A cruise around Elliot Bay

September 19, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The Argosy Cruises neon signYesterday Blake and I went on an Argosy cruise around Elliot Bay. (Argosy is the company.) It was around $17 per person after tax, which seemed pretty steep for an hour-long guided tour, but I’m glad we went. (Though at that price I won’t be accompanying out-of-town guests on it when they visit.) The cruise went counter-clockwise around the harbor, which had the interesting and unfortunate consequence of rendering the port (left) view pretty useless. While the people on the right ogled the Space Needle and boats and notable points of interest on the skyline, the people on the left could look off at the Olympic mountain range and the featureless expanse of water. For about half an hour. Or, if they looked to their right, they could see the big wall in the middle of the ship instead of Seattle.

A pretty red building down by the docks

We were among the unfortunate few who were seated on the port side, but just after we sat down I foresaw the consequences and asked one of the crewmembers if we would indeed be simply circling the bay counter-clockwise. He said, “Well, most of the good views are on the right, but there are some good ones on the left as well.” So we decided to stay where we were and give it a try. Then, three minutes later after he named the fifth or sixth item that we absolutely couldn’t see at all, we pulled our chairs towards the rear of the boat so we could see both sides. Shortly thereafter several other port-facing folks followed suit.

About the coolest thing we saw was a few sea lions playing on a buoy out in the middle of the harbor. At the end of the cruise we also went by the industrial section of the harbor, which would have been way more interesting if we hadn’t seen similar things on our honeymoon (and the other cruises I’ve taken).

A sea lion basking in the cloudiness

Afterwards we had been planning to walk a few blocks to Pike Place Market and eat at some interesting ethnic place for dinner, but the light sprinkling rain had picked up a little and it discouraged us. I had my camera and no bag for it, and Blake was wearing only a T-shirt with no jacket. (My purse always contains a tiny umbrella, but I had left it at home so as to have my hands free for photos.) Rookie mistakes for new Seattleites, I’m sure. (Yes, “Seattleite” is the demonym specified by Wikipedia.) So we took the bus back and then walked to the nearby McDonald’s for burgers and McFlurries. Not as ethnic, but still pretty good.

The Seattle skyline

When this ship goes over waves, why don't all the containers fall off? Surely they don't have *that* much structural integrity, do they?

There were two or three other sea lions swimming around the buoy (not shown)

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  1. On your question about the containers….Yes, they are built quite stout. The walls are about 3/16″ thick corrugated steel. An empty 40′ container weighs around 7,700 lbs. The containers are not just sitting atop one another, they are pinned together on each of the four corners with a quarter-turn cam-lock device.
    If the ship gets into some extremely rough weather sometimes a few containers can be knocked over board. But, that’s rare.


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