As usual, on our quick sunny Sunday tour of Seattle, we armed the teens with cameras so they could capture their own images of the day. Even though he was almost 18, the #1 Son was drawn to all things mechanical. In particular, the working Port of Seattle was an attraction. The Port covers much of the waterfront land and nearby properties including container terminals, general purpose/cargo terminals, foreign trade zone, break-bulk cargo and refrigerated cargo areas, repair facilities and storage warehouses. It is also home to cruise ship docks, marinas for pleasure boats and a day cruise terminal – all in all it is a busy place.
View of Seattle Harbor from Space Needle
We first glimpsed the harbor from high atop the Seattle Space Needle in the morning. Both the sky and the water were a deep blue. To get an up close view of the Port we joined a couple of hundred other tourists on the deck of the Argosy Cruise Line’s 1-hour Harbor Cruise (which we paid for ourselves). As we reported earlier it was very crowded on the outside decks but that didn’t stop us from taking in the views.
Seattle skyline seen from the deck of the Argosy Cruise
The first part of the cruise provided a view of the skyline and the cruise ship docks, but, as we looped around the harbor it was Mt. Rainier that dominated the scene. This 14,000 foot mountain is located 54 miles from Seattle, but it sure felt a whole lot closer. Our tour narrator told us that if the volcanic Mt. Rainier explodes, the mountain’s vast glacial ice deposits would instantly vaporize and the resulting red hot mudflows, known as lahars, could reach all the way to Seattle!
Mt Rainier looms over Port of Seattle
A sizable section of the Harbor is dedicatedto commerical matters such as boat repair and container ship loading cranes. It was a fairly busy the day we were there. We were a little surprised to see a 150 foot Coast Guide icebreaker in for repair.
The Coast Guard icebreak Healy in for repairs at the Port of Seattle
The cranes were pretty impressive too. There were several different types located across four different piers. We got to see the gantry cranes in action unloading a container ship.
Container ship being unloaded at the Port of Seattle
The boat actually came up right alongside the container ship for a birds eye view of the cranes and the containers. They were stacked high enough that we wondered how they stayed on board during rough seas.
Unloading a container ship at the Port of Seattle
Having spent time on the downtown waterfronts of cities like Boston, where the focus is mostly on tourism and pleasure boats, we were surprised to see how close this large working waterfront is to downtown Seattle. If you or your kids (no matter what age) are interested in how the waterfront operates this tour is a good choice.
A ship comes into dock at the end of a Port of Seattle cruise
We included a link to this photo essay in the Delicious Baby Photo Friday roundup where you can find connections to lots of other great family travel photos.