Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Day on the Shore of Lake Washington

The first full weekend of August is SeaFair Weekend in Seattle. 

While there are SeaFair events all over the area all summer, this weekend is the culmination, with the boat races on Lake Washington and the air show over it. 

When I say "boats" I mean these boats. 
These are hydroplanes. They fly on/on top of the water. 
These two hydros won't be hitting the water, and neither will those two old people posing with them, but others will.

After finding parking and hiking to a shady spot on the shore of the lake, we set up camp about 11:00. Then we went on a pit tour. Here we got up close to the boats and the people who live the boat racing life. 

These are the small F1 Powerboats, with big outboard motor engines. 
 Pretty paint jobs. 
 Here you see the Powerboat next to the H1 Unlimited hydroplane. 
 Those big boats are powered by helicopter turbine engines and by these seemingly small propellers. 
 I love the name of this racing team. 

 Part of SeaFair is welcoming the US Navy into town. This sailor, a lovely young woman, is getting a special tour. 
 Hydroplane racing is a dying sport. There are only nine big boats racing this year, and many fewer races than there used to be. Many Seattlites remember the old days, and the old boats powered by thunderous piston engines, like this vintage boat from the Hydroplane Museum taking a turn around the lake. 
 But Seattle hangs on to the tradition and makes a big summer party out of it. 

We checked out all of the vendors selling merchandise, chances to win prizes, and food, of course. 
 Meanwhile the air show had begun. This pilot, in his biplane, is amazing. 

 Amazon, a Seattle company, showed off their new Prime Air plane, Boeing built, of course. 

 Large crowds began to gather on the shore in anticipation of the performance of the Navy Blue Angels. 

 And here they come!
 Flying low over the pits. 

 The solo pilot takes his F/A-18 Hornet straight up, spinning as he goes, then rolls over and plunges earthward. 

The solo pilot makes his plane stand almost motionless on its tail.
 The Blue Angels are flying with only five planes this summer, after the crash in June that killed the other solo pilot. They have had to retrain for the five formation. 

 The final salute to Seattle, one of their favorite venues, especially when we give them blue skies. 

 Friday is actually a practice day, and a free day. But the ski racing is for real. 
 Yes, ski racing. I don't know why. I just know that there are water skiers behind those power boats going about a hundred miles an hour, round and round for 15 minutes. 
 Then it's time for the Powerboat racing. Those little guys can really move, and can slalom sharply around the buoy markers. 

 On Friday afternoon the big hydros take to the water to qualify for the big race that takes place Saturday and Sunday. They have to meet a minimum standard of  an average of 130 mph over a 2 mile lap. The fastest qualified at just over 150 mph. 
 That little prop throws up a lot of water - a rooster tail - as the boat skims over the surface. 

 As the boats went back on the trailers, we packed up and worked our way back home. It was a little after 5:00.
 We went out to dinner and were back in our chairs in time for the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics.
We didn't make it all the way through, and still haven't watched the rest of the ceremonies that we set to record before we went to bed.

Since then there has been some Olympic sport or other on any one of three TVs in the house as we go about doing other things. Now that I've finished this post, it's time to go sit in my recliner and pay better attention. I just sort of watched the men's team gymnastics, and I actually really like that event. 


  1. Very interesting. We don't have the water component but do have an air show this week-end. I suppose I the Angels are also doing it. There's been a lot of practicing over our house. I'm always glad when it's over and quiet is restored. We watched the opening ceremonies but weren't particularly impressed. We've been busy all day and haven't had the TV on. We have kept up with it some through other sources. I thought for sure it would give us a few days without Donald but no such luck. Hillary could be campaigning on the moon and the press wouldn't notice. That's probably good.

  2. People put a a tremendous amount into boat racing. Air shows amaze me. I'm afraid I'm gong to pass on the Olympics.

  3. I am watching Olympics with my grandson. When he is not in the pool himself. He has turned into part fish while we have been in Florida.

  4. Spectacular! You do have a terrific camera.

    1. I just used my Canon point and shoot, but it has a great zoom. Cropping and correcting exposure on my desk top computer enhance the quality of the photos too.

  5. Wow, that's a lot of stuff going on there. It looks like you had a great time.

  6. What an exciting day and love the cool shade you enjoyed. Haven't seen hydroplanes in years. I dated a hydroplane driver once and he took me for a ride. I felt like I had been beaten to death and concussed. Those guys are tough.

    1. Patti, you always amaze me. Is there anything you don't know about or haven't done?

  7. fascinating photos of the sky pilots...its quite a big event up there I can tell.

  8. Those Blue Angel pictures are simply stunning! Thank you for sharing them with me, since I didn't go to see them. And those boats! Wow! :-)

  9. A fun Seattle tradition! Growing up in Alaska in the sixties, the only television in town was a closed cable system. Video tapes, recorded in Seattle and sent up via ferry, were played a week late on the single channel. I've fond memories of Jean Enerson, JP Patches, and hearing about Seafair. Seattle seemed like a faraway magical place where there was always something happening. Reading your post brought back sweet memories. Thanks for the post from your not so far away but still pretty magical city!

  10. Thanks for sharing the great photos.
    The boats sure brought back memories of watching the hydro races at Tahoe as a kid. A friend's Chris craft just off shore, was the perfect spot to see all the action.
    Love watching the Blue Angels, always a favorite in a Fly Navy family.

  11. We have our Air Show to look forward to this upcoming weekend. It's forecast to be very hot so we'll see who will go. I'm not a big fan of noise and heat so obviously I won't be attending.

  12. There was a big hydroplane race here this weekend on the river....

  13. just wonderful you captured them so amazingly


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