West Seattle, Washington
About 20 seconds into our short clip from tonight’s 10-minute fireworks show on Elliott Bay – which started just as the Space Needle dimmed for Earth Hour, but was NOT related to that event – you can hear the not-so-happy sea lions … we were on the Harbor Avenue shore just west of Salty’s, same spot where we’d been whale-watching two hours earlier, and the sea lions we heard were likely on one of the barge buoys offshore (recent photo here). Now, as for General Construction, the company whose centennial was the reason for tonight’s fireworks: You can read the company history here; among their major projects, Pier 66, site of tonight’s celebration. One of their major locations is on West Marginal Way SW, here in West Seattle. 12:32 AM: Adding a couple nice photos from the fireworks – this one is from Craig Young:
And this is from David Rosen:
(Our first report, with morning sightings, photos and video, can be found here)
Any closer, and it would have needed a reservation for a table. That’s video we got via iPhone about an hour ago, when the gray whale that’s been hugging West Seattle shores all day turned up just west of Salty’s on Alki. As noted in our first report this morning, it was sighted south of Brace Point in the 7 o’clock hour, then made its way slowly up along Lincoln Park, Lowman Beach, Beach Drive, Alki Point, then turning into Elliott Bay, where it picked up quite a fan base on shore:
That’s what we found when we first pulled over by Anchor Park (see the anchor in the foreground – this is also known as Luna Park since part of the old amusement park’s natatorium used to be under that pier). As the whale moved eastward into the bay, the crowd moved with it. We lost track of it when it went under for an extended time after the Royal Argosy passed by Salty’s. If you’ve got photos/video to share, we’d love to add more – meantime, the two people who shared photos earlier have shared more – first, two from Trileigh – no, we don’t know what the orange spot is in the closeup:
And from Rick:
As for whether the whale’s OK or not – we know at least one citywide-media friend was trying to track down experts. Certainly they are seen around here from time to time. Again, our earlier report with more photos and video is here.
1:12 AM UPDATE: We gave up the whale watch for the night just before dusk but a hardy crowd has stayed out looking – and been rewarded with sightings off Jack Block Park. Josh Trujillo of seattlepi.com has published amazing shots – check them out here. And depending on who else is out overnight, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #alkiwhale to get the latest.
Today, Fauntleroy Way got some TLC in the form of dozens of new trees – tomorrow, 35th SW through Westwood, Gatewood and Sunrise Heights needs as many volunteers as can be mustered for a 10 am-1 pm cleanup of sidewalks and planting strips. Westwood Neighborhood Council and Friends of the Southwest Library are co-sponsors (as first reported here); check in at the library (35th/Henderson) at 10 am.
We’ve been watching this take shape on the South Park Yahoo! group, and now that we’ve received a phone call as an official advisory, it looks like this is definitely happening: Tomorrow afternoon, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are due at the International Association of Machinists Hall in South Park to talk about the health-care-reform legislation. South Park residents and business owners plan a peaceful, non-obstructive rally ahead of time to show their concern about the fact the South Park Bridge is scheduled to be shut down June 30th with no plan yet for funding to build a new one, and if you are interested in joining them to show concern, you are invited to be part of it. ADDED 4 PM: This update on the SP mail group explains where rally participants are gathering at 2 tomorrow. Also, according to an announcement in a separate post there, the senators will be joined at the event by U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Brian Baird, as well as Gov. Gregoire.
(Our coverage of the South Park Bridge situation is archived here.)
After the 9 am kickoff ceremonies, those volunteers are now at work along Fauntleroy Way planting trees. City Council President Richard Conlin joined the opening celebration at Fairmount Playfield too; at the center of the photo is a new Tree City USA flag. Major participants include the Rotary Club of West Seattle, Boy Scouts from Troop 284, Cub Scouts from Pack 793 and Keller Williams Realty.
We’ll be back out soon to check on the actual tree-planting!
12:21 PM UPDATE: If you drive along Fauntleroy Way, you’ll notice the tree-planting stretches almost all the way to the business district’s heart at California SW. Here’s a photo shared by Anne from Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor), showing three volunteers with one of the dozens of new trees that will change the face of Fauntleroy Way for decades to come:
ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: Another photo from Anne. That’s little Trevor helping with the tree:
From our photos – that’s Council President Conlin with organizers just before the event started; note he rolled up on two wheels (see helmet and bike):
This is more progress toward the city’s goal of having a 30 percent tree canopy within 30 years. Read more about that goal – and see how to check your own neighborhood’s canopy – by going here.
(Scroll down for added photos, video)
ORIGINAL 9:58 AM REPORT: Getting multiple reports of a gray whale off south West Seattle shores, Brace Point earlier, Lincoln Park near Williams Point (Colman Pool area) within the past half-hour. The photo above is from Rick Rasmussen, who glimpsed it south of Brace Point earlier this morning:
At 730 this morning, I saw what looked like an unusual disturbance in the water, just south of Brace Point, very close to shore. It was in about 15-20 feet of water, but close to the drop off to much deeper water.
It appeared to be a large whale, black or dark gray, with no dorsal fin. It looked larger and also longer than the Orcas we’ve seen around here.
At first, it was moving quickly and sporadically, just breaking the surface of the water and not showing much of itself. Then it started moving slowly in a circle for a few minutes, disturbing the water, mostly submerged. It then partially surfaced and spouted twice, a few minutes apart, then swam off toward the deeper water, showing a lot of it body before disappearing.
12:18 PM UPDATE: While out for the past couple hours, we saw the whale multiple times from Lincoln Park’s north beach and then from Lowman. It’s apparently off Emma Schmitz now – we went there too soon – according to a tweet we received. Lots of whale-watchers out; we’re checking video we shot, and also starting to receive some photos. Here are two from Trileigh – the first is the whale’s backbone, she says:
ADDED 12:46 PM: And this is our short video clip. Not close-enough in to see much, maybe most worthwhile for the oohs and aahs in the background audio!
More photos later as we get them. Gray sightings are not as common as orca sightings in Puget Sound – but they aren’t uncommon either – the whales do detour here sometimes while heading up from breeding grounds in Mexico to summer feeding grounds in Alaska, and there are apparently some that just never bother finishing the trip!
2:37 PM UPDATE: Via Twitter and comments, we’re hearing the whale is still in West Seattle waters – off central Beach Drive (Weather Watch Park) per “dq,” still moving northbound since @kerrywa on Twitter said it was off Me-Kwa-Mooks just before 2. Thanks for the reports!
(Remember the Alaskan Way Viaduct is closed for its checkup, 6 am-6 pm today/tomorrow)
FAUNTLEROY WAY NEEDS YOU! While the Fauntleroy Way frontage of Fairmount Playfield has some greenery, much of the rest of the street needs help. And this morning, you’re just the help it needs. Join Rotarians, Scouts, city reps and more for the Clean-and-Green tree-planting event starting at 9 am – gather at the playfield (map). More details here. Even if you’re not already signed up, just show up! And that’s not the only good deed you can do today:
HELP WEST SEATTLE YOUTH FIGHT HUNGER: Two ways to do that – first, the West Seattle Camp Fire Girls you see above will be outside CAPERS in The Junction 10 am-2 pm today with a bake sale to raise money to fight hunger, 10 am-2 pm. And 8 am-12:30 pm, you can drop off food donations at Peace Lutheran Church in Gatewood for the food drive we told you about on Thursday (here’s the story). Next – the reason for the latest outfits adorning Walking on Logs:
LAUNCH THE WEST SEATTLE SNOWSPORTS COUNCIL – AND GET DEALS! Kara Whittaker shared the photo from West Seattle’s iconic sculptures, who are celebrating the West Seattle Snowsports Council, brainchild of Kara’s husband Greg Whittaker, during this weekend’s big sidewalk sale at their newest shop Mountain to Sound Outfitters (WSB sponsor), 3602 SW Alaska (map). In addition to big deals, there are raffles benefiting the new Snowsports Council – big prizes; lots of details on the Mountain to Sound Outfitters website – also see the WSB Coupons page for a M2S coupon.
(March 6 photo courtesy of Emory E)
FIREWORKS ON ELLIOTT BAY: And one more reminder so nobody’s startled THIS time – General Construction is scheduled to celebrate its centennial with a fireworks show off Pier 66 on Elliott Bay tonight. Crystal at GC sent word it’s supposed to happen around 8:30 pm, but since it’s a private event, we won’t necessarily get word if anything happens to change the schedule. (8:30, by the way, is also the start of Earth Hour.)
As usual, LOTS more going on – more than 70 events/activities on our West Seattle Weekend Lineup, which you can browse here.
Lots of talented athletes playing for West Seattle’s high schools, and while we can’t promise you every-game-all-the-time coverage just yet, we’re working on spring-sports coverage, with some help. Two games to report from Friday – Chief Sealth beat Nathan Hale 6-5 (our partners at the Seattle Times have stats here) at SW Athletic Complex in Westwood, and West Seattle High School beat Ingraham at home. WSHS assistant baseball coach Scott Meaker has again written up the Westside highlights for us to share with you – those are ahead, along with a reminder about tonight’s WSHS baseball/fastpitch fundraising dinner, and today’s WSHS-Seattle Lutheran JV game – read on!Read More
(WSB photo from inaugural West Seattle 5K in May 2009)
Less than two months now till the 2nd annual West Seattle 5K Run/Walk (co-sponsored again this year by WSB) – which (as reported here a week and a half ago) will again kick off a “car-free” Celebrate Seattle Summer Streets day on Alki, May 23rd. Registration is open now (with a discount rate till May 6), and we’ve just gotten word from Mary Pat at Alki Community Center that they’re offering a course to get you ready to run:
6 Weeks to Running a 5K!
This class is designed for beginning runners. Participants will train to run the West Seattle 5k along Alki Beach scheduled for May 23, 2010. Classes will be conducted by a Certified Running Coach and will include weekly runs along with workshop time on goal setting, stretching, developing core strength, running gear, training and race day nutrition. Participants will receive a weekly training schedule. Race day fee is not included in price of class.
Course Dates: 4/15 – 5/20
Time: 6:30 -8 p.m.
Place: Alki Community Center, 5817 SW Stevens
Register: Call Alki Community Center at 206 – 684 – 7430 or online at www.seattle.gov/parks
And of course, don’t forget to sign up for the West Seattle 5K!
Thanks to those who took the time to alert us to several incidents Friday afternoon/evening – no major injuries in any of them that we know of, thankfully. Above, the “heavy rescue” call late last night in the 2600 block of Sylvan Heights (map) opened and closed so quickly that we didn’t go out on it, but David Rosen sent that photo. He says the driver got out OK and no serious injuries were reported. That was also the case at 38th/Hanford (map), which saw this scene at midafternoon, with a car pinned between a pickup and a pole:
Thanks to Fulay for that photo, and also to Lee for e-mail on that one. Finally, a two-car crash caused trouble late Friday night at the Harbor exit from The Bridge (thanks to Sean for the note on that), but again, no serious injuries reported. Be careful out there.