Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spectator Sport -- 5/21/2014

The photo below shows the dotted lines of ferry routes.  Just above is a narrow waterway leading from Puget Sound through the Locks and into Salmon Bay, then Lake Union and finally Lake Washington.  Stimson Marina is in the ship channel of Salmon Bay, which is one of the first enlarged areas shown in the waterway. The lakes are fresh water and boats must come through the Locks at the beginning of the channel.   The Locks also serve to separate the salt from the fresh water.

We have been through many times and it is always exciting.  You don't know until you are signaled by a green traffic light as to which you are directed to enter -- the big Locks or the small Locks.   While going through, we always see several people sight seeing on the viewing platform above us and watching the action.

Today we walk Jake to the Locks as spectators and observe from the viewing platform above us.

As a boat comes in, Locks employees stand ready to assist with lines, if necessary.

Skipper ties his line to his cleat, loops around the yellow bollard (mostly hidden), then ties off back to his cleat.

Spectator cross walk and flood gate is shown as it closes.  It rotates to the right.

 The employees tell you what number to loop around.   Lock is shown at a high water level.

Water behind the gates is at the higher level.  Lower level in front of the gates.

Now a lower level.

Gate will open.  Skipper is ready.

Almost completely open.  Skipper is on the bow preparing to release the line.  (Line toward salt water is released first.)

Gate is open and flush with the wall, and skipper takes his stern line off the bollard. Single handed through the Locks!  Congratulations.

Off she goes.  Too small to be seen are two sailboats waiting in the distance to come in as the boat exits.  They wait at a red traffic light, until the Locks employee turns on the green light at one Lock or the other.

The sailboats proceed into the small Lock. 

Note the water level is down. 

The second sailboat comes in and ties up.  Employees stand ready with boat hooks and/or lines for assistance. 

It is always a learning process the first time or so that you go through.  This person first wanted to simply hold the bitter end of the line, then was told to tie it, so tied to her rail, then was told not to tie to rail but to loop it around the bollard and cleat off.

As some students would say, "See one, do one, teach one."  Maybe this person can teach someone how to go through the Locks!

As a bonus, we get to see how the salmon return to the salt water.  The female adult swims from the salt up to the fresh to spawn, then dies.  When the hatched fish become large enough, as smolts, they swim backward with the water flowing out these pipes toward the sea.  This protects them as they pass and lines barely seen across the waterway deter birds from swooping down and having a feed!

 Willie of Willie's Tug
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, May 21, 2014


  1. Cool! That was very good and very interesting, I learned a lot. The photos are really good.

  2. There is so much to learn. Thanks for your comment.