Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Musical Slip Assignments at Vigor Shipyard

On May 10, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Sea-Based X-Band Radar vessel (SBX-1) crept slowly across Elliott Bay and into Vigor Shipyard on Harbor Island. See our May 11 post at Today, the SBX-1 crept ever so slowly out of the shipyard toward a temporary moorage at Duwamish Head, off West Seattle, to make room for a new tenant at Vigor.

The purpose of this short trip was to accommodate the Arctic-class drilling rig Kulluk, owned by Shell Oil, which arrived today in Elliott Bay after a two-week voyage from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. According to a report in Fuel Fix, Shell is moving the rig to Vigor Shipyard, where SBX-1 is currently based, for ongoing maintenance and planned, technical upgrades. Once Kulluk is berthed at Vigor, SBX-1 will return to its previous location for completion of the $27 million upgrade project that began in May.

The Kulluk was accompanied on its two-week journey from Dutch Harbor by Nanuq, a 300-foot oil spill response vessel that can store 12,000 barrels of recovered oil and has tools on board to collect crude from water. See

There was a veritable beehive of activity this afternoon, with radar platforms, drilling rigs, an oil spill recovery vessel, USCG patrol boats, and numerous tugs scattered around Elliott Bay -- not to mention the occasional Washington State ferry and even a wayward sailing vessel of indeterminate origin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elliott Bay Encounters, Revisited

Recently, we spent almost three weeks cruising north of Seattle. During our travels, we had two encounters that reminded us of Elliott Bay.

Do you remember our May 12 post entitled "A School Bus that Floats" ( Well, on 7:15 AM on June 28, while cruising north of Campbell River, BC at Chatham Point, where Johnstone Strait and Discovery Passage meet (see, we overtook an Alaska Marine Lines barge returning to Seattle from Alaska. The barge was nearly empty, and the only vehicles visible to us were a couple of pick-up trucks. There were no school buses in sight.

The other encounter occurred on July 2 at the dock below Chatterbox Falls in Princess Louisa Inlet. Adjacent to us was none other than M/V Compadre, a 43-foot bridge-deck cruiser built in 1929 by Stephens Brothers in Stockton, CA. We had seen Compadre at the classic yacht rendezvous at Bell Harbor Marina on June 18.

Compadre is currently owned by Rick and Cindy Randall of Bainbridge Island, WA, where Rick serves as commodore of the Eagle Harbor Yacht Club. For further information about Compadre and much better photos than the one above, see the excellent site maintained by the Randalls at