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.


  1. Of course, i'm reading to the end. Always good to hear from you. I love seeing the big ships and then the wonderful mountains in the background. To say that this has been a different time, would be an understatement . My last day of bus driving was on March 20, it will likely be my last day of driving forever, as I had planned to retire at the end of June. It took some time to get used to that whole idea, but now I am doing well. I am enjoying the extra time to get out with my camera and still staying away from other people. One thing is certain, this to shall end.

    1. Thank you Ruth. It is always good to hear from you as well. This was my niece’s senior year in high school. I’ve felt a lot of empathy for her because she will not be able to enjoy a graduation ceremony as the virus has put an end to all large gatherings for the foreseeable future. I have that same empathetic feeling for you being rushed into retirement. Based on your wonderful career, I know that your community will celebrate your retirement when the time is right. Regardless of when that happens, I want to wish you the very best going forward. It’s good to hear that you are getting out with your camera and I will sure be looking forward to some of you work you wish to share. Ruth, you are so right … This too shall pass. Best regards to you. Stay well and be safe.

  2. Measures have eased here a bit so we could finally see our daughter and grandkids for Mother’s Day. It was a great reunion. The 27 cases here were from travel and all are recovered now. PEI is closed to travellers and measures will continue to be eased if no further infection occurs.

    All the days run together so we’re never sure which day it is. The loss of our regular schedule has made days irrelevant re@lly.

    I enjoyed the post and the view of the mountain you have as well.

    1. Thank you Marie. It sounds like your Mother's Day was a joyful occasion. A great reunion indeed with your daughter and grandkids. I have wondered how thing were going with you there on beautiful PEI. So good to hear there were only 27 cases and all have recovered. Thanks for stopping by and leaving the kind comment. Wishing you continued wellness. Stay safe!

  3. Welcome back, John! The mountains are beautiful.

    We have been doing pretty much the same things as always. The kids take their music lessons online. Their teacher props up her phone and we prop up another phone. It's kind of funny. Hubby already worked from home, so that is good. I homeschool. Not much has changed except I go to the grocery store infrequently and wear a mask and gloves like I am heading into surgery!

    We had car church today! Yes, we all drove there, parked, and the pastor gave a sermon in the parking lot. A few people got out and sat in lawn chairs, staying at least 6 feet away from everyone else. We stayed in our car. 😂

    1. Hi Sandi, Somehow, during my blog break, I missed some comments folks left for me. They were in my "waiting for moderation" folder but not seen by me because I was going by emails Blogger sent about comments. Somehow I missed the email on your comment. Anyway, I hope all is well with you. Take care and stay safe. Best regards from Seattle. John

  4. I bet getting out to snap the pictures was balm to the restless soul, John. They are great pictures. We sheltered in early, too, and glad we did. Our little county is now the epicenter for COVID 19 in the state of Wisconsin. Everything is shut and that is okay. We will get through as long as we stay healthy. My husband is very high risk so we are extra careful.
    I hope you do well-continue reading and enjoy getting out when you can safely.

    1. Thank you NanaDiana. It is wonderful to hear that you and your husband have been able to stay healthy despite being in one of the COVID hotspots in Wisconsin. It is always a pleasure to see your encouraging and kind comments. I appreciate them. Stay well and stay safe!

    2. Wishing you and your family and friends good health and that you all stay safe. Have a wonderful week!

  5. Do you have an app that tells you all about the ships... where they're going etc. I seem to have enough to keep busy. Now that spring has arrived I can do yard work.

    1. Hi Red, Thanks for the question. There are apps that monitor the location of the ships, both big and smaller. If you are interested, check out MarineTraffic dot com to see an example. However these apps don't necessairly tell me where a ship is going to go or when. So, for me, at least, it is pretty much a matter of grabbing the camera when I catch them in view out front. It's good to hear that you are staying busy. I'm wondering if there have been many cases of Covid 19 in Red Deer? In any event, I hope you and the Micro Manager stay safe and stay well.

    2. Thanks for the info. We have had 37 cases in the city of 100000 and no deaths. We are fine. We go shopping once a week and have enough to do here to keep us busy.

  6. Hi John- it has been awhile since your last post - this one is huge- lots going on there in the've captured the best of it...getting a photo of the flat top 'Nimetz' is a bit of a bonus. We're in lockdown here - I'm recovering from Triple Bypass Heart Surgery- getting better each day and well on the mend. Having an Ultra-Sound on my Thyroid tomorrow- fingers crossed all will be OK.
    Best Wishes to you John there in Seattle. Cheers. KEV. (Sydney AUS).

    1. Hi KEV, Wow! Recovering from Triple Bypass! My oh my. We are brothers now. My triple bypass was in 2010. There is not a doubt in my mind that it saved my life. I hope your recovery will go well. It seemed like for me, the first month went kind of slowly, but then things got a lot better quickly. It sure changed my outlook on a lot of things. Wishing you the best. Thanks for stopping by and your kind comment. Cheers! John

    2. Hi JOHN- yes, "we're Brothers" .Your experiences testify that things can only get better and better. I'm indebted to our Paramedics ( Emily & David)- their quick response and expertise definitely saved my life...also I cannot thank the Surgeon (Dr Jain) and his Team and all the Hospital Staff (Liverpool)...yes, Thank you too John for your support. Best Wishes. KEV.

  7. Hello, I am glad you are doing well and keeping busy. Your views of the ships and the mountains are just wonderful. I love the last view of the moon. We are doing well, at least we are able to get out for walk, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Take care and stay well. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

    1. Thank you Eileen. It is so good to hear that you are doing well and you've been able to stay healthy. And you are so right about getting out and walking and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. That has been very important for me as well. Thank you for your always encouraging and kind comments. I appreciate them! Take good care, stay safe, be well, and have a happy week!

  8. I am so glad to hear from you, John. I enjoyed all your pictures, and your story about how you are coping during this pandemic. I had a tough time getting used to all the changes in my life but now I'm a bit better, although there is a real struggle to keep off the extra poundage now that I am not as active. I'm reading a book called "Spillover" about viruses and how this pandemic might be the new normal. It was written in 2012 and discusses why we are having these events so much more often. Fascinating read.

    1. Thank you DJan. I always look forward to your comments. You always find something positive and kind to say. It is good to hear that you are adjusting to the "new normal." Thank you for the recommendation for Spillover. I will add it to my Kindle later today. Wishing you and SG all the best. Stay safe and stay well.

  9. Wonderful shots John! So glad you are doing well! My hubs and I are all doing well here in Virginia.

    1. Thank you Kerri. It is always good to hear from you and I'm so happy to hear that you and hubs are doing well. I always appreciate you kind and positive comments. Take care, stay safe, and stay well.

  10. So nice to see a post from you.
    Enjoyed seeing all your wonderful photos.
    Ken and I are doing fine here in western MD. Keeping busy doing all our usual around the house stuff.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comment. Happy to hear that you and Ken are doing well. Take care and stay safe.

  11. Lovely to see and read this post from you.
    Great collection of photographs.
    Here in the UK we've had some of our Covid 19 restrictions lifted, but Eddie and I are being very cautious.
    Who would have thought that 2020 would have turned out this way.

    Take care

    All the best Jan

  12. Misleader at the top perfect for describing the national picture. Locally here in Minnesota we have a very good governor who listens to the scientists at Mayo Clinic and the U of M hospitals best doing an excellent job for myself sheltering in place has been a challenge that is living alone since I lost my beloved wife last October Ray

  13. what spectacular scenery! If you have to shelter in place you are lucky to have this amazing backdrop to enjoy!!!

  14. Must be about the best place to be locked down!
    And "Endurance" is a really good read: I did a response to one passage in verse a few years ago:


    William Blakewell, AB,
    Who had lain awake though exhausted
    After three days manning the pumps,
    As the ice crushed the Endurance,
    Wanted baked pork and beans.

    Dr Alexander H Macklin,
    Who had cared for and trained the dogs,
    Had driven the sledges and dogs,
    And finally gutted the dogs,
    Wanted scrambled eggs on toast.

    Leonard Hussey, meteorologist,
    Who was the one whom Shackleton
    Rescued from the Weddell Sea
    When the floe split under their camp,
    Wanted porridge, sugar and cream.

    Louis Rickinson, first engineer,
    Who had collapsed with a heart attack
    As they first set foot on land
    After nearly five hundred days
    Wanted apple and blackberry tart, with cream.

    Charles Green, cook,
    Who, single-mindedly,
    Cooked for them the best he could get,
    Leopard-seal, penguin: dog,
    Wanted apple dumpling.

    Fred Wild, second-in-command.
    The man in charge of those
    Shackleton left to Elephant island
    When he risked the Antarctic Ocean
    Wanted apple pudding and cream.

    And Perce Blackboro, stowaway,
    Who was the one who had to have
    Half his foot cut away
    Since gangrene had followed frostbite
    Wanted just bread and butter.


Questions, Compliments, and/or Suggestions: If you ask a question, please check back here, on the blog, for an answer within, usually, a day or two. Thank you in advance for compliments. I’ll try to keep an open mind about suggestions. All comments are moderated.

The Hummingbird Lady of Lake Chipala

My 2010 Visit to Mexico Linking up this post with Eileen's Saturday's Critters.  Thanks, Eileen, for hosting! In 2010, prior to star...