Transiting the Ballard Locks and arrival in Seattle

Setting sail aboard the Schooner Zodiac for Seattle. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Setting sail aboard the Schooner Zodiac for Seattle. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It had to happen at some point: my last day aboard the gorgeous Schooner Zodiac .

Unlike a regular cruise, where you’re unceremoniously dumped on the pier after breakfast on your last day, our day aboard the Zodiac would last until nearly 3pm as we made our way from Port Townsend across the strait and through the Ballard Locks before arriving at Seattle’s South Lake Union, where this classic, 1924-built Gaff-rigged Schooner would be on display for the Wooden Boat Festival.

The ship was looking mighty fine, as shown in this sparkling shot of the pneumatic speaking tube. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The ship was looking mighty fine, as shown in this sparkling shot of the pneumatic speaking tube. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

I could go on and on about the experience aboard the Zodiac, but the truth is that I’ve sat, first with pen and paper and then in front of a word processor, trying to figure out exactly how to describe my last day onboard. And I can’t seem to do it. After all, how can you adequately describe the smooth, nearly ripple-free seas that greeted us at every turn, or the scorching heat – some of the hottest on record – to ever hit Seattle?  We were roasting away in the sun, sailing along, and having an awesome time.

Calm seas and fantastic weather for sailing! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Calm seas and fantastic weather for sailing! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Other ships circled around us as we approached the Ballard Locks, and our presence drew quite the crowd of onlookers assembled on the lock gates and observation areas. Ditto for our transit of Lake Union, where recreational boaters in sleek fibreglass motorized mega-yachts swooped in off our bow and stern for a better look.

Heading in to Seattle...Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Heading in to Seattle…Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

There’s something very rewarding about seeing skippers of motorboats throttle back and come in for a closer look at a ship built purposely to be sailed. The average man standing on-shore might look out and envy the speedboat owner, but the speedboat owners I saw gazed back at the Zodiac with almost unrestrained lust. You couldn’t hear what they said, but they’d gesture emphatically at the ship, pointing as they did so, and usually turned their heads to shout at their travelling companions, who also stood up and took notice.

...after clearing the Ballard bridge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

…after clearing the Ballard railroad bridge. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Entering the Ballard Locks aboard the stunning Schooner Zodiac. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Entering the Ballard Locks aboard the stunning Schooner Zodiac. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Onlookers on deck and on lock! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Onlookers on deck and on lock! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Other vessels entered the lock along with us...Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Other vessels entered the lock along with us…Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

...and sometimes had to be manually prevented from coming too close! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

…and sometimes had to be manually prevented from coming too close! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Onlookers watch as the lock is filled with water. Note the former Spirit of '98 in the background, in the process of becoming SS Legacy for Un-Cruise. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Onlookers watch as the lock is filled with water. Note the former Spirit of ’98 in the background, in the process of becoming SS Legacy for Un-Cruise. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Zodiac begins to rise in the lock...Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Zodiac begins to rise in the lock…Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

...and eventually completes her transit. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

…and eventually completes her transit. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our journey comes to a close in South Lake Union. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Our journey comes to a close in South Lake Union. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Until next time! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Until next time! Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

The golden age of sail may be behind us, but the grandeur of it is alive and well, held tightly by the dedicated crew of the Schooner Zodiac.

Our Live Voyage Report aboard the Schooner Zodiac has sadly come to a close – but there’s more to come very soon! If you’re interested in the Schooner Zodiac, have a look at their website for their complete list of 2013 multi-day cruises and dinner sails.

 

2 Responses to Schooner Zodiac Brew Cruise Live Voyage Report – Day 4

  1. C in Ballard says:

    Could you please revise one of the captions for the photos to clarify that it is the railroad bridge in Ballard? The photo posted of “the Ballard bridge” is actually the railroad bridge. The first car bridge east of the locks is the one usually referenced as “The Ballard Bridge.” Wouldn’t want a visitor to get the two confused–especially if they’re trying to drive on the Ballard bridge 🙂
    Thanks for posting some information on what is happening to one of the former CruiseWest ships.

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