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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Full speed ahead, Mr. Boatswain, full speed ahead

Washington may be my state of legal residence, but my connections to the Pacific Northwest don't run very deep. I grew up in California, and my parents only moved to Bremerton after my father retired, while I was living in Tōkyō 東京. My sister relocated to the region several years later, but I haven't spent much time here, for the most part just making annual visits to see the family during the time I was living and working in east Asia. However, thanks to Facebook, I've been able to reconnect with several old friends from my college days, some of whom now live in this part of the country. Which is why last Sunday I was able to meet up with Lisa and Rob, two friends from UC Davis whom I hadn't seen in the flesh since the mid-Nineties. We got together for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood, one of those once-gritty areas that has been gentrified by hipsters and is now a pleasant place in which to spend time. As Lisa put it, it wasn't at all like 21 years had passed, with the only difference being that we now had little people accompanying us (my daughter Amber and their son Matt, whom I had the pleasure to meet for the first time). 

My wife took this photo of the group posing in front of the controversial bronze sculpture of Lenin, a reminder that soon I'll have to try and wrap my aging brain around the Russian language:

Another local attraction is the Fremont Troll. And I only just now learned from the Wikipedia article that the troll is clutching an actual VW Beetle:

Waiting for the Interurban is also a Fremont institution, with Amber being my contribution:

Rob was the first to notice the reference to Invasion of the Bodysnatchers:

While we were in the area, the Fremont Bridge was raised to allow a yacht to pass under. Life is harsh in this part of Seattle:

Looking toward Lake Union and the George Washington Memorial Bridge (part of Highway 99) from the Fremont Bridge (after the yacht had passed, obviously). It was a gorgeous afternoon:

For the trip home, our GPS directed us to Fauntleroy in West Seattle, where we took the ferry to Southworth via Vashon Island. It took longer (and cost more) than using the freeway for the trip back to Bremerton, but we were treated to good views of Mt. Rainier in the distance:

I hope it won't be as long as 21 years the next time I meet Lisa and Rob.

Yesterday being yet another in a long series of sunny, warm days, it was too nice to stay home. Nearby Keyport (population 550) is home to a navy facility where torpedoes are tested. The base is off-limits, but just outside its front gate is the Naval Undersea Museum, with exhibits on the ocean environment, undersea warfare, submarines and diving. Free of charge to enter, it proved to be an fascinating way to spend a couple of hours on a weekday afternoon. There were enough hands-on activities to keep my daughter entertained, and even my wife, who wasn't looking forward to this excursion, found it interesting enough to deem it..."interesting".

Here is the recording of the conversation which she found so hilarious: 

The girls look at some World War II-era torpedoes:

An example of a manned suicide torpedo called a kaiten 回天, used by the Japanese navy in the latter stages of the war: 

Checking for enemy shipping...and zeroing in on our car in the parking lot:

The development of diving suits:

Amber is dwarfed by the Trieste II, the successor to the Trieste, the bathyscaphe which holds the record for the deepest dive in the ocean - 10,911 meters (35,797 ft) to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Trieste II didn't reach those depths, but was noted for its role in recovering pieces of damaged from the doomed submarine Thresher:

Stopping to take in the view of the Port Washington Narrows by the Manette Bridge on the way home:


  1. It was such a pleasure to see you and meet Pamela and the famous model Amber! Let's do it again soon...our turn to venture to Bremerton. Where do you stay when you're there?

    1. We're renting an apartment about a ten-minute walk up the road form the ferry terminal.