Saturday remained a watercraft day. Went out twice more, first time down to the harbor to check on the loading of Astoria Bay. There was more simultaneous activity than I've ever seen at one of the logships, two loaders taking logs off two trucks at a time, seven or eight trucks lined up at once waiting to drive out onto the pier. Brakes puffing, engines rumbling, each truck hitting its horn when it is in position and all brakes set, ready to have its load lifted away.
The whole process is mesmerizingly tangible, like watching a giant set of gears in some steampunk fantasy, and I love to watch it. The end result, of course, is that a couple of days later, a whole forest sails away to China.
Back home for a couple of hours, I kept my eye on the clock, and on the shiptracker websites, and when the evening's flock of cruise ships rounded Point Wilson, at Port Townsend, I went down to Ediz Hook (map) to wait for them to pass by on their way to Alaska. It is a reliable entertainment for summer weekend evenings; every Friday Saturday and Sunday, these ships bigger than all downtown leave Seattle at 4PM, come in close to the Hook around 7:30 PM, one two three, so the pilot boat can go out to pick up the pilots who brought the ships out of Puget Sound; and away they sail for Alaska. In a week they'll be back, and do it again. May through September, over and over.
But I was early, Westerdam, Jewel and Star were not yet in view, and there was a whole lot of action on the small boat docks inside the Hook. These were the guys whose boats were not sitting around in the alley a few hours ago. Mostly they hadn't caught anything. One man said his son had caught a small halibut. One after another they hauled up the ramp and headed for town.
I waited a while. Other shipwatchers came and went. There were two tankers and an empty log ship anchored inside the harbor. There were freighters and tankers on the move on the Strait.
It got blue out.
The pilot boat Juan de Fuca, pulled out from the pilot station
and ran around furiously out on the Strait. Took pilots off two outbound ships, a freighter and a tanker. Came back in, dropped off those guys, went out again. Put pilots on two inbound ships, a container ship and a tanker; then, finally, rendezvoused with Holland-America Westerdam, Norwegian Jewel, and Star Princess, one after the other, to bring in their pilots.