Locks & Bridges: A Seattle reunion

Four years ago this month we sailed Estrellita out of Lake Union for parts North.


For those not familiar with Seattle geography, the city is bordered by both saltwater and freshwater. The Puget Sound (the big dip in the state of WA) is saltwater and tidal, but there is a cut connecting the Puget Sound to Lake Union (centered in the Waggoner 2007 map below) and beyond Lake Union to Lake Washington. To get into Lake Union you have to pass through 4 bridges, 3 of which are too short for our mast and must be opened for us to transit. You also pass through one set of locks which control the water level in the lake and separate the fresh and salt water.


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After one bridge, we entered the small locks (there are two) side by side, and it was full of boats. Rather than tying to the wall we had to squeeze into a spot not much wider than our boat and tie to another boat (see boat on our left in first photo). While the locks fill and empty there is a bit of turbulence and jostling and then we had to squeeze out of the locks going first without crushing ourselves into the wall or the other boat. Our stanchion and his rub rail brushed against each other with no damage (whew). I’m on the foredeck and Carol is driving.



After the locks we passed through 2 more draw bridges and one “tall enough” bridge into Lake Union but we were heading to the fancy schmancy Seattle Yacht Club and so we continued on through another tall bridge (I-5) and another draw bridge into Portage Bay. We posted the video yesterday but this is what it looks like from the helm to aim your mast at the gap in the draw bridge.



Leaving the SYC for a cold weather NYE viewing of the fireworks at the Space Needle:


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