAPALOOZA’: We don’t know for sure if that’s what the people in Mark Ahlness‘s photo, shared via the WSB Flickr group, were fishing for at Lincoln Park – but we do know that the every-other-year pink-salmon run, dubbed “pinkapalooza” in this story from the Seattle Times (WSB partner), is on the way. Six million of them, in fact, says The Times, with the Puget Sound catch peaking in the next few weeks.
BENEATH THE SURFACE: “Diver Laura” James has a video shot while she was out for some underwater cleanup off Alki, concurrent with the beach cleanup yesterday, mentioned here last night. This video was shot right off the sandy beach while they were out:
In addition to a “tour” of the eelgrass offshore – the grass that nourishes a variety of sea/shore life, including the beautiful brant geese who migrate here every year – you’ll also see an encounter with a “fried egg” jellyfish, the type you’ll see if you watch the water this time of year – especially off piers like Seacrest and Jack Block (where we saw several on Friday).
(UPDATED with video of entire 10-minute fireworks display)
9:49 PM: Beautiful end to what started as a foggy day! That vessel arrived off Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook in the 4500 block of Beach Drive about half an hour ago, for the “private” (but publicly visible) fireworks show we first told you about almost three weeks ago, expected to start by 10 pm. And spectators are gathering in the park to watch the fireworks. We’ll update when they’re over.
10:34 PM: If you were within earshot, you know they’ve been over for about 20 minutes – we couldn’t update until we got home from the park. Adding video when it’s ready.
11:45 PM: Though small-screen video of fireworks isn’t much like experiencing it in person – here (above) is the full 10-minute show, for posterity’s sake. We watched it from the water’s edge on the lower level of Emma Schmitz Overlook, about as close as you could get to the barge without going into the water.
ADDED SUNDAY: The cleanup on Sunday morning didn’t turn up much:
We were out as promised, and did a sweep of the beach with T & T, which also had a skiff checking the near shore. Unfortunately we were unable to find very much fireworks debris. I did find one fuse? assembly and a handful of cardboard that was IDENTICAL to the debris we clean up at the Lake Union show (it was not a consumer grade item) So I am asking folks in west seattle to keep an eye out for stuff washing up on the beach or when you are out kayaking/boarding. It will resemble a heavy duty box that got chopped up in a boat motor and by now be a bit waterlogged. There will likely be more of the blue material tube wrapped in burnt plastic items …
Laura continued, “If you happen to find stuff that looks “different” than the normal beach trash please take a picture, note time and place, and send it to me: laura (at) pugetsoundkeeper.org.”
Another eye-catching visitor to West Seattle waters – Susan shared that photo (thanks!) of the Hugo Boss-sponsored racing yacht in Elliott Bay today. It’s a 60-foot racing yacht which with skipper Alex Thomson is touring the West Coast for the first time right now – here after a visit to Vancouver, and headed next to San Diego, according to this online report. Seattle Magazine’s Ali Brownrigg reports here that it’ll be at Bell Harbor downtown until Sunday.
Meantime, after a high-profile stay in Elliott Bay yesterday, the USNS Montford Point has moved on – but we have one more photo to share, an aerial view from West Seattle photographer/pilot Long Bach Nguyen:
The brand-new Mobile Landing Platform vessel is now in Everett, preparing for upcoming inspections.
We’ve received several questions about that unusual-looking ship anchored in Elliott Bay, not far from the West Seattle shore. It’s a U.S. Navy vessel, USNS Montford Point, a brand-new, first-of-its-class Mobile Landing Platform, christened this past March, delivered to the Navy in May in San Diego, where it was built. Its name is in honor of 20,000 African American Marine Corps recruits who trained at Montford Point, North Carolina, in the 1940s, according to the Navy announcement that says the other two MLPs will be named USNS John Glenn and USNS Lewis B. Puller (after the most-decorated US Marine). The Montford Point is not expected to go into operation for another year or so.
Yes, but what’s it doing here, you ask? According to this wire report, it’ll be berthed temporarily at Naval Station Everett while getting ready for a major inspection this fall. (More details in this Navy news release.) If we find out anything more about the Seattle side trip, we’ll add it.
Heads up, fireworks fans – while we don’t have 4th of July fireworks in Elliott Bay any more, there will be a show off West Seattle’s west-facing shore a few weeks later. Fauntleroy-founded Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering is getting the word out about the show as part of an event it’s producing on July 20th:
On Saturday, July 20, 2013, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering will be producing a one-time special event in the Genesee Hill neighborhood for an anniversary party. The party will be held at a private residence between 6:00 PM and 12:00 AM. At approximately 10:00 PM, a 10-minute professional fireworks display will be held on a barge on Puget Sound off the 4500 block of Beach Drive (just south of Me-Kwa-Mooks; map). Guests will be viewing this display from a private home.
For surrounding businesses or residents: if you have comments that you’d like to make about any impacts this event will have on your home or business, please e-mail our organization and the City of Seattle Special Events Committee at:
Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering
4101 Airport Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
Chris Swenson, Chair
City of Seattle Special Events Office
Seattle, WA 98124 email@example.com
11:03 PM: Thanks to Tony in Seaview for sending word that this yacht, just launched by Duwamish River-headquartered Delta Marine, was in West Seattle waters. Others have subsequently reported it’s been out there for hours. Tony shared two links – this one, and this one under its former name. We’re looking around for additional details.
ADDED 11:20 PM: Still out there, says MarineTraffic.com. Here’s more background, in 2011 and 2012 news releases, and here are its specs – 215 feet long, seven staterooms (including the owner’s stateroom), 10 crew staterooms plus captain’s quarters.
P.S. Can’t help but wonder if it might have started out as this (sighted on a barge off Alki a year and a half ago). Anyone with a keener eye than ours care to opine?
P.P.S. Just discovered some closer-up photos on Beach Drive Blog.
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: A commenter mentioned seeing it on the Duwamish River this morning. Just got this photo from Jenny:
Who owns it, you ask? A mystery so far, though there’s been at least one guess in the comment section.
Thanks to Heidi for sharing the photo and word of what Mountain to Sound Outfitters‘ Adventure Day Campers are up to, out on the water: She says they “haul(ed) in a derelict rope from Puget Sound onto Alki Beach.” The camp, by the way, is for 11- to 15-year-olds.
We’ve reported on it multiple times already this year, and questions are still coming in about the “red stuff in the water” off West Seattle shores. As the non-toxic “noctiluca” bloom continues to appear, we have aerial views tonight courtesy of West Seattle photographer/pilot Long Bach Nguyen. Above, the view looks south toward West Seattle’s north shore. Next, a closer view as a boat goes through a patch:
And north across Elliott Bay, looking at West Point west of Discovery Park and Magnolia:
The state has a webpage with lots of info about this type of bloom and others.
Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing photos from tonight’s The Whale Trail presentation at The Hall at Fauntleroy. She reports 100 people turned out to hear from Erich Hoyt, who TWT founder Donna Sandstrom says she was thrilled to host, because: “Almost everything I know about orcas, I first learned from reading Erich’s book, ‘Orca: The Whale Called Killer,’ way back in the early ’80s.”
Note the 23-foot inflatable orca in the background – a special touch for this event. Previous Whale Trail-presented speakers have included local orca expert Mark Sears, Keep an eye on TWT’s website for future events.
Lots of questions tonight about what looks like reddish-brown muck in the water along West Seattle shores – and some who saw it are sharing photos, too; the one above is from Cheryl via the WSB Facebook page. No, it’s not “red tide” (which as the state notes seldom looks “red” at all) – it’s another round of noctiluca, the non-toxic single-celled organisms that “bloom” when conditions are just right, and this year it’s already the second major wave – we mentioned it back in May, as well as last year, and the year before.
You’ve seen the work of West Seattle’s award-winning “Diver Laura” James – a filmmaker, photographer, writer, environmental activist – here and elsewhere over the past few years. Now, we get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get those views; much more complicated than simply jumping into the water with a camera. The video above tells that story as part of a profile of Laura’s work, made for the Puget Sound Starts Here campaign by another local filmmaker, Matthew J. Clark. Some beautiful scenery above the water, too (look for the Seacrest sequence) – Laura says it was shot in mid-April.
(Photo copyright Evgeniya Lazareva, Far East Russia Orca Project [FEROP, WDC])
One more talk is set for The Whale Trail‘s series, announced today by TWT’s Donna Sandstrom: “Adventures with Orcas in the North Pacific, From A1 Stubbs to Iceberg, the White Russian Bull,” featuring author/researcher Erich Hoyt. Big topic, and a bigger venue – after filling C & P Coffee (WSB sponsor) for each of the four previous talks, this time it’ll be at The Hall at Fauntleroy, and instead of on a weeknight, it’s on a Saturday night, June 8th (7-9 pm). Tickets are available now! Read on for the full announcement:
7:17 PM: We have multiple reports of a search under way off the Washington State Ferry Wenatchee, in Elliott Bay north of Alki Beach, after a report of someone overboard. The U.S. Coast Guard is helping search. The ferry was headed to Bainbridge Island.
7:26 PM: Wenatchee is continuing on to Bainbridge. No official report on the fate of the person reported overboard.
11:26 PM: More information late tonight from the community-news website Inside Bainbridge: They report the search started after someone on the Wenatchee reported seeing a body in the water. Searchers couldn’t find it, though, and IB says the USCG stopped searching about two hours ago.
It’s becoming an annual reminder, but an important one so newcomers (etc.) don’t get worried: If you see reddish-orange water like this off West Seattle shores, it’s not a spill, and it’s not poisonous. It’s a bloom of single-cell plankton known as “noctiluca.” Thanks to Beach Drive resident Lura Ercolano for sharing the photo she took this morning, now that the current wave has hit full bloom; she helped educate us and readers about it two years ago, too. The state tracks blooms like this, so if you see it, you’ll find an e-mail address for reporting it on this Department of Ecology page, which explains that blooms usually result from “abundant sunlight, nutrients, and the right water conditions.”
FRIDAY FOLLOWUP: The state Ecology Department has a news release this morning about the bloom, earlier than usual, they say. You can see it here.
Busy, busy day on Elliott Bay and at Don Armeni Boat Ramp!
We checked it out after getting an e-mail question wondering about all the boats. Here’s the occasion: 7 am-3 pm today, it’s open to recreational spot-shrimp fishing – and there’ll be a rerun next Wednesday (May 8th), same hours.
11:40 AM: Got our first text that the carrier returning home to Bremerton after an 8-month deployment is visible in the distance from Alki, which seems to correlate with a Twitter mention that it’s off north Bainbridge.
11:59 AM: In view off Alki Point now, just before it rounds the turn off south Bainbridge. (Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand, added 12:02 pm.)
12:17 PM: It’ll be out of sight soon, disappearing behind south Bainbridge, into Rich Passage. Good day for ship watching in general – right now from our vantage point at Constellation Park, two large commercial vessels are also passing. (If you’re out watching them, the darker-hulled one is the Midnight Sun, the one with the containers is Evergreen Unison, according to MarineTraffic.com.)
(August 2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
Eight months ago, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis sailed past West Seattle. This Friday, we’ll see it again, since that’s the date announced for its return to its homeport, Bremerton, according to the Kitsap Sun.
(April 2011 photo of Crystal Symphony passing Luna/Anchor Park, shared by CL)
A note for Elliott Bay marine-traffic watchers: Cruise-ship season starts this Wednesday (May 1st), with a stop by luxury line Crystal Cruises‘ Crystal Symphony at Pier 66 downtown. After that, the routine of weekly arrivals and departures starts next Sunday, with Holland-America Line‘s Oosterdam at Magnolia’s Pier 91, and the full weekly lineup beginning the second weekend in May. According to the Port of Seattle’s 2013 cruise-season fact sheet, this year’s stops and total passenger count are down – the projected 188 vessel visits is the lowest number since 2004, and the expected passenger total, 852,000, is the lowest since 2007. As for the changes you’ll notice, if you watch the bay and/or docks, two ships are making their Seattle debut Oceania is joining Seattle’s summer fleet, with the mid-sized Regatta docking at Pier 66. Celebrity Cruises, meantime, moves to Pier 91, with the Seattle debut of Celebrity Solstice, described last year as one of the largest ships to ever sail from here, able to handle almost 3,000 passengers. See this year’s full Seattle cruise schedule by going here.
8:39 PM ‘HAPPENING NOW’ REPORT: It’s one of those nights when The Whale Trail turns inland – to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) for the ongoing series of presentations about whales and other marine life. Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for sharing photos again – here’s tonight’s featured presenter, Uko Gorter, talking about “Orcas of the World“:
Big crowd again:
Watch The Whale Trail’s website for news of the next event!
ADDED FRIDAY MORNING: Thanks to Laura for also sharing video, if you couldn’t get there last night:
Thanks to David Schneider for sharing the photo, taken today off Beach Drive. He writes, “Looks like they were practicing today. Saw what looks like Coast Guard helicopter hovering just 50+ feet off the water, then dropping line to a boat below…” No incidents reported that we’ve heard of, so training is the likely explanation.
SIDE NOTE: The Coast Guard website spotlights USCG response in the aftermath of the bombings in Boston – noting that Boston is “uniquely a maritime city” (which certainly could be said of Seattle as well).
Help those who help our waterways and their residents: Shanti’s benefit bake sale for Puget Soundkeeper AllianceApril 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm | In How to help, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 2 Comments
Sea lions on a buoy in the bay are among the sights Puget Soundkeeper Alliance volunteers (like Tom Foley, who shared the top photo) see when they go out on patrol. Often, the sights are less pleasant – pollution pouring from an outfall, litter floating on the water (though Tom reported a little less of that during the recent patrol). Even if you can’t get out on the water and take action, you can support the Soundkeepers’ work today through Sunday by stopping by Shanti Salon and Spa (WSB sponsor) for their benefit bake sale – with treats like these, made by members of the Shanti team:
Shanti is on the north end of The Admiral District, at 2138 California SW, open until 7 pm today, 9 am-7 pm on Saturday, 10 am-6 pm on Sunday.
Our local orcas have cousins all over the world! Find out about them during the fourth event in The Whale Trail‘s series of presentations: “Uko Gorter: Orcas of the World – An overview of the diversity of Orcinus orca.” It’s one week from tonight, according to the official announcement:
Orcas (killer whales) are one of the most widespread mammals in the world. Like humans, they exhibit unique cultural and even morphological differences.
Join us for this presentation by scientific illustrator Uko Gorter (also the president of the American Cetacean Society’s Puget Sound chapter), who will discuss the diversity of orcas around the globe. Spectacular photos highlight the subtle (and not so subtle) difference in appearance, unique behavior, and prey preferences between the many orca populations. Some differences are so great, they may lead to a taxonomic revisions and determination of new species and/or subspecies of orca. Uko will also discuss his collaboration with with biologists Bob Pitman, John Durban, and Andy Foote to create a poster of orca ecotypes and forms.
Where: C & P Coffee Company, 5621 California SW
When: Thursday April 25, 7 – 9 (doors open 6:30)
Cost: $5 suggested donation, kids free.
–Tickets available at brownpapertickets.com
Buy tickets early and we will save you a seat! The event also features updates from Robin Lindsey (Seal Sitters), and “Diver Laura” James (tox-ick.org and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance), and photography and art from Judy Lane and Mike Russell.
(WSB photo from aboard USS Bunker Hill during 2012 Seafair Parade of Ships)
5:04 PM: In discussion of this morning’s Blue Angels cancellation announcement, one WSB’er asked if Seafair‘s Navy Fleet visits were still on – it’s had special West Seattle significance because of the Parade of Ships (here’s our 2012 coverage). We asked, and at the time, the Seafair spokesperson replied yes, as far as they knew. But now that’s changed, and they’ve just announced:
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that they are unable to provide ship visits for our fleet week due to federal budget cuts. Seafair Fleet Week will continue to emphasize military appreciation and include some component of visiting ships and Navy participation. Seafair will produce the Boeing Maritime Celebration again this summer to honor our men and woman in uniform as part of our fleet week activities. More information will be released in the coming weeks.
Keep in mind, this announcement just involves the U.S. Navy; Canadian military vessels have often participated.
6:58 PM: And to that point, Seafair says the Canadian Navy has reconfirmed its participation. Meantime, here’s what our regional U.S. Navy command says about all this.
(WSDOT photo from this afternoon, added here Saturday night)
Since its arrival Tuesday, the Jumbo Fairpartner – carrying “Bertha” the tunneling machine, in 41 pieces – has been anchored off West Seattle’s northeastern shore. Today, it finally sailed the rest of the way to Terminal 46, which means the WSDOT webcam is now live – it’s a live-video camera, too. The most recent tweet from @BerthaDigsSR99 says unloading might start later today.
(UPDATED LATE AFTERNOON with more views)
(Newest photo: 1:05 pm cameraphone view from Jack Block Park)
10:45 AM: The Jumbo Fairpartner, a heavy-lift ship carrying the custom-built Highway 99 tunnel machine nicknamed “Bertha,” is approaching Seattle – so we’re going on Bertha watch. For its latest position, check this MarineTraffic.com link – it’s traveling down the west side of Whidbey Island as we type this. Here’s the official WSDOT page with Bertha background and links – the state promises a live webcam as Bertha’s ship approaches its berth at Terminal 46. If you use Twitter, follow @BerthaDigsSR99. More shortly.
11:13 AM: Approaching Edmonds now, though it’s currently closer to the Kitsap County side than the Snohomish County side.
11:35 AM: Passing Kingston, per MarineTraffic.com.
11:58 AM: Seeing it in the distance from mid-Alki. If you’re coming down to the beach (or points east) for a look, get going!
12:12 PM: Bertha is now turning toward Elliott Bay. You can’t miss the cranes. Another pic shortly.
12:31 PM: Just substituted new photo above – still clearly visible from Alki but closer to the other side of the bay. Jack Block, Seacrest, Don Armeni will have good views shortly.
1:05 PM: The Fairpartner is now approaching Jack Block Park, where WSDOT executives have gathered to talk with the media, so we’ve moved there. Newest photo is atop this story.
1:30 PM: Adding a few more. The ship has stopped, for now, a ways off the park. WSDOT deputy program administrator Matt Preedy (above), the West Seattleite who you see so often speaking about the projects in this area, is here and says it’s going to anchor for a while; currently, the ship is pivoting to some degree. This is about the closest view we’re getting:
1:42 PM: WSDOT reps confirm to us here at Jack Block that Bertha is not coming all the way in to dock today – preparation will be done on ship and on shore, and they’re working around other marine traffic. Meantime, we have more great photos in the inbox, beyond what we’ve been sharing – here’s what WSB contributing photojournalist Christopher Boffoli sent from Columbia Center downtown:
We’ll add more photos in a bit – and will get on to other news, too.
ADDED 4:52 PM: Also from Christopher, the pit that “Bertha” is destined for:
From WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams, the Fairpartner and The Needle:
Jesse Doerr photographed the ship looking out over its eventual docking area:
Chi Duong‘s photo is from downtown:
And Adam Dunko‘s is from Hamilton Viewpoint in North Admiral:
Still more to check out – thanks!
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