Seen at sea 1189 results

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Schooners expected off West Seattle shores

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.

SUMMER: ‘Scaled-down’ Seafair Pirates Landing at Alki on Saturday

(2019 Seafair Pirates Landing photo by David Hutchinson)

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.

Got a boat? Local marina has openings

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.



Thanks to Brooke for the photo of sailboats seen on the west side of Puget Sound, as viewed from west-facing West Seattle. We believe they’re in the Blake Island Race.

UPDATE: Large number of harbor porpoises, northbound; transient orcas too

11:33 AM: Per a caller from The Arroyos, hundreds of harbor porpoises, not too far off shore, are headed northbound in Puget Sound off west-facing West Seattle. Let us know if you see them!

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.

From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: Water Taxi drill

May 26, 2022 2:14 pm
|    Comments Off on From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: Water Taxi drill
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

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.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Short shrimp season

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.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS Nimitz, headed north

May 7, 2022 12:28 pm
|    Comments Off on SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS Nimitz, headed north
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

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.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE : Tall ship Lady Washington, southbound

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).

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Cruise ship at anchor

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.

DRILL: Here’s what you might see at sea Tuesday

April 11, 2022 3:53 pm
|    Comments Off on DRILL: Here’s what you might see at sea Tuesday
 |   Environment | Preparedness | Seen at sea | West Seattle news

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.”

WEST SEATTLE SCENE: Canoe family at Don Armeni

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.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: USS Nimitz, returning home

(Photo tweeted by @KyleCSN)

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.

WHALES: Transient orcas in the area

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.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Saturday sailboat racing

March 19, 2022 2:09 pm
|    Comments Off on SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Saturday sailboat racing
 |   Seen at sea | West Seattle news

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:

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Submarine, northbound

Thanks for the photos! Another submarine sighting off Alki today, in the noon hour – above, Ted caught the submarine in the background, with swimmers in the foreground. Below, Mike‘s photo with a closer look:

It’s on the tracker simply as “U.S. submarine,” currently off Whidbey Island and continuing northbound.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Military Sealift Command ship USNS Washington Chambers

Thanks to Garrett for sending the photo! The Military Sealift Command ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11) passed West Seattle, northbound, this morning. This U.S. Navy post about a training exercise last year describes it as a “dry-cargo/ammunition ship.” As of this January USNI News report, it was part of the carrier USS Carl Vinson‘s strike group. We last mentioned this ship three years ago; shows it entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca right now, after leaving Manchester this morning.

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: U.S. Navy submarine, inbound

(Photo by Brooke Gozstola)

Thanks for the tips! That submarine just passed West Seattle southbound, and according to is now rounding the south end of Bainbridge Island, on its way toward Naval Base Kitsap. Submarines don’t often show up on the public tracking service but this time, this one is identified as “U.S. submarine.”

SEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Northbound submarine

11:05 AM: Thanks to M for another photo of a notable U.S. Navy vessel headed northbound past West Seattle – a northbound submarine they describe as Ohio-class.

4:30 PM: Adding a view from Danny McMillin:


11:11 AM: Thanks for the tips, and the pic above from M. The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is the aircraft carrier seen passing West Seattle, northbound, about an hour ago. Josh Farley of the Kitsap Sun reports that it’s out for sea trials after repair-work completion at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

11:26 AM: Another reader photo:

ORCAS: Photos from Monday’s visit; new research buoy to monitor undersea noise

Two orca-related items:

WHALES’ MONDAY VISIT: We mentioned orcas were in the area again Monday. Today, two photos from Trileigh Tucker, who says, “There were about 4 adult orcas and one or maybe even two babies – waiting to hear back from Orca Network about the babies. ON identified them as T124s. The lighting was just gorgeous.”

RESEARCH BUOY: As mentioned in our daily preview list, a King County research boat was out this morning deploying a buoy to listen in on undersea noise, a major threat to orcas. Here’s the video recorded during the livestream and Q&A:

This isn’t off West Seattle – closer to Edmonds – but the research over the next three months will be of interest to orca-watchers all around Puget Sound. Full details from King County are here.

FOLLOWUP: New study published by scientists studying Alki Point methane bubbles

(2020 photo by David Hutchinson)

A little over one year ago, we reported on that University of Washington research vessel’s work off Alki Point, studying methane bubbles seeping from the Seattle Fault. UW oceanography professor Paul Johnson explained the project involving the R/V Rachel Carson, years of work that could someday help predict earthquakes, among other things. He also shared this undersea video showing the bubbles:

This week, the UW announced that research for which Professor Carson was lead author has been published in the January issue of Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. The UW post also talks about some of what’s happened since our report, and what’s next:

… In follow-up work, scientists used underwater microphones this fall to eavesdrop on the bubbles. Shima Abadi, an associate professor at the University of Washington Bothell, is analyzing the sound that bubbles make when they are emitted. The team also hopes to go back to Alki Point with a remotely operated vehicle that could place instruments inside a vent hole to fully analyze the emerging fluid and gas. …

The area off Alki Point is not the only methane-bubble site they’re studying – others in the region include an area off Kingston. Among the mysteries they have yet to solve is the source of the methane.

UNSEEN OFF WEST SEATTLE: Aircraft carrier and submarine in transit through the fog

At the end of a socked-in day, we learned that somewhere in the fog, an aircraft carrier passed by … for the last time. The USS Kitty Hawk has been mothballed in Bremerton for more than a decade, and was towed away today, headed to be scrapped in Texas, as the Kitsap Sun‘s Josh Farley reports. We don’t have a photo of its passage in the fog today, but here’s a pic we published (courtesy of reader Gary) the day it arrived in Bremerton in September 2008:


Meantime, also on the water between here and Bremerton this murky day, a submarine:

We received that photo from Kelley Leigh, who was on a state ferry headed for downtown Seattle that passed the submarine arriving in Bremerton just before 3 pm today.