Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 109 - Anacortes WA - Saturday, August 27, 2011

If it is Saturday and it is Anacortes, it is not only the Farmers' Market, but it could be one of many festivals to delight locals and visitors alike.  Today it is the Work Boat Races and Pirate Faire, so Herb, Jake and I walk the nine blocks to the Pier 1 at the north end of Commercial Avenue to see what it is all about.

On the way we pass Dakota Industries, where we toured the Cade Candies last year.

Cade Candies is a tender for ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) that go to the ocean floor to work on oil wells, for instance.

When we arrive at Pier 1, I meet one of the pirates, who tells me to bring the Port Isabel pirates here to next year's festival.

Among the events is a car show.  Bombay Betty gets my attention.

The Transit Shed Event Center houses several exhibits.  

I like the ship model, and can not imagine how long it took to make.  The top raises so you can see inside.

This bar could tell many a story.

The poster of light houses is quick to catch our eye!  Sue Ehler, one of the coodinators of the Burrows Island Light Station Restoration Program, explains what their plan is.

Burrows Island is a small island just west of Fidalgo Island, on which Anacortes is located.

The light station has fallen into disrepair and has been damaged by vandals.

The Northwest Schooner Society, together with other agencies, will stabilize and weatherproof the station.  

The lighthouse itself is in good condition and will be open to the public for tours in the Fall.  A long range plan is to offer a 'lighthouse keeper for a weekend' program.

We wish them well on their project, and it doesn't take Herb long to tell Sue about Port Isabel's lighthouse history.

As I look at the lighthouses shown on the poster, I see Point No Point.  I am so excited, as when we listen to the marine weather forecast, we regularly hear about conditions at various Points, including Point No Point.  

I am told that the name originated because it is really not on a point.

As we walk among the booths, we see our own Dale Fowler, the harbormaster of Cap Sante Boat Haven, and who is one of the committee members for the races today.

He is quite busy today.

Anacortes High School Robotics Team demonstrates its work.  With the young men at the controls the robot lifts the ring and places it on a hook.

Everyone pitches in to get it right.

The teacher with them today tells me that they learn engineering skills and teamwork -- plus they have a lot of fun.

To get to our next adventure, we walk across a grated catwalk to see the Tug Comanche.  I tell Jake not to look down, as we are far above the water and it is scary.

Actually, it is I who doesn't want to look down.

This next tug is also amazing.  

It is good to be seeing it from the dock, rather than dodging it on Guemes Channel.

We are entertained by a music group while we have lunch provided by one of several food vendors at the Faire.  

As we go in search of ice cream, we see that Dale is supporting the Port of Anacortes by buying a T-shirt and handing out the free printed programs for the events today.

The day's activities just get better and better.  The Parade of Boats is led by Norwester, built in 1932 and once owned by John Wayne and a partner.  He gave her a face lift, which among other things increased the headroom to 6' 6" to accommodate his 6' 4" height and allow him to keep his hat on.

The Quail is 73 ft long and has a long history of service, including the escort of the sternwheeler snagboat W. T. Preston to Anacortes.

She wears a sign, "For Sale or Trade."

Cheyenne Arrow is in the fleet with Brave Arrow.  Owner Jack Harmon won his class last year with Sioux Arrow.

One of my favorites is San Juan Enterprise, a 98 ft. cargo landing craft available for hire.

She can haul up to 75 tons and specializes in cargoes which can't be accommodated on public ferries or smaller vessels.  A typical work week might consist of jobs as varied as freighting a propane tanker to Orcas, a round trip with a track hoe and dump truck to support beach erosion repair on Decatur Island, or two days spent as a filming platform for a Hollywood movie crew.

Now the FUN begins!  

Steadfast, based in Cap Sante, is the service provider for all the pre-booming work at Tesoro refinery across the bay from the marina. 

She is charged with deploying an oil spill containment boom prior to the transfer of oil over water.  The boom is towed into a position surrounding the ship and wharf, and anchored with as many as ten anchors at a time.  She works round the clock with a crew of two.

Today Steadfast heads straight for where Herb, Jake, I and others are standing at the viewing dock and we see her crew armed with water balloons.  Oh, No!  I juggle hiding my camera from the missiles and bringing it out again to capture the activity.

Look closely on the right of the photo to see a boat hook  with a white box attached to the end.  

The idea is to grab the box as the boat drives by the dock.

Herb is fortunate enough to have one of those boxes, which contains a 2007 Limited Edition oil tanker, and the third in a series of Tesoro vehicle models.  It is similar to the ships that transport crude oil and products to and from Tesoro's waterborne refineries.

Steadfast also throws Frisbees to the children.

In the interest of safety of the marine life, this small work boat follows the balloons and Frisbees to retrieve the ones that don't make land.

The children wearing life jackets use their nets to clear the water.

Now for my very favorite!  The Vessel Assist.  She is fully equipped to national standards for rescue towboats.  But there is another reason she appeals to me.

More on that later.

Neptune runs a close second for me.

More on that later, also.

I promised the fun would begin -- and now it does.  Here is Vessel Assist and why it is my favorite!

She is feisty and I can imagine how much fun her skipper is having!

Neptune is quite spunky, also.

And now it's back to the water balloon war.  Some of these guys show their pitching arm as they take aim at spectators on the dock.

Then they speed away quickly.  But not before we see that they are totally wet from the water balloons being thrown back at them.

The 'water balloon booth' has moved to right behind us to supply our ammunition.

Here comes another one!

Then more clean-up of Frisbees and balloons that missed their targets.

Able comes by next...
....and I calmly take a photo of her...

...then I see what she is up to..... and I fear for my life, or dryness............

This is equal to a big water balloon!

Fortunately, she did not turn the high pressure hose on the crowd.  But we all got a thrill, anyway.

As these shenanigans take place, recreational boats not performing today come and go on their cruising -- most not aware of the races.  There is plenty of room in the channel for all, and each stays out of the way of the other.

We see a red 21 and wonder if it is Red Ranger with Johnny and Mary aboard.

We see Circle T, 29 Ranger Tug, with Tym, John, Sarah, Jack and Lucy coming in from their weekend.

Circle T

The race is about to begin.  The Town Cryer, Richard Riddell, gives the opening Cry, leads us in singing the National Anthem, and the cannon is shot to signal the start.

Jake goes nuts!

A Class A vessel takes off in its race in a spray, followed by the small assist work boats.

Entrants are Norwester and Mystic Sea.

The first boat to return to the starting line is Norwester -- but wait!  The officials radio in that she did not go all the way to the buoy in the middle of Guemes Channel, so she is disqualified!

The second boat to come back is Mystic Sea and could now be declared the winner.  But wait -- the officials reveal that she did not round the buoy either, and cannot be the winner.  Hmmmm............

The judges go time out, and decide that Mystic Sea should be the winner. Although she did not follow all the rules either, she actually went farther toward the buoy than the Norwester, so gets First Place.

How funny!

What an exciting day!

Vessel Assist

*Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and Walldog, Willie and Jake

*Many facts copied from the Anacortes Work Boat Races program.

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