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Friday, October 21, 2011

Cougar Rendezvous

Washington State plays Oregon State tomorrow at the Clink (Century Link Field) in downtown Seattle, and seagoing Cougar fans have been arriving at Bell Harbor Marina for the past couple of days.

It's not difficult to find the boats that belong to Cougar fans. They're festooned with banners in the distinctive Cougar crimson and gray.

Here is a sampling of the Cougar armada in Bell Harbor Marina late this afternoon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Elliott Bay Traffic Jam

On Saturday afternoon, October 8, we observed the Crowley tug, Hunter, as it was dispatched to assist the container ship, Arthur Maersk, arriving with cargo from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Followers of this blog will recall that Hunter has won the Class A Unlimited tugboat race at the Seattle Maritime Festival every year it has competed since 1995. See our Saturday, May 14 entry. Hunter is considered the fastest tugboat on the West Coast.

According to the AIS data sheet at, the Arthur Maersk departed Shanghai for Seattle on September 30. It arrived in Elliott Bay at about 3:30 PM.

Normally, container vessels proceed directly to their berths in either the east or west waterway. But Saturday was not a normal day. Two vessels were departing the east waterway just as the Arthur Maersk arrived.

First, the MSC Fabienne, a 55,000 T cargo vessel owned and operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company, backed out of the east waterway with tug assist and departed for San Francisco.

Then, Zim Ningbo, a 91,000 T cargo vessel owned and operated by ZIM Integrated Shipping, made a similar stern-first departure from the east waterway, executing a counter-clockwise spin maneuver before departing Elliott Bay.

Finally, an hour after its arrival, the Arthur Maersk proceeded to its east waterway berth. During its hour or so wait, the ship drifted north of the ferry lanes awaiting clearance to enter the waterway. As it drifted, prevailing winds caused Arthur Maersk to slide gradually to the northwest, toward Pier 62-63 and the Seattle Aquarium. Acting at the direction of the ship's pilot, the Hunter and its companion tug, Chief, kept Arthur Maersk several hundred yards away.

Playing on the Pier

On Saturday, October 8, a group of urban design, landscape, and architecture students from UW's Department of Architecture created a temporary exhibition at Pier 62/63.

The exhibition displayed interactive sculptures that were intended to interpret Seattle’s waterfront and remind people that one of Seattle’s most extraordinary assets is the edge where the city meets the Sound. See

As waterfront exhibits go, we would rank this one near the bottom.  Late in the day, a newlywed couple was significantly more interested in taking a break from a post-wedding photoshoot than in exploring the students' handiwork.

M/V Polar Bear

On September 28 (a spectacular day in Seattle, by the way), M/Y Polar Bear entered Bell Harbor Marina.  

Polar Bear is a 102-foot super yacht launched earlier this year. She was built by Citadel Yachts, Tacoma, WA. See for further information.

According to, Polar Bear was conceived and built for "an experienced U.S. yachtsman." We have been unable to determine the yachtsman's identity. Our only clue is that Polar Bear is registered in Grand Forks, ND. indicates that Polar Bear is powered by twin 685-hp Caterpillar C-18B diesel engines. She has a range in excess of 5,000 nautical miles. Her generous 28-foot beam accommodates about 3,000 square feet of interior living space.

When her owner and guests desire to leave the boat, Polar Bear offers three options -- a small dinghy, a larger inflatable equipped with a 115-hp Yamaha outboard, and a beautiful Robalo sportfishing boat with a 250-hp Yamaha outboard engine.

We see many nice boats go in and out of Bell Harbor Marina.  But none nicer than this.