Sunday, May 10, 2020

Steady As She Goes

For you new visitors to John's Island here is the story ... I love watching ships, mostly big ships, come and go here in Seattle, where the view from home gives me a pretty good spot to watch and snap a few pictures of the maritime activity. In this post I'm including a bunch of photos I've taken over the past few weeks.

In the photo above, note the fuel barge, with attending tug, in the middle left. This is a new fascination for me. These fuel barges have been anchoring right beyond Elliott Bay Marina. Some days there have been 3 combinations (barge and tug) and other days just one. As one leaves another takes it place and may be anchored for several days at a time. Over several years I haven't seen this until the last few weeks. I have a hunch that it has something to do with the current global oil glut. Storage space for oil has been almost maxed out. So, perhaps they are filling up the barges and then placing them down here by the port of Seattle for ready access to the big freighter ships as need requires. The oil supply depot is north of Seattle. One of the things that fascinates me about this is the crew on the tug will be there for days at a time without pulling anchor and moving. So they must have to find activities to fend off the boredom just like those of us here in the city while on "stay home" orders.

If I was in charge of this tug I would be tempted to spend a lot of time
viewing everything from that upper level bridge.

A hazy morning.
It seems like the heavy freighters like to depart early in the mornings.

ZIM freighter arriving in Seattle

A "Ro-Ro" (Roll on -- Roll off) Vehicle carrier headed to Tacoma,
south of Seattle.

A rather unusual construction barge.
Maritime construction is expensive!

USS Nimitz, Supercarrier, headed north out of Puget Sound.
There is no way to know when to be watching for these ships to go by.
You just have to be ready with the camera.
To give a sense of scale, this ship is about 4 miles from my viewing point.

Love stuff like this ... a (relatively) small tug pulling two barges of
shipping containers. May be going to Alaska ... not sure.

OOCL freighter heading out of port.

COSCO shipping headed north.
Elliott Bay Marina (mostly sailboats) at bottom.

1. Big Hapag-Lloyd container ship headed north (to the Pacific Ocean probably)
2. One of the anchored fuel barges and attendant tug
3. A fairly typical sized sailboat
4. 100s of boats in the Marina

In the middle ... a tug with two gravel barges
Below that ... a ship anchored, waiting to pick up a load of grain from the terminal.

MOL freighter headed north on a sweet beautiful afternoon.

The same bulk carrier as seen two photos above.
The ship is being guided to the grain terminal by two tugs.

Tug pulling a strange looking barge. Not sure what this is for.

Matson freighter headed north on a fine day.

Tug and two barges of containers headed to Alaska.
The colors of the containers gives away they are a part of
Alaska Maritime Shipping. Note closer look in next pics.

Note the left side of the barge, top level.
Those are a bunch of new fishing boats.
Close up below.

A bunch of brand new fishing boats headed to Alaska.
 A few non-maritime pics ...

Para-sailing on a fine windy afternoon.
In the distance ... Bainbridge Island

Nothing special ... just liked the light on the Olympic Mountains

Colorful sunset.

Full moon setting early in the morning.
The neighborhood in the near distance is known as Magnolia.
Editorial notes ...

I decided to entitle this post "Steady As She Goes" since that is exactly what's been happening here at my place since about the end of February when our Washington Governor declaired a State of Emergency. On February 29th the first death (known at that time) from Covid-19 occurred here in Washington.

Without doubt, the last two months have been the most unusual in my life time, in several ways. Fortunately, we, here in Washington, adopted procedures to stay safe from the virus well before the Misleader At The Top was saying Covid-19 would miraclously go away in a few days. For USA that was about 80,000 deaths ago.

During this time I haven't been in the mood to post much here on the blog. I've been reading a lot. The best book I've read was Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, which even has a maritime element to it. Briefly: In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice.Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. When their ship was finally crushed between two ice floes, they attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.

I've also been working on a couple of 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles. I have listened to a bunch of podcasts. My favorite podcast is The Daily from the New York Times. And, as you can see, when the time is right I've been getting out on my deck to snap pictures.

Now, if you are still reading this, you are amazing! Anyway, here is my request if you are considering leaving a comment. Do tell me how you've been doing and how you are getting along during the Covid Crisis. Here's wishing all of you wellness and safety! Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Recent Seattle Skies

Early 2020 Captures

Winter Sky
Late Afternoon
Looking out over Puget Sound
January 14 2020

ONE ship southbound to Tacoma
Snapped from home on January 5 2020

New Snow Cap on Olympic Mountains
Looking west from Seattle
January 30 2020

Dramatic Sunset
February 1, 2020
Editorial Note

Here on John's Island we should be in the middle of a series of posts about last Fall's Discovery Cruise to, among other places, the Canadian Maritime Provinces. My 5-Month "Blog Break" has made getting back in the routine a challenge. I do hope to continue with the series as we move ahead, but in the meantime, here are a few early 2020 captures I thought worth adding to the blog. Best regards from Seattle.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Acadia National Park

The view here is looking South-Southeast, down the water's edge to Otter Cliff, with the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. Looking straight into the ocean beyond, the next "land" will be Venezuela, South America, about 2300 miles (3700 km) away. It was a glorious blue-sky day.
Acadia National Park
Photo above taken September 22, 2019  10:01 AM
On September 22, 2019, the MS Veendam arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine. This was my first opportunity to set foot in the State of Maine. After disembarking, via tender, we boarded a motorcoach for a short ride to Acadia National Park. Inside the Park, at Sand Beach, we started an appx. 2-mile walk/hike along the water's edge to Otter Cliff. The weather was perfect and so was the scenery. This was my first visit to Acadia National Park and I was impressed with the beauty. Acadia is known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast. Its one of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States.

The discovery of Acadia was actually somewhat of a surprise. Those of you who follow the blog here know that I am into walking. Holland America had offered a tour in Bar Harbor called "A Walk on the Beach." I had signed up for that without even realizing the "beach" would be in a National Park. So this was a very pleasant discovery. As one who collects postcards it's no surprise that I purchased the postcard below as a souvenir.

In my opinion travel is one of the best educators. I did not know that Bar Harbor, Maine, is actually on an island, Mount Desert Island, with only one state highway connecting it to the mainland. The population of Bar Harbor, according to the 2010 Census, was about 5,200.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Cruiseport Boston

After almost a week visiting Boston, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, it was time to board MS Veendam for a 7-day adventure Holland America cruise line calls "New England in the Fall."

"Embarkation" is what the cruise lines call it. All the cruisers gather at the cruise terminal to board the ship. Most important things to have with you: Passport and Credit Card. 😉 In the pic above we've all been through "check-in" and waiting now for the boarding announcement.
Sept 21, 2019  11:19 AM

At the airport these boarding ramps are sometimes called "jetways" ... so,  I'll call this the "shipway." Of course, it allows you to move from the terminal over to the ship.

Boarding time ... MS Veendam, Boston, MA
September 21, 2019  11:38 AM

First thing to do after boarding ship ... Go to buffet restaurant for your first "free" lunch. Then, get out and explore your ship. On this day, I think most folks just went back to their staterooms for a nap. In the days after I snapped the picture above I would be spending a fair amount of time in one of those workstations, aka deckchairs.
September 21, 2019  12:57 PM

Monday, January 6, 2020

Winter Sky

Late Afternoon Sky - January 4, 2020  3:55 PM

Winter days ... The more north from the equator, the shorter the daylight. Seattle is 47.6° N. On January 4 sunrise was at 7:57 AM and sunset at 4:31 PM. Length of daylight was 8 hours 34 minutes. Home for me, while growing up, was in a location much further south, where the annual variation in daylight was much less than Seattle. Over all the years I've come to appreciate the variation and how it affects life.

The very best website for keeping track of the sun, as it moves through the seasons, is A couple of graphs from that website can make clear the difference the length of day makes depending on location.

Sun Graph for 2020 for Honolulu, Hawaii, which is 21.3° N ...


Sun Graph for 2020 for Seattle, Washington, which is 47.6° N ...


The bottom line on all this is ... I love the dynamics of the variation in length of day. Right now, on January 6, I am looking forward to a little more brightness. But I have no doubt that by the end of August I will be sick of the long days and ready to get back to the tranquility that darkness seems to bring.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Seven Seas Navigator

Regents Seven Seas MS Navigator
Boston, Massachusetts
September 21, 2019
After a visit to Boston for a few days, I was, on September 21, 2019, aboard Holland America's Veendam for a "New England in the Fall" cruise. (More about that trip in future posts.) As we departed the cruise terminal in Boston, the Veendam went into reverse to back all the way out of the terminal slot. I thought this was pretty cool because I was standing on an aft deck and felt as if though I could have been at the wheel. A perfect spot for photos. The first thing to really catch my attention was the MS Navigator docked at the same terminal. As we passed her I snapped the picture above. As one who has done a little bit of travel aboard ships, I will say that the Navigator appears to be just about the perfect size. Small enough to get into some of the more unusual ports, but big enough to smooth out the usual ocean surface.

Comments are back, if you wish to leave one, or perhaps ask a question.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Summer Sunset

Memorable Summer Sunset in Seattle
August 28, 2019  8:19 PM
The view is looking west from home. The distant mountains are the Olympics. The water is Puget Sound. In the middle-lower portion, Elliott Bay Marina, which provides mooring for hundreds of sailboats. The glow of sunset, as seen in this photo, is fairly common for a clear sky summer day.

Steady As She Goes

For you new visitors to John's Island here is the story ... I love watching ships, mostly big ships, come and go here in Seattle, wh...