Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunny Seattle - Day 2 (Evening) - Sunset Cruise!!

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

I decided to dedicate a whole post to what became our FAVORITE part of our trip to Seattle (Warning! Lots of pictures ahead!).

After returning from Snoqualmie Falls and another drive around the greater Seattle area, we stopped at the room for a quick rest before walking to the Argosy Cruise  dock to board our ship for our 2 hour Locks Sunset Cruise.

Since we got to the Pier a bit early, we decided to hit up Elliott's Oyster House for Happy Hour. Might I say, they have an AWESOME happy hour. We ate these delicious tequila lime mussels, as well as tried a couple of different oyster types. I drank white wine, while The Hubs tried an assortment of drinks, including a Bloody Mary which he DID NOT like! The whole bill didn't total more than $40 which was AWESOME for the amount we ate AND drank!

We boarded our narrated cruise at 6pm with blue skies and blue water around use. As we pulled away from port and into Elliott Bay, we were able to take pictures of the AMAZING Seattle skyline. I know it doesn't always look like this (with the crazy amounts of cloudy/rainy days Seattle has), but we were lucky enough to experience this gorgeous weather every day on our trip!

Here's the skyline looking at the south side of Seattle.

And another, albeit a little farther out, looking at the north side. You can see the Space Needle at just a little left of center. It looks so small and not quite as spectacular as some of the other building in the skyline, but it's a Seattle landmark so I had to make sure it made it in one of my skyline pictures!

We cruised around Elliott Bay and headed for Puget Sound as the sun began setting in the sky. I was able to take a montage of some images of the sun actually setting. It was a gorgeous sight that reminded me of our Honeymoon Cruise to Mexico and the many beautiful sunsets we saw there!


The sun finally disappeared as we arrived in Puget Sound. There we were able to see Ray's Boathouse, where we had our first dinner in Seattle, from a different perspective. 


We then looped around and began to make our way toward Lake Union. Here's a picture I snapped looking back into Puget Sound. Aren't the colors amazing??? It's like a postcard!

Seattle has TONS of bridges (obviously) with all of the lakes and bays in the area. We were able to pass under this draw bridge without a problem (although it was a close fit), but a boat behind us required it to be lifted. You can see two kayakers also enjoying this beautiful evening on the water.

Now for the reason this tour is called the Locks cruise (which we had NO idea about at the time of booking). The Ballard Locks provides a link between the salty Puget Sound and the fresh water of Lake Union. Since the two bodies of water are at different levels, the boats are moved into a container area.  The image below shows our "cruise" ship in the area, with the big doors closing us in.

Then the US Army Core of Engineers (who maintains and runs the locks) pumps water into the contained area raising our boat up like 10 feet. It was SO cool! Here is us at our new elevation, making our way into Lake Union.

The other really cool thing about the locks, is that it is on the route that the salmon take to get from Alaska to their breeding grounds. To aid in their ability to navigate the locks, a fish ladder was created for the salmon to easily move from the salty Sound to the fresh Lake Union. They swim against the current and jump from one rung of the "ladder" to the next. Since we were visiting during the salmon migration, we had the opportunity to see quite a few salmon jumping out of the water. When we went back to visit the Locks, we also went to the visitor center where they have windows at the water level so you can see the salmon swimming in the ladder.

The sun finally set and darkness fell and all images that I began taking didn't turn out as well as I would have hoped. Some highlights from this part of the tour were seeing one of the Deadliest Catch boats, The Wizard, docked for the season, as well as the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat (I really need to watch that move again soon!). It was hard to see the houseboat since it was dark out, but you could identify it by the cute twinkle lights decorating the outside. Here are some images I found online to jog your memory of what they look like.

Image Source: Discovery Channel
Image Source: Brian Teutsch

 We made it back to port to amazing view of Seattle at night, although the pictures I took while on the cruise didn't turn out great. I took some better ones of the nighttime skyline from the top of the Space Needle, which I'll share tomorrow!

** Need to catch up on our trip to Sunny Seattle??**

Sunny Seattle - Day 1 - Pioneer Square
Sunny Seattle - Day 2 - Boeing and Snoqualmie Falls

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