Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Snaps

As time rolls by we find ourselves confronted with the question: What are we going to put on the blog? Something from the postcard collection? Vintage travel memorabilia? Or, perhaps other things that interest us will provide some offerings. So, here's an assortment of images captured earlier this month ...

Our local icon, the Space Needle, with flag at half staff, evoked unsettling memories on September 11th ...
Space Needle on 9-11-2016 2:46 PM 
In the northern hemisphere bloggers are going to be posting lots of photos of the colorful changes in the trees as we move into the Fall season. We're no exception. Mid-month we noticed this tree, a Japanese Maple, leaves at the ends of the top branches turning red ... such a contrast with the blue, blue sky ...
Japanese Maple turning red
September 13th  2:10 PM
More recently, we snapped the pic below. Have you ever tried to capture that look of the sun shining through the colorful leaves? It isn't so easy, and we don't claim to have done it here. But maybe a little bit ...
September 21st  2:24 PM
Skies are a continuous fascination. Sometimes the haze, clouds, and sun combine to create dramatic views of the mountains ...
Olympic Mountains
September 10th  6:58 PM
Mostly clear sky, except for one patch of clouds, right after sunset ...
Clouds after sunset
September 20th  7:12 PM
Crescent moon dropping down in the sky shortly after sunset ...
Crescent Moon
September 4th  8:20 PM
West Seattle is about 2 miles away in this view from our deck ...
Alki Beach at dusk
West Seattle
September 4th  8:25
Sunsets! We can't resist them ...
Sunset over Elliott Bay Marina
September 21st  8:23 PM
We like the layers of mountains in this one ... waterfront, foot hills, Olympics in the distance ...
Clouds and Mountains at sunset
September 14th  7:49 PM
More recent sunsets. The sun is setting almost due west, these days, and sometimes creates a nice silhouette of mountain tops ...
Olympics at Sunset
September 25th  7:24 PM
The next evening, we were part of the one hundred million or so watching the debate on the 26th, and honestly, it was not hard at all to leave it behind and step out on the deck to snap a few sunset pictures. It changed a lot as time passed, but we liked the shot below where some clouds were just at the right height to make interesting reflections ...
Olympics at Sunset
September 26th  7:03 PM
The mountain peaks on the right side are the Two Brothers, in the Olympic Range ... we've featured them in previous posts ...
Olympics at Sunset
September 27th  7:08 PM
Below, night and day ... First, night: Not really "sharp" but this image does convey a bit of the feeling ... Full Harvest Moon, a couple hours before moonset, a nice moonlight glow on Puget Sound ...
Full Harvest Moon
September 16th  5:25 PM
And day: Clouds seem to confirm the changes as we move into Fall ...
Whispy clouds.
September 25th  12:50 PM
[Click on images for larger view.]
One last "sky" photo ... A singular cumulonimbus cloud way over the Sound to the south ... the surrounding sky was mostly clear, making this seem so unusual ...
September 21  7:04 PM
Our regular followers will know we simply can't resist snapping the flowers that catch our attention on our walks.
Black Eyed Susans
September 4th  1:35 PM
These things looked so colorful, but we didn't know exactly WHAT they were. So, we put this image into Google Images search field, hit the SEARCH button, and immediately discovered they are rose hips. Have you ever searched by image on Google?
Rose hips
September 6th  2:40 PM
Another flower we had to put into Google to ID. This time our photo yielded a long, long page of blue flowers but none looked exactly like ours. So, we tried using the "web" search, instead of "images", and put in "blue flower petals have 5 points" and bingo! Chicory and even the scientific name! We like it!
Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
September 6th  2:59 PM
Had to throw this one in ... can you image a human trying to construct this web? That little spider does it with perfection.
Wide Web
September 10th  10:53 AM
We like to include a few maritime snaps for friends who enjoy them ...

With the shorter days of September, cruise ships, which usually arrive around 5:30 AM, have been arriving in the dark. In the photo below, you see a Washington State Ferry on the left and a cruise ship arriving on the right. The Ferry plies between Seattle and Bainbridge Island to the west, and is probably its first run of the morning. The cruise ship is the Norwegian Pearl ...
September 18th  5:36 PM

In the image below, the colors of the trees around the Marina signal Fall. Besides some pleasure craft, you see an Alaska Maritime tug and barge. The barges are usually loaded up with containers transporting goods to and from Seattle and Alaskan ports. We have to wonder what it's like to be in that tug for several days moving along at about 7 knots. Seven knots is about eight miles per hour.
September 22nd  12:13 PM
Close up of Holland America's Zaandam after it arrived at the Cruise Terminal. All of Holland America's ships' names end with "dam" ... we could explain it here but it would take a while. Google it if you are curious. :-)
September 26th  5:25 AM
 Sailboat out on the Sound in mid-afternoon ... millions of sparkles on the water ...


Curiosity frequently leads to grabbing the camera. Mid afternoon on the 27th we spotted the ship below heading northbound in the Sound. Pulled up VesselFinder.com and noted the identity as "U S Government Vessel".  Ok, well, which one? :-) Yes, we realize keeping the identity and location of military ships restricted might be important. However, recalling media accounts of an aircraft carrier arriving at Bremerton over a month ago, looked it up, and found this quote on Wiki: "The USS Stennis departed Bremerton at about 4:30 September 27, 2016, heading toward Seattle." So, there you go ... it's CVN 74, USS John C. Stennis, enroute somewhere ...  Now, keep in mind the ship is about 4 miles away from us ... looks small, doesn't it ... Overall length of deck: 1,092 feet (332.8 m) ... by the way, CV is the designation for all aircraft carriers, and the suffix N indicates that it is nuclear powered ...

Now, as for old postcards, here is one we almost forgot about ... We wanted to include it on the last day of summer ... well, it hasn't been that long ago, so here it is. Old fashioned sweetness. How do you like it?
"Last Day of Summer"
Copyright 1905
The Ullman Mfg. Co., N. Y.
Back of the unused card.
Lastly, something different (for John's Island, at least) ... You know, some folks like to travel all the time. We enjoy traveling once in a while, but we sure don't need it all the time. We recently found the little poem below and enjoyed it so much we thought we should share it with you!

Billy Collins, an American poet, former Poet Laureate of the United States, wrote this poem he calls Consolation.

Consolation

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hope you've had a fine September and we'll see you in October. Thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's Fall Again

From John's old postcard collection ...





Today's old postcard is one of a series of images copyrighted by S S Porter in 1906, featuring the change of seasons. The Autumn season begins today, September 22nd, at 7:21 AM PDT. The message we added to the back is all virtual, the card itself is still unused. We have featured this card on previous Autumnal equinoxes. The more things change, the more they stay the same, as someone once said.

All you want to know, and perhaps more, about the September Equinox, thanks to timeanddate.com is here. Enjoy!

Wishing you and yours a fine Fall season.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Westerdam to Glacier Bay 2016

On Saturday, August 27th, we took a cab for the short ride from home to Seattle's Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 to board Holland America's Westerdam. The highlight of the trip was to see the glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Here are a few photos from our journey (except the first one which we snapped a couple of weeks earlier).

Holland America's Westerdam
arriving Seattle early morning, August 13th
This is the ship we're taking to see the glaciers.

Lots of happy cruisers waiting to "embark" ... fancy word for
board the ship.  August 27th, 2016.

John relaxing on deck. The ship prints a little daily news
provided by the New York Times.

Approaching the glacier area.

Rangers from Glacier Bay National Park preparing to board
our ship. The Rangers go the extra mile(s) to greet their visitors!
There are no roads to or in this National Park!

A few brave soles out on deck as we arrive in Glacier Bay.
It is quite chilly and a bit windy to boot.

A National Park Ranger tells us what to expect from our visit.

The day is cloudy but the Ranger says the visibility is excellent and
we are lucky as there are some days with fog.

Starting to see the glaciers up on the mountain tops.

"Framed" view.

Retreating glacier.

We are headed to Margarie Glacier. It's just to the right of
center in this photo.

Folks gather on decks to start taking a million photos.
We are doing the same. Someone called us a
"clicker nut".

Here we are at Margarie Glacier. This is the goal. We will stay
here for about 45 minutes. Plenty of time for photos and reflection.
This is a pano put together from several shots.
Height of ice from water to top about 250 feet.

Closer look

Another close up
A screen capture from Google Earth to show you
the SCALE of things here. The cruise ship that happens
to be in the image could just as well have been ours.


Another glacier in retreat.

A different "tidewater" glacier near Margarie.

We are amazed at the solid rock wall carved by ice.

This glacier had experienced a land-slide on it's right side.

Leaving Glacier Bay.

As we leave most folks are inside enjoying a hot chocolate or
other refreshing beverage. :-)

Later in the afternoon the skies cleared a bit.
Needless to say, when the sky clears up here it is as blue as can be!

Last look back at the mountains on this day.

It looked like a great sunset in the works.

Classic "at sea" sunset!
Read more about Margarie Glacier here. Thanks for going along with us on the trip. We will cover some additional highlights in future posts.