Ballard Ride – 2/15/2012

No Comments 26 February 2012

Mid-February gave us one nice day between soggy showers.  Velkommen is still in the middle of the remodel that grew:  new water tanks, new battery locations, and batteries, Hurricane hydronic heater relocation and upgrades.  Designing the best layout in a tight little space with an eye toward future service and maximum storage is a good challenge.  The only sane thing to do on a nice non-boating day is take the BMW Dakar out to play.  The original idea was to check out the Ballard Locks and get video of transiting boats.  Good idea.

all images are hyperlinks, click on them for a more expansive view

On a motorcycle ya just gotta go west on NW 85th and down the switchbacks on Golden Gardens Drive.  Near the entrance to Golden Gardens my curiosity meter hit red line.  What is it?  Of course it’s yellow so it’s gotta be a Yellow Submarine. Right?

It is a Seaglider.  Trina is a marine chemist with the UW Fisheries and Sean McPeak is an electrical engineer with the UW Applied Physics Lab. What great luck to meet two marine scientists and learn about their research.  One of their research tools is the Seaglider.  OK, so where is the propeller?  Surprizingly, there is no propeller; it’s a bouyancy drive.  Not particularly fast at 1 to 1.5 kts,  it can run for a long time and accomodate an interesting array of sensors.  Temperature, depth, salinity, disolved oxygen or even acoustical sensors to listen to the whales or the Sirens or perhaps………Red October.

The technology is fascinating. Far beyond what I expected, and it is showcased on the Applied Physics Seaglider website. The animations are great.  At first I thought the pointy end was the nose, but it is the antenna on the tail of the craft and it allows data to be transmitted and received via satelite.  The fins are not attached in the above photos.  It only weighs about 100 lbs but it can dive to over 3,000 ft.  BIG Thanks to Trina and Sean for being so personable and taking the time to to talk to a total stranger on a motorcycle.  This stuff was science fiction when I was their age.  Hats off to the UW, too.  It makes me dang proud to see my alma mater on the cutting edge of marine science.

I didn’t want to leave Trina and Sean and their cool toys, but I didn’t want to be a total pest, either. So I jumped on the Dakar and motored over to the Ballard Locks, expecting to find a few boats moving through.

My theory about capturing some video of boats in the locks just didn’t hold water. I wandered around on the locks for over an hour and every boat in the area was having a nice afternoon nap. But what really stood out was the architecture. That kind of attention to detail is so rare these days…probably we can’t afford it…..but it is really exquisite, nonetheless. In winter the gardens are mostly in hibernation except for a couple of dogwoods and a rhody, but in a month or two or three the grounds will be showing off all their finery. Only a few acres, but a splendid oasis in the middle of a growing city. And so worth visiting.

A visit to the Ballard Locks demands a pint at the deadliest bar (and cafe), the LockspotMaritime Pacific’s Old Seattle Lager this time…..Mmmmm.  refreshing.  And then a visit to big ol’ Leif Erikson, just standing around over at Shilshole.  Keeping an eye on a long list of Scandinavian emigrants.  It’s nice to see so many of the names written down, even it they were….just passin’ through.

All maritime motorcycle stories have an ending. And what finer ending than a couple of pounds of fresh ling cod along with some big gulf prawns from the Fresh Fish Company near 24th Ave NW and NW 80th,  right next door to Larsen’s Danish Bakery. Larsen’s is incomparable, but, sadly, not on my diet. This time I was gnarly and strong. I resisted the force. Too often I’m weak…. The Fresh Fish Co. fits my diet much better, just a bit of olive oil and lemon. Easy on the Panco and peanut oil.

Books, Velkommen

Deep-Sea Detectives…..marine mysteries and forensic science

No Comments 20 February 2012

Peter Limberg is a good storyteller. Deep-Sea Dectctives looks at the sinkings of a number of vessels and the methods used to discover the cause.  Some of the stories I was familiar with but many of them were new to me.  The writing style is a pleasure, just as if Peter were sitting in the living room telling the story.   Especially nice is the way the facts are presented, with the value judgements left to the reader.  Often there are multiple causes:   a storm, a rogue wave, an error in judgement, lack of maintenance.  Maybe insurance fraud or just plain bad luck.  Some will forever remain mysterious.  The technology used for underwater forensics is changing rapidly in favor of remote controlled unmanned submersibles.  But even the finest technology is often no match for the sea.

Read the book.  You will enjoy every page if you are intrigued by the depths.  The indie bookstores have it for bargain prices.  Buy two and surprise a friend.

Books, Gulf Islands

Sitting on a Salt Spring

No Comments 08 February 2012

Sitting on a Salt Spring is book three in David Conover’s trilogy. His easy going romantic-comedy style moves forward a few years. Now his young son has entered the picture and since a daily boat trip across the Trincomali Channel to meet the school bus is impractical the family moves to Salt Spring Island for the school year.   Salt Spring Island is a social carnival compared to Wallace Island’s isolation.  The island’s characters are great material for good fun and misadventures.  You can think “Leave it to Beaver”, “Dennis the Menace” and “I Love Lucy” for a mental picture of Sitting on a Salt Spring.  It is wonderful light reading with a local touch.  Read it.  Read it to your kids or grandkids.  You can easily find it in the indie bookstores.  Amazon should have a list of candidates.  The smaller bookstores are really the most fun.



Books, Galley, Velkommen

Girl Hunter – revolutionalizing the way we eat, one hunt at a time

No Comments 05 February 2012

….Girl Hunter should win a National Book Award. Vegans, vegitarians, beware….you are mere adolescents. This is adult stuff. Meat with no excuses. Read it… enthralled.

Girl Hunter: instantly the neurons flash — cool-stud-out-cruisin’-on-a-hot-summer……whoa!! There’s a picture of a girl with a shotgun and a skillet on the cover. That nano-second disconnect is the first clue. This book is wicked good! Beautiful writing, fabulous recipes and very unique perspective on hunting and eating and……….on life. This is a book that your hunting buddy will enjoy and his wife will enjoy even more. My recommendation: order several copies. By the time you have finished a few chapters you will want your friends to be reading this one, too.

Sometimes a book comes along that is so good I just have to blog on it, even though it does not have a maritime bias. So read it on your boat or just put on your watch cap and reading glasses. Georgia Pellegrini has moved the conversation to the next level.

Fascinating trip. Welsley College, Investment Banker, Lehmann Bros. – boring or perhaps she saw the writing on the wall. Food is good – French Culinary Institute. Restaurants in France and New York. So if you want the finest vegtables you grow them, but if you want the finest meats they won’t come from the organic garden. They are found in a more rugged backyard and must be harvested and prepared on a more personal level, one on one. Grab the Over-and-Under.

Eleven delicious chapters with prose so compact and rich you can taste the tenderloin. This book is a great read just for the eloquence and imagery, not to mention the uncommon theme and rare perspective. And the recipes……Mmmmmm!!

I recieved generous permission to include two of Georgia’s recipes. Click on the thumbnail for the recipe as a pdf.

Buttermilk Fried Rabbit

Moroccan Elk Stew

From the book Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2011.
Keep in mind these recipes work well for free-range game from the supermarket, too.

Be sure to check out Georgia’s web site: and her saucy YouTube vid. I hope she visits the Pacific NorthWet and gives us a Seafood Sequel.

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