Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cama Beach

The Trail down to Cama Beach

Atypical Cabin, you just have to bring your own food, and bedding. They have Heat!

Long rocky beaches.

The tide was on it's way in (Flood tide) You can see the small seawall to the right and the water line at High  Tide.

That is Saratoga Passage with Whidbey Island to the left. The currents form the tides is a concern for anyone rowing, paddling, or sailing, and those with powered boat better hope the engine does not die on them.

Most of the rocks are pebble sized.

I took this pic closer to the water, can you see the difference? Do you know why?

Only one boat was put out for rent on this Sunny but chilly February Day

A bit of History

The boat house/Livery is huge with several sailing, rowing and outboard fishing boats ready to go.

This is the exterior of the Livery

Lots of cabins to for lots of visitors keeping this area where on any day you can see Eagles, Killer Wahales, Otters and lots of other wildlife not to mention crabbing and Salmon fishing.
Google Earth Pic of Camino Island

And Pic of Cama Beach

Made it back home to catch this sunset over Elliot Bay and South Puget Sound

Cama Beach

When you go through the Orientation as a volunteer for the Center for Wooden Boats they introduce you to to several types of volunteer opportunities including volunteering at their Cama Beach location which is an old fishing camp that is now part of Cama Beach State Park. Cama Beach is located on Camino Island about 2 hours drive North of Seattle. If you go up and volunteer on a weekend you get a a free cabin to overnight in. Since Cama beach is located on the West side of Camino island just across Sarartoga Passage from Whidbey Island, this is a pretty attractive deal .For one thing volunteer work at the CWB is all fun and since you are only required to do 4 hours work on Sat and 4 on Sunday you have the rest of the time to enjoy this awesome part of the PNW free.
A Volunteer orientation at Cama Beach was on the calender so I signed up. I got a call from Shane at Cama Beach and he informed me I would be the only person attending the orientation so he would just do a one to one orientation but at a later time than was originally scheduled since he had a volunteer training meeting with current volunteers scheduled. No problem I would just get there around 1pm rather than 11am. Shane gave me a complete facility tour and it became quickly apparent that he relies on whatever volunteers he can muster since he is the only full time employee and he has a a lot on his plate especially during the very busy summer season. Besides renting out cabins, there is the boat rentals (including sail, row, and outboard powered fishing boats), fishing equipment rentals and just the overseeing of all the safety for those out and around the water. So he is also the safety boat person. There is a complete wood shop at the site to maintain, repair and build all the wooden boats there. I quickly realized that he needed volunteers who could do any of those jobs just depending on who showed up and how busy they happen to be. I already had the Livery and Sail Instructor Orientation and check out so I made sure to attend a orientation for the Boat Shop as well so I could pitch in there also. I have been wanting to get in to help at the boat shop so I could learn any tricks about maintaining and repairing wood on vessels. Even though Wand'rin Star has a Fiberglass Hull, all the interior is wood and of course there is all sorts of wood trim on the exterior as well. Since boats have all curved surfaces it can be a delicate project if you ever have to replace a piece that has to be matched to the curvature of the hull.I know most of the labor volunteers provide is sanding, scraping, and painting, but they also at times get in on replacing structural pieces. either way you can always learn something new about how to do anything from this PNW culture.
Not sure when I will return to do my 1st volunteer gig at Cama Beach but I think I will do it in March before it gets to busy so I can learn the ropes slowly. I have to get some waders though since some things require getting in the water to launch or retrieve boats right off the beach!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Highliners: Boats of the Century

Highliners: Boats of the Century

I attended a Instructors meeting at the Center For Wooden Boats that Kristin, who directs the Adult Sailing programs, put together for us to go over the Figure 8 Man Over Board Drill. The meeting was shortened after our inside meeting due to rain and no wind on the lake to go out and practice. As I was leaving the CWB I noticed a lot of Wooden vessels docked around the area that I have never seen before so I walked the docks to see what was going on. The first thing I noticed about these nine vessels was that besides being all similar in design they were all in really good condition. A lot of the Wooden vessels coming into the CWB docks of this age are usually under restoration and it shows. Reading the place cards of each vessel exhibited it was clear they were all around 100 years old more or less.

I noticed these boats different from the others on Exhibit throughout the year at the CWB. They were so well maintained and it did not seem like the other vessels that had been preped to allow the general public to board. In fact you were not allowed to board these vessels. I thought someone who really cares about this class of fishing vessels dedicated lots of effort to keeping these boats alive and in such fine condition. 
Then I find out they are still fishing Alaska waters and in just a couple of months they will be back in Alaska!

Several of the vessels are almost identical except for the length.

These vessels are incredibly well maintained considering they are still working fishing boats, the owners obviously have a lot of pride in them.

Zoom in and read these place cards, pretty interesting.

The pilot house stood out on Evening Star

Zoom in on these place cards, they even detsal the highest winds the vessel had endured while fishing, one was 100MPH!
Go here to see some great photos of the vessels Parading from Fishermans Terminal near the Ballard Locks to the MOHI and CWB docks on Lake Union: http://tylermilesray.com/highliners-boats-of-the-century/
Another fine article about the exhibit is at http://cwbblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/100-years-of-longline-fishing-in-historic-power-schooners-celebrated-in-new-exhibit-at-the-center-for-wooden-boats/

I continue to be amazed at the number of wooden work boats, fishing, and tugs that still work the PNW waters. The majority of the entire Alaskan fishing fleet moor their boats in the fresh waters of the Washington Lake Channel during the off season at Fisherman's Terminal, Lake Union, and even on Lake Washington. The fresh water protects the wood from the critters living in salt water and Seattle provides all the necessary marine sport industry to maintain and stock these vessels for the work they do. There are plenty of craftsmen here that can repair and restore wooden vessels and they still build a lot of wooden boats but I am sure most of those are for recreational use. The cold water and low sun environment make it much easier to maintain wood, paint, and varnish. All of these boats would have a difficult time in the warm Southern waters of the Gulf of Mexico where an abundance of wood eating sea creatures and harsh UV from old Sol make anyone who owns wooden vessel in that environment desperately hunts a unwitting buyer to offload their mistake. I have more than one sailor tell their story of trying to maintain a wooden vessel on the Gulf coast.
I met a  Puget Sound  sport fishing guide at the CWB during a volunteer orientation training to work in the Boat Shop. His plan is to go to Alaska in 4 months to work as a  guide up there. It evidently pays a lot more and he wants to buy his own Sailing Vessel with the  money he makes during the season. He explained to me about the Alaskan fishing fleet here in Seattle and said that Fisherman's Terminal will become a Hub of activity as the fleet prepares to depart for Alaska for this next fishing season. He said there will be lots of men lined up on the docks hunting jobs aboard the ships and of course the last minute maintenance and provisioning. I plan to hang out down there and take lots of pics so look for that post in May.

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.