Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sapphire Princess Departure

Just before leaving the office tonight, I checked to see if there was any activity at Pier 1 in Astoria.  I’m learning some tricks there… if you click on a vessel and then click “show track”, you can get a reasonable representation of the ship’s movement.  Sure enough, just as I looked in on it, it had begun to swing away from its mooring point. 

Being a couple of miles downriver at that point, it seemed the perfect time to head out and photograph it.

I chose the west end of the Hammond mooring basin mostly because I hadn’t done it before.  When I arrived, it was clear that lots of other folks HAD done it before.  The parking area closest to the river was clotted with cars.

The pilot vessels Chinook and Columbia are homeported just a hundred yards or so from where I parked, and their masts were clearly visible as I pulled up.  It’s been my luck to find these sleek boats idle at the dock every time I’ve been here.  I didn’t expect anything different today, even though I’ve seen and photographed the Chinook in river-pilot waters.

Today was different, though.  As I was changing lenses in the car, I saw the Chinook dart out of the basin’s mouth and head upstream.  It just disappeared around the earthworks, but I (rightly) assumed that it would be back soon.

It charged back downriver, ChinookAndBridges

but then made a sudden course change and headed back toward the boat basin.


Within a few minutes, the Columbia raced out of the basin’s entrance, ahead of the cruise ship.


I have no idea what the story was… the queen bee being replaced by the junior boat seemed odd, but since I was able to capture both, I’m not complaining!

Eventually, the cruise ship made her way past my vantage point on her way past the bar.


All photos 70-300mm “G” zoom, ISO 100, shutter speeds vary, crops vary (slightly). f/8

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