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Friday, August 1, 2014

Seafair Weekend

August has arrived.  That means Seafair in Seattle.  Last weekend there was the Torchlight Parade downtown. This weekend it's the Seafair Cup Hydroplane Races and Airshow on Lake Washington.

The arrival of August also signals to me that the big projects are done and it's time to go into vacation mode.  It's the Dog Days of Summer, and a certain amount of laziness is required.

Today Tom and I sat for many hours in the shade on the shore of Lake Washington.  We honored the Dog Days and the Seafair tradition.

While the actual racing will be held Saturday and Sunday, the air show goes on in practice sessions and the big boats get out on the water to qualify on Friday.  Saturday and Sunday you pay admission.  Friday is free.

We went to breakfast as usual first this morning, and then we grabbed chairs and a small lunch, cameras and electronic readers and iPhones, parked at the airport where we got a special rate and took the light rail to Columbia City Station where we caught a free shuttle bus to Lake Washington.

There were already many people lining the shore, lots of families with kids, mostly to see the Blue Angels part of the air show.  We found a spot in the shade with a view of the hydroplane pits and settled in.
 First up was the Patriot Jet Team.

 Then the Marines arrived! This helicopter deposited a raft and men into the water.


 The men collected themselves into the raft. What they did then I don't know.
 My attention was drawn by the Harrier, and vertical take off, hover and landing airplane that can fly too.
 After hovering at a standstill it went almost straight up before flying off. Very powerful, and very cool.
 More helicopters arrived, with Mt Baker in the background.



 And a refueling tanker.
 And remember those guys in the raft?  They got a lift home!
 Then the Osprey arrived.  They can do vertical take off and landing and hovering too with props that change position.
 Everyone on the packed shore was enjoying the show.



 Just about the time the thunder storms were moving in, the Blue Angels arrived.













 These amazing aerobatics are accompanied by the most powerful roar of engines and afterburners.  I love the noise of that power most of all.


 After the Blue Angels show, the squall line of clouds had moved in, there was a bit of rain, and the wind came up and raised white caps on the lake.  Many of the watchers packed up and left.
We went to check out the exhibits and find ice cream.  Those Marines had put on quite a show earlier, and even their band was awesome.
Back on the lake several vintage hydros took some laps.  Seattle folks will remember the Atlas Van Lines, Bill Muncie's "Blue Blaster",

 driven today by Chip Hanauer to honor his mentor, Muncie, who died driving this boat,
 and the stiff competition of Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser. The Bud took some good laps but came home in a cloud of smoke, not a good sign for these old piston boats.


 After the lake settled down it was finally time for the current competition to run their qualifying laps.  To qualify for the race they have to average 130 MPH over three laps.

 These boats, with their helicopter turbine engines, are not as loud as the old piston thunder boats, but the water they throw up in their rooster tails is just as impressive.


 The beach was pretty empty by the time we left at 5:00.
 It was safe for the ducks again. But it will all happen again Saturday and Sunday.

I'll stay home and watch the race on TV, but my kids and grandkids will be on the shore. It's a Seattle tradition.

8 comments:

  1. I love your pictures! Taken, I'm assuming, with your new Canon. The telephoto shots are simply awesome. Okay, I'm sold! Love those Blue Angel pictures the most. We didn't get any of that rain yesterday, we could have used a little. :-)

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  2. Thanks for sharing your pictures of SeaFair! We've never gone to it (we've only been living here for 5 years, though). It looks like fun, and sitting by the water on these hot afternoons must be cooling.

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  3. There is nothing I enjoy more than an air show! Your pictures gave me goosebumps. What another beautiful place. My son-in-law recently retired from the Air Force. He was an F15 Fighter Pilot. I went with them to an air show at Seymore Johnson AFB. It was breathtaking! I always enjoy your posts.

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  4. Airshows are always exciting and amazing.

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  5. what a fun tradition. We just had the blue angels here and heard them over our house. August is a welcome relief that summer has an end eventually. Even our tomatoes are ripening!

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  6. Impressive collection of pictures--quite different from your flowers.

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  7. Being Air Force Retired we have been to many an air show and all of them are breathtaking. One time we lived so close to the Air Base that while mowing our lawn I had a perfect seat to see it all:)

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