Posted by: abbiewatters | August 2, 2012

Meet the Fleet Cruise

Yesterday, I boarded the Franke Tobey Jones bus and rode to Seattle where we caught a lunch cruise round the Elliott Bay for the beginning of “Fleet Week” in Seattle. (BTW, I am eternally grateful that I’m not going to be “on the ground” there during all the festivities which I understand is an excuse to gather in enormous crowds and drink.)

The cruise left from Shilshole Bay Marina. When the bus arrived we were greeted with the Viking statue.

I’m not sure what he was commemorating, but there he was at the entrance to the marina.

Both of the boat were there and available for boarding (even though we were about 1/2 an hour early). The bigger boat was the Emerald Star. It looked like it held about 60 or 75 folks comfortably.

Our boat was the Olympic Star and we had about 25 or 30 people on our cruise. There were 8 from FTJ including the bus driver and staff.

There was a wonderful doggy on the dock in his life vest, waiting to board another boat for the day on the water.

This is a good-sized marina with moorings for several hundred boats of all shapes and sizes.

We had plenty of time to look around while we waited for the rest of the parties to arrive. There were also some Canada geese that seemed to be headed somewhere important (at least THEY thought it was important.)

Captain Pete came by to visit with us before we left.

The lady and her husband were from San Antonio, so I had a good time comparing horror stories of the heat with them. We also spent some time congratulating each other on our foresight in “getting the hell out of Dodge,” this summer.

Hey! I guess I WAS there after all.

As we backed out of our slip we could see a metal sculpture of Nessie chasing a poor unfortunate sailor on the seawall. (Sorry we didn’t get close enough to take a better picture.)

They served us a fine lunch of salmon, mashed potatoes, and spinach, with creme brulee for desert. It tasted great, but I was so ready to be out on the water that I spent most of my time running upstairs and outside to take pictures, and then coming back for the next course, only to run outside again.

We motored around West Point and saw our first view (from the water) of the skyline of Seattle, complete with Space Needle in the center of the picture.

We took up our post in the middle of Elliott Bay, and waited for the parade of ships.

Pretty soon we looked south, and saw them coming, complete with a fire boat putting on a welcoming display!

It wasn’t long before they were around the headland and coming into Elliott Bay!

The ferry to Bainbridge Island didn’t seem to be at all impressed with the War Ships, as it passed, unconcernedly, between us and them.

There were three ships, all painted grey, so they are kind of hard to see (camouflage works). These were all active-duty war ships who had just recently returned from service in the Gulf War and Afghanistan.

There was a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile cruiser, and a helicopter carrier. (Sorry, my “brain like a sieve” has lost the names of two of them, but I do remember one was named the USS Bunker Hill.)

This is the helicopter carrier just passing Safeco Field and Qualcomm Field just by the container docks. Its camouflage is so good you can hardly see it.

See, there it is in a close-up that is kind of blurry because close-ups usually are on the iPad.

Here’s a picture of the fire boat in close-up (also blurry, but identifiable).

They finally finished their tour of the bay closer to us (and more visible).

We were also treated to a fly-by of a P-2 Sub-hunter.

Apparently, the Coast Guard felt like we were a little too close to the destroyer, and they came putt-putting over with machine gun at the ready, to make sure we didn’t interfere with the United States Navy!

We also had a fly-by by a two-engine sub-hunter (nobody seems to know what the Navy calls them – not Captain Pete, or Big Al).

After they complete the shoreline tour of Elliott Bay, the cruiser turned and came right at us!

And, not to be overshadowed, the little two engine sub-hunter buzzed us again!

Needless to say, we gave way, and the destroyer made the turn and headed back to downtown.

By now, it was time to go back to the Marina, so we went back around West Point.

What a great day on the water. Too bad that Big Al didn’t want to go, ’cause I had a WONDERFUL time.

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Responses

  1. So, this is what retirement looks like?

    Like


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