West Seattle, Washington
Wednesday (August 10) will be the first day for a two-month pilot, running a passenger-only ferry between the Des Moines Marina and the Bell Harbor Marina on the downtown Seattle waterfront. They’ll be using the Chilkat Express, chartered from and operated by Puget Sound Express. For starters, they’re planning four roundtrips daily, Wednesdays through Sundays (see the schedule here). It’s expected to take about 40 minutes each way. For the first week, they’re offering free rides, but starting Wednesday, August 17th, it’ll be $10 each way (see other fares here). The city of Des Moines announcement of the service includes some interesting side notes – such as a plan to use Highline Public Schools students as paid intern deckhands
Thanks to LM for the photos. Don Armeni Boat Ramp is busy today – with a commensurate increase in boats on Elliott Bay – because of the opening of a three-and-a-half-day season for chinook salmon fishing.
According to the state Fish and Wildlife Department, this season will be open until noon Monday (August 8th), “east of a line from Duwamish Head to Pier 91 up to the Duwamish River mouth, including Harbor Island (both the west and east Duwamish waterways).” Daily limit is two chinook, at least 22 inches long.
12:38 PM: The Seafair Fleet Week Parade of Ships is in view from West Seattle, coming from the north and heading east in Elliott Bay toward the downtown waterfront.
The Seattle Fire Department fireboat Leschi is spraying to welcome them, off Alki.
In addition to the U.S. Navy’s USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), the Canadian ships HMCS Yellowknife (706) and HMCS Saskatoon (709) are participating, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s participants are USCGC Terrapin, USCGC Osprey, and USCGC Henry Blake. USCG helicopter flyby, too.
1:02 PM: Now passing Duwamish Head. (Added – ship photos:)
1:39 PM: Now along the downtown waterfront; the U.S. Navy ships will be open for tours at Pier 90 (Magnolia) starting tomorrow, while the Canadian and USCG ships will be at downtown piers – see the full schedule here.
One of the last big returning events of the summer is the climactic week of Seafair, from Fleet Week to the Blue Angels performances to hydroplane racing. It starts tomorrow with the Parade of Ships in Elliott Bay, passing West Seattle shores. Today the U.S. Navy announced which ships you’ll see before they dock at Pier 90 in Magnolia for tours: Guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) from San Diego and guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) from Everett. The official Parade of Ships time on the downtown waterfront is 12:30 pm Monday, so they should be visible sometime in the preceding hour. As is the case most years – before the pandemic hiatus – U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships are expected to participate too. After the Parade of Ships, a USCG search-and-rescue demonstration is planned off the downtown waterfront. Meantime, Navy ship tours at Pier 90 are scheduled:
Tuesday, August 2 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 3 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 4 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Friday, August 5 from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 6 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. on USS Lake Champlain; and 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on USS John Paul Jones.
For more info on tour protocols, go here.
While awaiting marathon swimmer Alison Peterson‘s arrival at Alki Point, we got a glimpse of one of today’s other big events = the Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club‘s annual “Da Grind” races. Paddlers raced on one of two courses, four miles and 12 miles. The outriggers we saw were on the long course, which went to Blake Island and back.
One more human-powered boat-racing event is yet to come this summer off Alki – Sound Rowers’ Great Cross-Sound Race is set for August 27th.
While at the beach checking out day 1 of the Alki Art Fair (more on that a bit later), we spotted the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) passing south Bainbridge Island, inbound toward Rich Passage. It’s been two weeks since the Bremerton-homeported aircraft carrier headed out. It’s been out on training missions before its next deployment; USNI News reported on strike-group members out with it this time.
P.S. As mentioned here last night, tomorrow’s West Seattle Grand Parade is scheduled to include a 21′ replica of the Nimitz, brought by a military-history group. (Friday night note, just got word this parade entry has canceled.)
2:17 PM: Thanks to David Hutchinson for the photo, and to others for the tips. The Bremerton-homeported aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is outbound again, passing West Seattle while heading northbound earlier this afternoon. It’s currently off the west side of Whidbey Island, according to MarineTraffic.com. The last sighting here was less than two weeks ago, as Nimitz returned home from training.
4:35 PM: One tipster earlier mentioned the Nimitz was closer to Alki than usual when passing, The photo just added above, sent by Michael Ostrogorsky, shows what that looked like. Meantime, the carrier is now out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, westbound.
1:16 PM: Another West Seattle summer tradition returned moments ago at Alki Beach, as the Seafair Pirates landed aboard the Global vessel Prudhoe Bay.
As previewed here, this year’s landing is a “scaled-down” event – no accompanying all-day festival with vendors and activities, just the Pirates mingling with fans.
More photos later.
8:05 PM: As promised:
Scurvy selfies could be had:
The crowd was (a)vastly less dense than in past years:
Trinkets were offered to some on shore:
The Pirates will be busy with parade season soon too – this year’s returning parades include the West Seattle Grand Parade just four weeks from today, July 23rd, and the Seafair Torchlight Parade a week after that.
No, this isn’t about the Seafair Pirates‘ Alki landing. If you’re watching the waters off west-facing West Seattle tomorrow, you just might see the majestic multi-masted sailing vessels known as schooners. This year’s Captain Reynaud International Schooner Race is happening in three legs over the next three days, starting with Tacoma to Alki Point on Saturday. What’s the difference between a schooner and a regular sailboat, you ask? The race website’s photo page might help clarify. The race website doesn’t list a start time, but the Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners says 11 am.
If you haven’t already seen it in our calendar – the Seafair Pirates Landing returns to Alki Beach on Saturday (June 25th). But it’s a “scaled-down” version of the event, Seafair tells us – no vendors, but, “There still will be a PA system for commentary and the usual shenanigans.” They’re expected to land around 1:30 pm, “storming the beach to steal the key to the city,” says Seafair. This time around they’re under the skullduggery of the incoming Captain Kidd, Michael “Mouthfish” Brown, who’s taking the wheel from the outgoing Captain Kidd, Damian “Terrible” Terrell. Remember there’ll be offshore cannon fire as the Pirates approach, so the event’s not for the easily startled. If you’re new – the Seafair Pirates have sailed the summer seas of Seattle since 1949, and participate in countless parades and festivals as well as devoting time to various charitable deeds. Be mindful that 1:30 pm time is approximate – we advise not waiting till the last minute! The actual landing is usually in the vicinity of Alki Bathhouse.
The photo is from Andy Carlson, who wanted to share the news that Jim Clark Marina has rare openings:
Jim Clark Marina now has moorage available on Harbor Island.
Up to 33′ slips are open now. 6 larger slips to 44′ open in September with boathouse options.
We are a nonprofit co-op community that operates our marina with DIY labor and volunteers. We keep our rates low and have ice, power, and water included,
Here’s where to go to apply.
11:53 AM: The caller, James, also sent that photo of a few of them, to show how close to shore they were as they passed.
12:23 PM: Thanks to Chris Frankovich and Kersti Muul for word that transient orcas are headed northbound off West Seattle too, not that far behind the porpoises.
We’ve received several questions about a King County Water Taxi vessel off Alki, interacting with emergency responders. Water Taxi spokesperson Al Sanders says it’s just a drill, in conjunction with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Got a question this morning about all the small boats off west-facing West Seattle. Thanks to Jim Borrow for the photo and info providing the answer: “Shrimp season opened briefly today (8 am-noon). Elliott Bay is closed this year so sport fishing was allowed in Area 10. Not as many boats as past years (probably 20 maximum) and, with Elliott Bay closed, no boats off Duwamish Head.” Find out more (and see maps) on the state Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
Thanks to James Bratsanos for the photo! At left, that’s the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), seen outbound off west-facing West Seattle at midmorning. It’s heading out for training, reports Josh Farley of the Kitsap Sun. It has been back at Bremerton for six weeks since returning from its last round of training.
Thanks to Michael Ostrogorsky for the photo of tall ship Lady Washington as it passed Alki Point, southbound, this afternoon. It’s headed to Tacoma for tours and sailing excursions next weekend. The 1989-built tall ship is a replica of a brig that sailed the seas two centuries earlier. It was built, and is homeported in, the Grays Harbor County city of Aberdeen. Its onscreen appearances include the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie (2003) and Macklemore‘s “Can’t Hold Us” music video (2011).
Though cruise season has officially begun, that ship’s not sailing away just yet, and some are noticing it at anchor off Manchester today. It’s the 3,000-passenger-capacity Carnival Splendor (photographed by James Bratsanos as it sailed past Alki towar the anchorage known as Yukon Harbor, after a few days at the Smith Cove terminal in Magnolia). The season schedule shows Splendor is scheduled for its first cruise one week from today.
The state Department of Ecology has sent advance word of a drill you might notice if you’re looking toward Harbor Island or the downtown waterfront tomorrow (Tuesday, April 12th). Starting at 9 am, the alert says, “Kinder Morgan and NRC will be deploying equipment to exercise their oil spill contingency plans, and test the geographic response plan for that area. Activities will start at the Kinder Morgan facility on Harbor Island [map], and then move to the waterfront near the Seattle Aquarium. Crews will operate oil spill skimmers near Harbor Island and deploy boom near the Seattle waterfront.”
Thanks to Robin for the tip. The Muckleshoot Tribe‘s canoe family is gathered at Don Armeni Boat Ramp right now, preparing to launch. They told us they’ll be paddling this afternoon to Alki Beach and back.
Tribes’ canoes have been largely out of action during the pandemic; the traditional summertime multi-nation Canoe Journeys have been on hiatus, and there’s no date set yet for when they’ll resume.
Thanks for the tips! The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) passed West Seattle about an hour ago, headed home to Bremerton. As noted here, it headed out seven weeks ago; Josh Farley of the Kitsap Sun reports today on the training that the carrier’s crew has been engaged in.
11:53 AM: Thanks to Kersti Muul for the tip – transient killer whales are northbound, approaching south West Seattle, closer to this side of the Sound. Let us know if you see them!
2:58 PM: As of Kersti’s latest update in comments, they’re off Alki.
Thanks to Karen for sending the photo! Amid the unsettled weather mixing sun and showers, sailboats were in view off Duwamish Head. While the U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners shows several races/regattas around Puget Sound today, the only one listed in this area is the Corinthian Yacht Club‘s Center Sound Series Race #2. Third race in the series is in two weeks, on April 2nd.
ADDED: Another photo, sent by Stephen: