Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why Sunsets?

Tuesday August 26th

Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there's something good about feeling both. Amy Grant

“Speeding along I-10 last summer, heading west, I chased the sunset, thinking if I kept up I could extend my day indefinitely, or at least until I hit a major body of water.” 
― Jarod Kintz

How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset. George MacDonald
This was the first totally clear day since we have been in Seattle, no clouds, fog, haze. Just complete brilliant Blue skies and then the Sunset.

Wednesday August 27

“The sky, at sunset, looked like a carnivorous flower.” 
― Roberto BolaƱo2666

Sandwiched between the Olympics and cloud cover there is a break for some great colors. There are 11 micro climates in this region and a number of them are in the Olympic Peninsula which is the backdrop for our Sunsets. Which is why it is so rare to have a cloudless sunset here.

Thursday August 28

“If I could lick the sunset, I’ll bet it would taste like Neapolitan ice cream. 
― Jarod Kintz,

When the sun dissolves it leaves behind a constantly changing set of pastel colors.

Saturday, August 30

The biggest cliche in photography is sunrise and sunset.

“And yet day and night meet fleetingly at twilight and dawn," he said, lowering his voice again and narrowing his eyes and moving his head a quarter of an inch closer to hers. "And their merging sometimes affords the beholder the most enchanted moments of all the twenty four hours. A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.” 
― Mary BaloghA Summer to Remember

“Can you see the sunset real good on the West side? You can see it on the East side too.” 
― S.E. HintonThe Outsiders
This quote from 

Monday, September 1

“Sunset is a wonderful opportunity for us to appreciate all the great things the sun gives us!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Why Sunsets?

If you have time then it seems everyone enjoys the opportunity to watch the sunset. The more sailing we enjoyed, the more sunsets accompanied. As digital cameras evolved it allowed us to take a whole series pf pics to capture that one second that to us captured the moment the best. Sure everywhere we sailed around the Gulf, all those around us enjoyed spending the early evening watching the sunset with their significant other, a happy hour drink and/or friends.
But when we got to Florida the sunsets seemed more important and was soon becoming a ritual to ending the day. The further South we traveled the more important it was to not miss another opportunity. Arriving in Boot Key Harbor you soon realized you part of a huge community of sun worshipers. With about 300 boats moored all around in the best Harbor in the US, the sun was celebrated in unison by all aboard with Conk Shell horns and an ending cannon shot.
The Human spirit is somehow caught up in Sunsets. There is definitely a spiritual quality to witnessing a sunset. I wondered for a moment about atheist? I know they appreciate a good sunset just as they can appreciate good art but I guess it does not stir their soul since they obviously can't have one? or does it?
I had so many sunset pics from the month of August and I just did not want them to go to digital heaven to never be seen again, So I decided I would choose just four from each set of 20 or more and post them in a blog so I could always go back and remember this special time in Seattle.
After pasting 20 sunset photos in this post I stopped to ask myself Why? I Googled "Why do people take Sunset photos?" Google failed big time here. But I did get a lot of other links that will enhance my and your enjoyment from now on.
First is understanding the Physics of a Sunset. " the beauty of a sunset, in all of its varieties and variations, is only enhanced the more you know about it." see:
I really started appreciating the physics of the sun when we installed solar panels on Wand'rin Star. Anyone that is directly benefiting from the free natural resource of sunlight knows exactly what I am talking about.
In a search for spiritual connections to the sunset I ran into " the Meaning of the Sunset by Charles Jefferson and he leaves no stoned unturned in his Sermon on the Sunset:  While  there were several things in his sermon  I appreciated, I just did not need all that for my blog but if you are a devout Christian you will enjoy his sermon I am sure.
Other than the link on the physics I finally decided that the beauty is in the Eyes, heart and spirit of the beholder and imposing any such views on anyone else is just out of the bounds of this Blog. But I did find a cool link on Amazon to the Meditations Music "Zen Sunset" so for s cheap 89 cents, everyone, even an Atheist could enhance the enjoyment of the next sunset:
One other way to enhance your enjoyment is to learn how to take better photographs. so you can just Google that and get all kinds of tips like these twelve tips: and you can surely Google the type of camera you have along with sunset photo settings and you will learn how to set your camera up for the best shot. the Admiral has a Canon SX40 which is great for everything we do and then our Iphones and Ipad which are way simple in comparison. In the photos above some were from my Iphone 4 and others by her Canon, Not sure which are which now though and I can't tell by looking.
I don't know why, I just love sunsets!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sail to Kingston

My Buddy David sailing with me again to Kingston, this is what he does, he is so interested in the wildlife and is constantly looking for that opportunity to spot anything, especially an Orca.
The Port of  Kingston Marina in Appletree Cove

All secure in a transient slip that is free for two hours, long enough to have a casual lunch in Kingston

Checking Port Kingston off the lisrt.

David chose Lunch spot and Bought the Beer! Thank you David!

Just one more old wooden chris Craft someone has lovingly poured in the &&&& and restored. 

That's the South end of Whidby Island in the distance taken on our return trip

That is Point Wells in the distance, due East of Port Kingston. I wanted to sail over there anyway to check out what I believe to be a fuel Depot where I think the fuel barges that service all the ships in the Port of Seattle come to load up on fuel

They look a lot bigger in a Capri 22.

Yes, it is a fuel depot and one of the Seattle ports fuel Barges is there now loading up.

Just sail in a bit closer to check it out for fun.

Whoah...he's coming out of there gotts get out of the way.

Sail to Kingston 

After sailing into Port Madison at least three times I wanted to go somewhere different. I called up David and asked him if he wanted to sail to Kingston. It just happened to be on my birthday so I was looking for something special. He agreed to go and with a bit of luck we had nice 8-10 mph South winds that would blow us straight across the sound North to Port Kingston on a nice ebb tide. In these waters if your first destination is either North or South then you will pay for it a bit on the return trip either due to winds, tides or both. FYI, Ebb tides always run North and Flood tides run South in all parts of Puget Sound South of the Straight of Juan De Fuca.
 We saw some seals and sealions on the way over and just a easy phone call to the marina got us a free slip for two hours so we could find a nice spot for lunch. David had been here before so he led the way. Just a short walk up to the Main Street Ale House and we had a table on the back deck complete with a umbrella for a sunny day and a nice view of Appletree cove.
A great lunch with some fine PNW beer and David said one more? Mighty fine. We departed Appletree cove on a beam reach across the sound to go see if I was right about a fuel depot due East where the Port of Settle fuel Barges fill up to service all the ships visiting the port. These two barges and the tugs that push them are the busiest vessels in the port, I see them constantly going and coming fueling up the ships including all the cruise ships that come in which happens about 9 times per week.
As we neared the fuel depot we could see one of the barges there loading up and as we attempted to sail in close he started pulling out away from the dock. Glad they are slow giving us plenty of time to get out of the way. The winds fell to just 1-2 so we started the little outboard and motored happily into the wind past Richmond Beach, Spring Beach, and finally Meadow Point to Shillshole.

Thursday Night Racing to the End of Summer

Chris at the Helm, Eric looking up trimming the jib, Brian standing by.

Running to the finish line

This time of the summer winds are light near sundown.

Recapping  successfull racing with a 1st and a second for the evening, 3rd race cancelled due to no wind.

Shelter Island Runabout, Great committee Boat for a different set of racers here is one on yachtword:

On this race night we had a first place then the winds died on the second race but we were in front when they did.

Racing is fun even in light winds especially if your ahead.

Chris is currently in first place for points so he is a Happy camper tonight.

My last race is with Steve and Judith, they are consistently in the top two finishers so I was glad to finally get to race with them and learn their tricks.

We eeeked aout a second place on the first race coming from behind the fleet. Then again the winds died on the second race.

Steve kept saying I think we are going backwards, I was sure we were making forward way by taking a bearing on land, but turns out he was right, we were moving at 0.9 kts backwards, our finish line was at 185! That shows you the influence of the Ebb tide!

Not so bad going backwards.

Thursday Night Racing to the End of Summer

Well I'll have to say I had a great time participating in the Thursday night series races hosted by Windworks. The series is primarily a educational and marketing tool for Windworks members and prospective members. The racing is low key but all who show up want to win. You never know who you will crew with and you only know you will be racing a Capri 22. they have seven in their fleet and usually just 4 make the races. A couple of nights we had enough sailors for 5 boats. Usually 3 are assigned to each boat . We were often able to get in 3 races before dark but as the summer progressed and daylight shorter just two races.
The winds were great through most of the series but near the end you always had enough for the 1st race and dying winds the second. Tide is a huge factor especially when the winds are light. Flood tide runs South and Ebb runs North, the tide is weaker near shore, and depending on the size of the tide change and timing of the tide the difference can be anywhere from 0 - 2 (or more) + or - Kts. in overall speed.
Just as in any group there are the regulars and then the people who just show up once or a few times. You remember the regulars since they are there for the fun, camaraderie, and competition. Several have been racing here for several years. This is a great venue for someone new to the area since you get to meet and crew with so many different sailors. It is also a great learning environment since the whole program is designed for that purpose and what you learn racing you can always use when cruising. 
Even though all the vessels are Capri 22's they are not all alike in the way they are configured or design as some have deeper keels, some shoal draft, some are roller furling jibs some not, some have 100% jibs some 130% or lager. Some are tall rigs, some standard. I learned after just a few races you do Not want the dreaded "Munchkin" with a standard rig, shoal keel and just a 100% jib. No One wins on  Munchkin! Yes I sailed once on Munchkin with Chris and another Chris and we lost all three races. 
The best part of racing is the learning curve. Since every second counts you look to gain an advantage in  way possible. This means using the available wind, tides, favorable tacks, and whatever sailing gear you ave on board to your advantage. Fortunately I was assigned to sail mostly with the leaders in the point system Chris and Brian as well as Eric who leads the Thursday night series. When you are on board with Eric you benefit greatly since he never stops teaching. There two other top sailors in the regular group, Mike and Steve. I finally got to sail with Steve and his wife Judith on my last race. He looks at it all a bit differently but often finishes well. He tends to pinch sailing closer to the wind than most when headed to the weather mark. Also his timing to tack is different, he seems to be pretty good at evaluating just where the best combination of wind and currents will provide an advantage. Each crew gets a equal chance as helmsman but when Steve asked me if I wanted to  take the helm I declined since I just wanted to learn exactly what this man was thinking. We finished 2nd on a come from behind run to the line. We got into a bit of a duel as the lead boat to the weather mark with two other boats and when we all tacked to make the mark we lost the lead and fell to 4th, we managed to catch and pass two making our second place finish. Still plenty of wind for the second race. In this race Mike was well out front and we managed to get to the weather mark just behind the other two Capri's. The wind suddenly died to just a whisper but I was sure we continued to make forward way as I took a bearing on shore and it appeared we were making maybe 1/2 knot we had certainly closed on the two vessels ahead. Steve said he thought we were going backwards, due to the Ebb tide of course. I was not convinced, I studied my bearing and I pretty much confirmed we were just dead in the water and not moving. A glance back though at the mark we had rounded a while back confirmed that Steve was right and we were indeed sailing backwards, I took the above pic of the Garmin and we were actually making 0.9 knots on a course of 353 but our bow was pointed at a course of about 170 degrees!
I was lucky to sail with a couple of the top finishers. Chris placed first, Mike second and Steve Prince third. I think Chris is the only one who sailed in every race so participation as well as finishing well helps to get you to the top of the group in terms of points earned. I did not get a chance to sail with Mike and he definitely seems to be respected as the best sailor in this program. I first met him at the Center for Wooden boats where he is also a long time sail instructor there.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Full Circle: Seattle Hemp Fest, Brazil Fest, Tibet Fest and More

When we arrived here in Seattle in August 201 HempFest was one of the first Festivals we went to, it is a different day now.

There were so many in line to get in on Friday that we thought we might just go to a nearby pedestrian bridge and just take a few pics. There was no line on the first day last year, at least not one you had to wait in.

We decided to go on in and check out something that was not at last years, a Smokers Lounge which was a fenced off area for only 21 and older. 

A booth inside the lounge had a computer set up to show you all the locations where you can buy Legal POT 


Even the 12 represent.

A rare sight here

Every August day ended something like this.

Heck I don't even like Needles!, passed this one by.

I once considered a TP back in the 70's, you could buy the real thing from Whole Earth Provision Co. in Austin.

Supposed to be cool inside even on a hot day.

The Admirals' Great Great Grandmother was Full Blooded Missouri Indian

For more Culture see:

When the sun dissolves below the Horizon you get these awesome pastel colors.

BrasilFest Groupo Filadelfia

David Locke

Combo Choro from Port Townsend:

When in Brasil

Eat like a Brazilian

Dance like a Brazilian

Tudo Beleza

see a brief clip at:

Let's all go to Rio for Carnival 2015:

Tibet Fest

Tibet Fest

We dropped off our daughter to do some shopping and we went looking for the Arboretum but we found this cool spot instead 

Big D is ready for anything!

A great little corner park on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, this is looking East into Union Bay, the south end of Lake Washington

Looking West towards Portage Bay, this part of the Canal is called the Montlake Cut

This little anchorage on the right is used mainly for the fans tailgating by boat for The University of  Washington Husky Football

These docks just across the canal is owned by the University of Washington and on Football days it is a dingy dock for all those attending the game by boat.

The Montlake Bridge

I guess the bridge tender works here.

I zoomed in under the bridge to Portage Bay and discovered more Boat Houses.

When I took this shot of the sailboat going under the bridge I could not believe what I was seeing at first.

Great, just keep your private Seaplane behind your house on Portage Bay, cruise down the Montlake Cut to fly out of Lake Washington! Check this out:

Guessing this is a old restored Chris Craft, lots of these Woodies in the PNW

These guys stay busy for sure.

Red Neck Yacht Club

Standing Room Only

Love these little Tugs!

The first Tollycraft I have ever seen! I think it is a 70's model Royal 30' see

August was full of great sunsets. A few times we walked down to the Seattle Art Museums Sculpture Gardens that has excellent views of Elliot Bay, Puget Sound and the Olympics. The Sun sets over the Olympics and you get some fantastic colors. On this day the Armature photographers were lined up.

Full Circle: Seattle Hemp Fest, Brazil Fest, Tibet Fest and More

We were walking through Seattle Center and I saw the poster for the upcoming Tibet Festival, I thought, Wow, we have come Full circle here since the Tibet Festival was the first one we attended in August 201 when we arrived here. Our Daughter has successfully negotiated a 6 month extension on our Grandparent contract so instead of departing Seattle at the end of September as planned we will continue our daily Grand Parent time through March of 2015. We are hoping for another one of those Mild Seattle winter's like last year.
Then all of a sudden there was a huge line leading into the park on the waterfront and we realized that the Hemp Fest was upon us, one look out the window and we knew this one would be different from last year as the lines wrapped around the block waiting to get in and this was on the first day very early in the day. It was not near like this last year, but thinga have changed, recreational use of Pot is now Legal. We debated about going and decided we might just go to a pedestrian bridge above the park and take a few pics and stay out of the fray. I noticed a fenced off area and people were checking ID's of those entering, I told the Admiral lets just go in and walk around a bit. tuens out the fenced in area was a "Smoking Lounge" You had to be 21 to get in. There were lots of people minors and adults just outside the fence smoking all the pot they desired. Not sure the purpose of this Smoking Lounge other than to give the appearance that things were legit? We made our visit brief and exited the way we came since it was already getting crowded and smokey.
We then walked on up to the Seattle Center to check out the Indigenous Fest. I think the Admiral found her Drum Beat as they invited anyone who wanted to to come on stage and participate in the ceremonial dances. She liked it so much she came and got Big Drew and took him on stage to enjoy the dancing as well. He's got rhythm!
The BrasilFest was next, we did not go last year, and I was looking forward but our daughter warned not to bring up the World Cup to anyone! It was interesting but it was kind of low key, that is until the Tudo Beleza showed up on stage and the Carnival started., maybe someday? Just have to do the Route Plan to sail Wand'rin Star to Rio De Janeiro. 
An unexpected surprise was the Washington Ship Canal Waterside Trail. After being here a year no one ever suggested this to us and we ask a lot of questions and the Admiral is constantly looking for things to do in the area. This is a perfect spot to just watch all the various vessels that ply the inland waters around Seattle up close. They all pass just yards from this observation point as they transit the Montlake Cut which connects Elliot Bay, Puget Sound, Lake Union, and Portage Bay, via the Washington Ship Canal to Lake Washington. I was totally surprised to see a Seaplane use the canal to enter Union Bay and taxi out to find enough water to take off to the Wild Blue Yonder.