Tuesday, February 18, 2014

West Lake Union Tour

No wind for the 10am sailing class so I started my West Lake Union Tour with Kenmore Air, the largest and very busy Seaplane Line serving the greater PNW region.

Here the Marinas share space with high rise buildings and more modern development than the East Bank.

So many Marinas, each of the buildings along Westlake are part of a larger Real estate leasing business.

I took time to see every marina along the way behind the office buildings. Obviously the wind had picked up a bit and there was a race on the lake. At first I thought these were Seattle Yacht Club boats.

There are always the FAST boats in the fleet way out front.

Then the guys hoping some day they can stay with the fast ones.

The Three fast boats have already rounded the 1st mark and are headed for the weather mark.

The marina office is somewhere inside the building along with all types of other offices.

Old School

Not all but most businesses on this side are recreational Marine related business.

There is a Groupon for this and I plan on buying one to rent a electric Duffy boat for about 2 hours to do all this by water.

A bit of Written History preserved along an old fence

Most of the old Spur Line Rail way that ran along the West Lake side is now concrete sidewalk.

Every bit of usable space is marinafied

And as you walk North you get into the House boat Community, Remember "Sleepless in Seattle"?

Guessing they are not the new kids on the block

I would Hate to have the slip in the foreground of this pic!

Boaters World owns 6 marinas on Lake Union, this is just one: http://www.boatworldmarinas.com/

A bit of History left as a reminder of where they came from.

The Neighborhood improves

Must be a Big Family.

Plenty of space for Your Mega here.

Religious conversion here.

Now to the Funky.

This one no longer floats, Pilings have been added to keep this one above water.

Where would you live? Have to watch this Video: http://www.lakeunionhistory.org/Video,_Houseboats.html

The George Washington Memorial Bridge AKA Aurora Bridge

Squeeze your sailboat next to the boat house.

Plenty of Room for Wanad'rin Star to sail under.

The Marinas march on toward the Freemont Bridge.

Always an interesting Vessel in every marina.

As walk West now we leave Lake Union and head toward the Ballard Locks on the Washington Lake Canal

A Hike and bike tunnel under the Freemont Bridge

1916, A Marvel in engineering in it's time I am sure!

A great Park emerges along the waterway

Aat 14' vertical Clearance Wand'rin Star would have to Hail the Freemont Bascule Bridge Tender for sure

Just for Pleasure

Same Park

Just for Commerce

The canal gets a lot more Industrial from here on to the Locks.

Not sure what was so tall that they had to build the power lines 160' above the canal? They must have built some big stuff on Lake Union or Washington at one time.

Funky is not the Word.I am thinking that the dudes that live aboard here must work in the neigborhood?

Every type of vessel has been turned into live aboards including fine old wooden workboats/tugs

I am guessing they work over there or at some of the other many marine industry's nearby.

Where else would you live if this was your life?

I wonder if any are for sale or rent?

Every imaginable type of work boat right here right out front

Foss is a worldwide Tugboat company.

This is their Seattle headquarters.

Stacks and Stacks of New propellers just waiting to be placed into service.

On the way back we stopped in to see the Lake Union Fuel dock, it is always good to check things our before bringing a boat in.

That is Lake Unions North Shore, that tour will have to wait a while.

But we did drive over the bridge to the North side to Eat at the Original Ivar's. We thought this street side counter was the Ivar's everyone talked about, and sometimes it is but the fine dining is just behind this as we gladly found out as I wanted a nice relaxing fun lunch for us boath.

Big window's look out onto Lake Union and the channel to Portage Bay.

Seafood Salad, a Great Freemont IPA, and Chowder for the Admiral, great way to end our Walk.

I want to take the electic boat down this channel to Portage Bay and Lake Washington. The Nearest bridge is I5, the next one is the University Bascule bridge. University of Washington is just past the bridge.

West Lake Union Tour

If I were a Tour Guide in Seattle I would make Lake Union my Domain. This is the most dynamic Human Marine environment of any that I have ever had the pleasure to visit and experience. There is no way I can even scratch the surface of this Jewel simply by walking around it, taking pictures, talking to a few people, sailing on it, rowing on it. Eating at Ivar's, hanging out at the Gas Work's Park, or whatever, but I will try. A cool website that is in the constant work to do justice to the History of this lake is:  http://www.lakeunionhistory.org/Home.html .

I walked about half of the West Lake side when the winds were to light for teaching sailing so I walked a couple of hours taking pics and talking to a few people along the way, watched a race wind up as the winds finally kicked in by what I thought were Seattle Yacht Club vessels but later learned they were instead various vessels who had signed up for the Winter Goose Bumps Series. Turns out that the NW Riggers Sponser the series and if you have $25 you can join the club see http://www.nwriggers.com/goosebump-races/ . There were three fast boats so I'm thinking those boys were Seattle Yacht Club people but Most of the fleets home base seems to be every marina on the lake. I was Sailing a couple of weeks later on super Bowl Sunday and they had a short race that ended as I was on my last leg back to the Center for Wooden Boats and I noticed that they went every direction on the lake returning to their slips after the race was over.

The Admiral joined me for the for the rest of the walk around the West side and all the way down the Lake Washington Canal up to the Ballard Bridge. The Admiral was not so sure this would be a fun walk but she really got into it as there is something for every person here. The History just leaks out at you as well as the charm of the House boat Community on the North end of the West shore. Groupon has a deal to rent electric Duffy boats on the lake and we are definitely gonna do that so we can do this tour from the water as well. http://www.theelectricboatco.com/  The Center for Wooden Boats does not allow their boats past the bridges so the Electric 2 hour boat rental should do just fine.

Once you get to the Freemont Bascule Bridge the lake ends and the Westward Washington Lake Channel begins. There is a great Park for a bout a mile that makes a very nice walk. The Park ends where some of the heavier Marine industry begins again. I was excited to see the Seattle Headquarters for Foss Marine as I watch their tugs and work boats everyday out on Puget Sound. They are one of the worlds Largest Tug companies and you will find them in every corner of the world.

The Admiral had a great Idea as we finished up about a 4 hour walk. She suggested driving over the bridge to find Ivar's. Our son-in-law told us it was one of his favorites, now it is one of ours. When you drive up you see a take out widow and a few picnic tables outside with a small inside dining room. As we were standing studying the menu the lady behind the counter asked us if we were looking for the Fine Dining? What?, anyway she explained the Fine Dining Ivar's was just behind, right on the water front. Perfect.

Stay tuned for the North Shore Tour and the eventual Duffy boat tour.

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