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!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seattle Brewery - Road Dog Tour

Snapped a couple of pics on my walk down to the Brewery Tour

Gotta Ride the Ferris Wheel Soon

I forgot to get a pic of the van we took the tour in so I got this one off the web, that is not our tour guide.

While waiting on the van I walked into Pikes right next door to the Pick up point and watched this Brewer adjust some valves, then she went down below to a huge tank and started pouring in Hop Pellets

Our first Stop

The Barley comes from the trucks to these large Hoppers.

The Barley turned into malts by roasting. The darker the roast the darker the beer. 

This was double sided so we got to taste 4 of the year round brews and 4 of the Seasonals

Our tour Guide Jason explaining the Brew process, The tanks where the stairs are are the first step as the barley or malts, hops, and water are heated up to form a Mash. 

after about a three hour process the mash is pumped into one of these containers where yeast is added and the Fermentation process takes about two weeks, you can see under the second tank in front where the Yeast has settled to the bottom and is taken off to be re-used again.

When the beer is ready you can buy it by the growler full seen here at a filling station

This was a really cool funky brewery, small scale but Good Brew!

Lots of Kegs stored for pick up besides the Brewery, they can do this since it ain't Hot here. 

A lot of creative Labels pointing to the Beer culture of the PNW

We got to go in back and check it all out, several different types of Barley or Malts

Not everything comes from the Yakima Valley

We tasted some different malts at the first brewery and it is clear now how beer gets that unique taste. 

The Mash Pit at Big Al's

The smaler brewery's often get their start by buying used equipment from the bigger guys. 

Older style Fermentation tank

Jason and Lauara in the Cooler at Big Al's

Pyramid was the largest of the Brewery's we went to, since this was our last one it is hard to remember what the beer tasted like!

I asked Jason advice on which ones to taste since the selection was so large and we could pick three.

Jason was my Kinda Guy and he nailed my taste for beer.

Jason makes himself comfortable in his Zone!

Seattle Brewery - Road Dog Tour

I told my Daughter I was interested in taking a Beer Tour here in Seattle. Since her husband works for Amazon she is always keeping up with the Offers on Amazon This is sorta like Groupon but Amazon instead. A Offer to take a Brewery Tour for Half Price appeared and she emailed the link to me so I bought a ticket right away. It took about two weeks before I could schedule the tour since I had to coordinate with my Baby Drew schedule. They have 3-4 tours each day so I decided to take the 2:30 pm tour since 10 am is just to early for me to be drinking and I did not want to take the late one either. This way there would be daylight and I could see where it was we were going in Seattle If I decided to return on my own in the future. You go to three breweries out of the 40+ available to tour in Seattle. You stay at each one for about an hour then hop in the Van and truck on over to the next.
I walked on down to 1st and Union where the pick up point was and since I got down there a bit early I went in next door to walk around and there happened to be Pikes Brewery so I took a pic of a brewer adjusting some valves near a big tank and then she went downstairs and I could see her pouring big pales of pellets into another big tank that had some type of liquid pouring in from a huge pipe.The liquid of course turned out to be water, and the pellets were Hops. I returned to the pick up point and there I saw Jason driving in the Road Dog Tour van and met a Women taking the tour, Laura from Chico, California where one of my previous favorites sierra Nevada is brewed. There were supposed to be 4 persons on our tour but two  had car trouble so that just left Laura and myself with our own private Guide, Jason. This was great, It would be easy to get all my questions about brewing taken care of for sure.

One of the first things Jason showed us right after boarding the Van was the Bail Out Pale, that would be for persons who are not True Beer Drinkers of Course! Besides I was not worried since the Admiral and I used a Groupon for a late lunch and I ate a fine Roast Beef Sandwich at the Buffalo Deli just before leaving on the tour.The first stop was a medium sized brewery, Georgetown Brewing,  and this is where we learned the most about the brew process. We tasted 8 beers here in small 5 ounce taster glasses. We also got to crunch on some roasted barley or Malt, this really helped in understanding how each brew gets their unique taste. I wanted to eat a Hop Pellet but Jason said I would not like it! Hops are ground up and shaped into pellets (like rabbit feed) to make shipping more efficient.  Georgetown only sells Growlers to the public, the rest goes to bars and restaurants in Kegs. there were a lot of people there buying more than one growler, about $9.00 for a 1/2 gallon of beer.
 In Seattle they sell 22oz bottles of craft beers in the stores. I regularly bring a different one home to taste, it is just 2 ounces over an Imperial (British Pint), an American pint is 16 ounces. So when you go to a Bar and order a Pint, ask for a Imperial Pint and see what you get! Anyway I decided that if I was going to drink all these different craft brews I needed to learn about the brewing process. In addition I registered on and started rating the beers I drank to facilitate the learning process. The fact is everyone's taste is different, but your taste can develope and change so rating is very subjective. There are basically two types of beers, Lagers and Ales, see , I favor Ales but wouldn't turn down a fine Lager. 
The next stop was big Al's where we selected 6 four ounce pours which they put on a little tray for us so we could take them back in the brewery to enjoy while continuing the education. All craft breweries must have started out like this small operation. Old equipment in a comparitive small space. It was very cool to think the comon man could start his own beer empire just like this. 
Then we went to one of the largest craft breweries in Seattle, Pyramid. By now our consumption was near max and I had Jason make the reccomendations for my 3 Six ounce taste. Laura just sat on a chair and sipped on her beer while Jason took me back to see the brewery. I do not even remember exactly what these three tasted like, I was pretty much tasted out but I did enjoy them!
Jason said their best customer has been on 9 tours and has never been to the same brewery twice.  Even better if you could do that for half price each time. But since I now understand the lay of the land I think my next tour will be self guided and just take it one at a time.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Boppin Around Seattle in Fogtober

We have a small Gym in our Condo building but I prefer taking a fast 40 minute walk down the water front and back, down to the Ferris wheel and back.

A bit of History noted on the waterfront

Click on the pic and you will See Mount Rainier in the background, on a clear day he comes out to play.

The Arab Fest at Seattle Center, it is always interesting participating in another culture.

It's a small world for sure

This is a Lebanese  Chicken Kabob top and Kofta (Lamb) on the bottom
Then we went inside and enjoyed hearing Maurice Sadar Rouman. He is known as the Father of Modern Arab Music, he is 92 years old and his fingers glider over the guitar like Arab instrument like a Segovia or at times like Carlos Montoya

We saw several  Arab Dancers, everything from this to a woman dancing with a small chandelier on her head and one with a huge Dagger...Look Out!

The Admiral attended this poetry reading, I was over looking through some of the Arab Literature, these people have led very horrific lives in many cases and it is announced in their culture. Then there were the obviously very rich in the mix, I am sure from oil profits.

There were several tables where there were groups of adult men and women smoking these giant Hooka's, we asked what they were smoking and it is some type of Flavored Tobacco.
We saw women in all manner of head coverings from this to women dressed in modern clothing with no head coverings, There were no Burqa's. All of these ethnic Fest are Happy occasions where they celebrate both their culture and the diversity within the culture.
The good news is that all cultures love Food and they have their own unique way of making it taste GOOD!

My First Croatian Beer

Song and Dance for everyone

When is the last time you had a pastry where Buttermilk was served with it?

Thought we should catch one more Earshot Jazz Festival Event

Can not explain it...if you are lucky they will come to a venue near you.

These two very creative artist stand alone in the world of Jazz.

The Best Damn Happy Hour hands out great door prizes, usually it is just a drawing but in this case the best Twerker won. Yep that is the Admiral collecting her prize, A coupon good for up to 12 people for the Seattle Pacific Science Center

This was our third round at the monthly Happy hour

We volunteer at the Seattle Symphony, This day was spent with children making creatures for Mud Mountain

A lot of very unusual creatures inhabited the mountain. After this we all wne in to see "The Composer is Dead"

After the children's Symphony Day we walked south of downtown to visit the International District, behind the mini Pagoda is a Ping Pong Table and the Admiral beat me again. 

Always Stop for Dim Sum!

A weird 12+ days of heavy for in Seattle and South Puget sound, Never seen like this in the Fall, even in the winter the fog is blown out by the passing cold fronts. October was named Fogtober and Fogamendon. The constant gray is wired.  

Sometimes we could see the water and other times less than a block away.

Finally the fog broke for a few hours and the sun came out, we went to Seattle Center to take a walking tour. We have been there so many times but thought the Tour could tach us a few things. 

The Tour started and ended at the Armory

Shortly after we took this pic the fog started rolling in again, That is the EMP Museum in the background.

The tour guide took us to this point where he thought was the best spot to take a pic of the Space Needle with the International Fountain in the foreground going off. ...see the fog returning?
Fall Leaves create a whole new Environment

The fall colors are super, we took the long way home to go through this part of Seattle Center to check out the fall colors

We went back to Dia De Muertos and check out these Tamales...Huge. I had a Rainier Beer since I knew this was the Lone Star Beer of Washington State. 
The Real Deal from Central Mexico

They were good but I have heard better in Texas

A long way from Mexico, Seattle is way ahead in celebrating all the cultures in the U.S.

Mexican's Honor the dead, heck we hardly honor old people!

Tbhe fog is long gone and I saw this sailing ship heading North, it said Green Peace. Turns out it is the "Rainbow Warrior" and it had been in Seattle several days, If I had known about it I could have gone aboard and checked it out.
They come in  and or leave nearly every day

Port of Seattle, I can see all the action as I am feeding Baby Drew or Rocking him to sleep. 

Even when it is busy in the Harbor there is plenty of room for sailing.

One of our neighborhood favorites Macrina Bakery

After a volunteer sint one morning at the Symphony we discovered they had a fine Brunch on Sat. and Sunday's

We earn Sympony tickets almost every time we volunteer at the Symphony so we have accrued several, this night was a date night so we enjoyed the Wine and Baroque.

I have instructed at least 14 or people so far in two hour on the water sailing lessons. I had to take a Pic of this new vessel at the CWB named "Cutty Sark" of course the real Cutty Sark is on Exhibit in London, England. We got to see it in Dec. 2000 when we over there visiting our daughter. 

I was standing on the dock preparing to assist this sailboat coming in from a "Public Sail" when a small rain cloud cleared and a rainbow over Lake Union popped into the scene. 

Watch Out Seattle, Baby Drew is out Boppin Around Seattle now!

I always thought nothing could beat the Sun worshipers in Florida, They don't hold a candle to Seattleites! If the Sun breaks out for just 15 minutes or so all of a sudden the sidewalks fill up with all around to just gets a even a few minutes of the revered Sunlight. 
Even on the rainy days the clouds often break up in the afternoon and you get some fine sunsets. Florida holds the prize though, they celebrate the Sunset Every Day, especially in the Keys where everyone on the Atlantic side has an excellent view and those on the Gulf side just have a few blocks to walk to find a great view or they just get on a second floor balcony. 

Bopping Around Seattle in Fogtober

We are engaged daily in caring for our third Grandchild. The first two grandkids are girls back in Texas. We spent over 8 years helping our kids care with those two. In fact both sets of grandparents lived in he same town so there were 6 core family adults raising them. When we got the call that we had a third on the way we did not hesitate to get up here as fast as we could to be a part of this Little Skippers world. Believe me he definitely has the helm, he is efficiently teaching 4 intelligent adults how to behave. We exit the Terrariums (as our daughter calls these glass surrounded condos) as often as we can to Bopp around Seattle. We have volunteered several times at the Seattle Symphony and know our way around he huge Benaroya Hall (the building takes up a full city block) and I try to instruct sailing twice weekly at the Center for Wooden Boats.

Baby Drew's room looks out on to South Puget Sound and Elliot Bay so I have a great view of all the vessels coming and going around the area and all the way into the Port of Seattle. Being 11 floors up you can watch all the incredible weather systems come in often resulting in awe inspiring sunsets over the Olympic Mountains. The almost weekly Ethnic Festivals and other free events at Seattle Center are a easy 10 minute walk away. The Admiral and I both have our Seattle Walking legs tuned up now and we can walk straight up steep hills without even thinking about it. Their are several things that we do that require a mile or two walk each direction in Seattle Weather, no problems we are both outfitted for what ever weather happens, we each carry small backpacks with extra clothes just in case. Our car never gets out of the garage, maybe once every two weeks.
There is is small gas fired fireplace in our condo for heat but we do not use it but for just a few hours a day, even on the colder fall nights we keep a window open, not sure if that is the result of living on he top floor and everyone else's heat keeping our unit warm or what? Right now the low temps stay above the low 40's so it is no big deal yet! 
Day light savings time just ended so the nights are definitely getting longer now. We discovered that the true sun worshippers are in. The PNW! If the sun so much as comes out for a few minutes these people find a way to get outside to enjoy those moments. In the elevators they talk about he sun, how awesome it was or when it might come out again. I'm sure we have a lot more to learn in December and January....time will tell but so far the weather here has been anything but normal. In Fact I am sure just about anywhere you go in the world now you would hear from the locals that the weather is not Normal.