Friday, August 28, 2015

Seattle - Bell Harbour Marina

Bell Harbour Marina is in the heart of downtown Seattle.  It is a relatively small area tucked in behind a cruise ship dock - behind a large breakwater.  
Approaching Bell Harbour Marina (behind the cruise ship) in the "smoke" front from inland forest fires
In the background to the east, the skyscrapers of the city run as far as the eye can see.  In the foreground are five story hotels and condos, bisected by a viaduct that allows traffic to bypass the area.  Right along the waterfront is a quieter road where vehicles have access to all the nooks and crannies.  A little farther along is the Pike Street Market – a huge rabbit warren of shops and stalls of vegetables, flowers, fish, meat, crafts, fortune tellers, etc - so bewildering and packed with people it is hard to orient yourself, let alone take a picture.  

Ka'sala's berth at Bell Harbour - the cruise ship left a couple hours later (Ka'sala lower right)

Bell Harbour Marina
In the distance is an enormous Ferris wheel which generates the most amazing light shows in the evening.  
There was no way I would ride it!
Farther along are the giant cranes that service the ocean going cargo ships and behind them looms the enormous volcano, Mount Ranier.  To the north of the marina, the city becomes more residential and the shore is lined by a beautiful park that runs along the railway.  It boasts bicycle and pedestrian ways that can be followed all the way to Chittenden Locks and for miles beyond.  We are surrounded by the thunder of traffic, building, industry and railways. 

Ka'sala is dwarfed by the city
 There are distinct neighbourhoods where the architecture reflects the culture and the streets are thronged with all manner of people.  I wouldn’t call it a restful place, but there is a lot going on.

These crazy amphibious vehicles were everywhere driven by wild and boisterous men, blaring loud music and filled with pop-eyed tourists.  It was a 90 minute tour that zipped up and down city streets and through Lake Union!

We found these rent-a-bike stations across the city
We figured out pretty quickly the best way to explore this city was by foot.  On our first day we covered most of the downtown core from Bell Town and the Seattle Centre to the north, took the mono rail to the shopping district, wandered through the business area on our way to Chinatown and back through the Pike Street Market.  We visited the amazing outdoor equipment store REI.  There are many attractions to take in and thousands of people seem to be doing it.  For us, it was a gorgeous day – too beautiful to be spent in a museum.

You can see our marina in the centre foreground and get an idea of the area we covered in our walk
On our second day we put our bikes together and headed back to Chittenden Locks on our way back to the bike shop to pick up Doug’s front wheel with the replaced bearings.  
I was somewhat startled to see this sign on this house by the bicycle path... we passed it several times again and each time there was a different type of warning (though no more about Doug!) - an interesting form of personal expression!
We continued on to circumnavigate Lake Union and back through Fisherman’s Terminal where we had a delicious fish and chips lunch before returning along the waterfront back to the marina.

Happy on my bike
Our thoughts are increasingly on our upcoming ocean passage – we are ready, Ka’sala is ready and we are watching the weather patterns on NOAA and Passage Weather carefully. 

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