Saturday, November 23, 2013

Harbor Island, Seattle & Jim Clark Marina

From this  Internet pic of Harbor Island you can see the Large footprint of the Port of Seattle. Harbor Island is man made at the mouth of the Duwamish River.

The Harbor Island Marina or now known as the Jim Clark Marina is located on the South end of Harbor Island

I went to Harbor Island mainly to check out this marina, I found out the name had changed to the Jim Clark Marina. The gate was locked. 

I wondered if this was all there was to the marina, I asked a boater who was entering the gate if there was an on site marina office. No, I had to call the number on the sign which I did and promptly left a message on Jim Clarks answering machine. 

I walked down this railroad track to get a few more pics of the Marina and the Duwamish River and waterway. I figured the railroad bridge is left in the up position unless a train comes into the area?

A lot of old marina boat houses on the River side.

Wand'rin Star can fit under the 1st bridge but the second one, The Spokane St. Bridge is to low. I heard it was a swing bridge and I see the control tower on the left but was not sure how the bridge swings?

I saw an explanation on my Garmin App and the Active Captain notes on the bridge.

The taller bridge is the main artery between West Seattle and Downtown Seattle, lots of nosy traffic at all hours I am sure.

Looking Northward down the Duwamish you can see the Port of
Seattle and huge container ships unloading just a few hundred yards away. Everyone in this marina must use this waterway to get to Elliot Bay and Puget Sound. I wondered what the rules were for pleasure boaters transiting such a busy port. 

I watched this tug bring in a crane barge, I was hing he would transit the swing bridge but he tied up one corner of the barge to another one, disconnected the tug, back off and then let the current swing the crane barg into place, 

Beautiful container scenery over on this end of the Marina

This must be the high dollar dock with a First Class view of the Cement plant

Another view southward down the Duwamish River, very industrial on both sides and after viewing Google Earth is must be like this all the way to Tacoma.

After the self Tour of the Marina I drove to the other end to check out the Huge Port, Downtown Seattle in the background.

There were 6 of these huge cranes off loading a container ship

I watched as the little square cab moved with the Container, it appeared that just one man operating the crane could pick up a container and offload it by himself. It took just a couple of minutes for each container, these ships can carry up to 12,000 containers

The Petro industry had a huge footprint as well

We got a second chance to sail Lake Union together, this time we had good winds. 

Several vessels from The Center for Wooden Boats were out giving free public rides. 

This is a visiting Vessel named "Cutty Sark" earning it's keep by giving public Rides as well.

That is the Sleepless in Seattle House boat over the Admiral's left Shoulder, recently went on the market for $2.5 million

This is the Port of Tacoma, looks almost twice as big as Seattle's. Between these Two Washington ports they bring in Billions to the State Economy each year. 
I saw this one come in a couple of days ago but did not realize they had lost a few, it was on last nights 10pm News. see I posted this on facebook then a friend Johnny Huddelston from Corpus posted this Time to go Beach combing on the West Coast in about 9 months!

Harbor Island, Seattle & Jim Clark Marina

I have researched most of the area Marinas' on line so I wanted to get out and visit them. Harbor Island is just a short drive away so I started there since I wanted to see the Port of Seattle up close anyway. I have always had a fascination with big ships and their Port of Calls. Little Drew's window looks out onto Elliot Bay and the Port of Seattle so I have had lots of time to watch all the various shipping traffic come and go and the "Marine Traffic" Application for the Iphone and Ipad has come in handy to get the details on the ships that pass by.

I drove straight to the Harbor Island Marina first hoping to get some information and have a close look at it in the event we ever do bring Wand'rin Star up here. I had read all the Active Captain reviews and they were mixed to say the least.This is the most inexpensive marina in the area and I knew it was right in the middle of a heavy industrial district so I could not understand why it had any positive reviews at all? Well the gate was locked so I called the number on the sign at the little guard house on the dock. All I got was a answering machine for Jim Clark's Marina. I left a message for a return call (which I never got) and then noticed a boater entering the gate. I asked him if there was an office on sight and he said no that I would have to call the number to make arrangements to meet Jim here. I walked out on a Do Not Trespass Railroad toward the Duwamish River and took a few pics. I was of course interested in the bridges that one would have to Transit coming and going from the Marina. The highest bridge is the primary connection from West Seattle to Downtown and the rest of Seattle so it is a six lane heavily traveled road that I am sure keeps the decibel level up by the marina. The second bridge is a Swing Bridge unlike any other I have ever seen before. I was hoping a vessel would come through that would require an opening so I could see it swing. There was a crane barge heading down river so I waited to see if he went through but he stopped short of the bridges and tied up on the opposite bank.
I walked on around the perimeter to the south end and found a few more docks surrounded by a huge container parking lot with containers stacked pretty darn high, and a Huge Cement Plant...I thought these must be the high dollar docks on this side? Well on a clear day they would have a great view of Mt. Rainer!

I really wanted to talk to someone about the rules for transiting through on of the primary water ways for a very busy Port of Seattle in order to get out to Elliot Bay and South Puget Sound. In Corpus Christi recreational vessels can not get near the port or you have some Port Authority, Coast Guard or some other police vessel on you in a hurry. You have to stay 100 yards or more away from ships traveling the Houston Ship Channel, that would not be possible in this case.  I was a little disappointed since walking the docks gets you up close to some very interesting vessels but that would have to wait for the next marina.

I exited the Marina and drove a short distance to a parking lot where I could get out and get relatively close to the huge cranes unloading a container ship. Most of the container ships that come to the Seattle/Tacoma ports are the big ones that carry up to 12,000 containers. Seems like more ships go around Seattle and use the Tacoma Port. Looking on Google Earth it looks almost twice the size of Seattle's. Recent news of the pending opening in 2015 of the new locks in the Panama Canal have the Ports up here trying to respond to a possible huge loss in traffic. Currently the locks are limited to smaller container ships that can only carry about 4,500 containers. They meet the Panamax specs see . The new locks will handle the big ones (New Panmax) that currently come into Seattle Tacoma. The Good news is a new line of Mega Ships that carry 20,000 containers are now being built and they can not fit through the new locks so Seattle and Tacoma  are working the local politicians and tax base to improve the port facilities here and the local roads/highways to handle the big ships and the new truck and train traffic as a result.
I watched for a while to see the cranes off load several containers of a a Big One. The Crane operator rides right over the lifting cables so he just lowers a big clamp, locks onto one and wisk it up while traveling back to drop it off one trip is less than 2 minutes. Six of these cranes were operating on one ship.They are able to get a ship out of here within 2 days of arriving.
Then a ship puled in after having gone through a storm and lost several containers overboard. These containers often float for years just below the waves so it is impossible for any boater to see them. For Sailors in fiberglass boats they are a hazard now in every ocean around the world. What about ships carrying 20,000 of these silent bombs going through a storm and losing the same percentage overboard? Yikes!!

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