Seattle was having its hottest start to July ever (2015) so we took to the water as a somewhat cooler alternative to walking the hot streets.
As the ferry left the terminal we looked back on an area that is being reconstruction to connect the city back with the waterfront… for too long divided by a fast and busy highway and much of the water’s edge was not available to the people of the city. After much consultation with the community, the dream is to make a vibrant waterfront for all to enjoy. The highway will remain but the waterfront area will be much more people friendly with boardwalks, parks and amenities. And the ferries that leave from here join that area to the small islands and also link the harbour via a canal to large lakes within the city.
Seattle has a large, very busy working port area that is vital to the economic health of not only Seattle but to the whole of Washington state. I read that four in ten jobs in the state are tied to international trade, driving job growth and economic prosperity.
A view back to the city and the space needle.
Several restaurants now use the older pier areas. This one is the iconic ‘Waterfront Seafood Grill Pier 70’ which has received recognition many times as one of Seattle’s top dining destinations. As you would imagine, the menu incorporates the wonderful bounty of fresh seafood of the area, as well as the fresh harvest from the farms in the surrounding countryside. During summer, guests can enjoy waterfront dining on that long deck.
I’d seen these silos from the space needle and wondered what they contained. The answer is grain. It’s a completely automated facility moving grain efficiently from trucks and rail cars to silos and then to ship’s hold.
A massive rock wall surrounds a marina filled with some very expensive yachts.
Just before the ferry turned from the main harbour area into the canal, we passed West Point Lighthouse, sitting, as it has done for many a long year, at the end of a low, half-mile-long, sandy point that extends into Puget Sound. The lighthouse still sends out alternating red and white flashes, even though from a modern beacon within the tower.
Light houses are usually built on rock. But, to support this lighthouse built on sand, a grill of timber was first built three feet below the ground before adding the brick foundations. The brick tower and and an octagonal iron lantern room were then built on top. They must have done something right, it still stands today, albeit with a surround of added rocks to keep both the lighthouse and the sand spit safe from lashing storms.
Along the canal, many houses are built on timber piles. Safe from storms, this would be my choice of place to live in Seattle… if I could afford one of them…. but probably not!
Other places are built on the shore line rather than over the water.
Salmon Bay Bridge, (or Bridge no 4) is on the northern rail line between King Street Station in Seattle and Everett (where the Boeing factory is situated). It’s called a single-leaf bascule bridge, built in 1914, and has two rail tracks. It has a span of 61 mts (or 200 ft).
So what is a bascule bridge? In simple terms its a draw bridge that uses a massive counter weight to continuously balance a bridge span, or leaf, as it swings upwards to allow clearance for boat traffic. As we were to see later, largish ships use this canal.
The concept has been used since ancient times. But it wasn’t until the introduction of steam power in the 1850s that long, heavy spans could be moved quickly enough to make their use practical for more modern day usage. I guess this is electrical these days.
I liked this house near the bridge… solid foundations rather than timber poles that have a habit of rotting over time…and lots of balcony to sit out and watch the bridge in use!
More houses along the canal. It was very pleasant sailing passed these canal side homes as we made our way to the locks that lift the ships from the ocean level to the lake level.
More of that anon.
Jennie and David
All photographs copyright © JT and DY of jtdytravels
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