Pirates landed at a Railroad Festival

A "handsome" gathering of scalawags and hooligans. Can you tell who is the Captain?

A “handsome” gathering of scalawags and hooligans. Can you tell who is the Captain?

The location was Granite Falls, Washington, hosting their annual Railroad Days, held the first Saturday in October. As we entered the town we noticed an odd vehicle on the side of the road. Somehow it looked like a ship of some kind. Then we saw (and heard) pirates leaving the “ship”, having a great time as they ambled down the sidewalk and entered a bar or grill.

Later the vehicle, an amphibious Duck, drove by us as we were parked on a side street. That was my chance to go see what this bunch of scalawags was all about. I walked with Pirate Steve, aka Fingers, as the raucous crew made their way to the local American Legion bar. Steve told me that this bunch of pirate dressed holligans were in fact the Seattle Seafair Pirates.

The Duck transformed into a rolling and floating street legal scourge of highways and seaways alike.

The Duck transformed into a rolling and floating street legal scourge of highways and seaways alike.

The group traces its history back to 1949. The original bunch began the decades long mission of promoting Seattle and the SEAFAIR celebration. The select group also visits hospitals and nursing homes, as well as civic events such as the Railroad Days in Granite City.

These guys have a ball, speak the language, and are dressed to the hilt. Yes that is a pun on the hilt of a pirate dagger. It takes a year for new members to be signed up for a position on this elite crew. Their civic duty is legendary in the Seattle area. A visit to their website is a journey worth your time.


Fun time at the Everett Sausage Festival

Tonight Sher and I and our daughter and son-in-law went to a neat local festival. The Everett Sausage Festival is a three day fundraiser for Catholic education at the Immaculate Conception/Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Everett, Washington. According to the Festival website this is the 38th year of the festival. There were lots of great vendors selling everything from cooking spices to Alpaca sweaters to hand made jewelry. A full Midway full of rides was also set up .

This is one of those events that is just plain fun. The crowd was mostly locals, most of whom knew each other. The food we had was what you would expect from local concessions. It was great! Hand cut fries served in a tray the size used for a full meal at a Dairy Queen, delicious huge sausage and kraut sandwich, large hot off the grill cheeseburgers filled us all up!

One stage under a tent gave local bands a venue to play. Good music and lots of dancing! Another stage was set up inside a “Beer Garden” that offered different wines. This is a fun festival that is open Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 7.

Haunted Mt Baker Theatre burns a ghost light

Ghost light on center stage at Mt.Baker Theatre

Ghost light on center stage at Mt.Baker Theatre

The historic Mt. Baker Theatre in Bellingham, Washington is supposedly haunted, as most old theaters claim. When we took a tour we saw the ghost light which burns on center stage at all times when there is no production going on. Ghost lights are a tradition among theaters and actors. The lights provide a means to placate ghosts who either want to perform or who want to watch.

The best well known spirit at Mt Baker Theatre is Judy, an amorous young lady. It seems Judy lost her house (or boarding house room, as some say) when the theater was built in 1926-1927. She is reported to be interested in young male projectionists, actors, or ushers. One theater staff member told me Judy is a flirt! Others ghosts who haunt the theater include a well dressed fellow named Geoffrey who appears in either a fancy pin-striped suit or a tuxedo. Another theater staffer said there is a ghost feral cat that haunts and hunts the basement.

We went to a fancy old theater in Bellingham, Washington

1927 photo shared by the Theatre archives

1927 photo shared by administration staff from the Theatre archives

Yesterday we went to Bellingham for what turned out to be a day trip. We had received tickets to a stage show at the Mt. Baker Theatre. We were also told we could have a “private” tour of the theater the afternoon before the play. The tour turned out to be a simple walk through the lobby and the main theater. This really is a magnificent old structure, built in 1926 by the 20th Century Fox group. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The interior was restored in the 1980’s to its original ornate beauty.

That evening we saw the stage play/musical “Little Shop of Horrors” about the evil man eating plant. We had good seats about ten rows back in front of stage right.

Musings about our Whale Watching Cruise

Sometimes you experience something that is so awesome that you wish everybody could do it. And that is what happens to me on the Island Mariner Whale Watch Cruise. There is just something about seeing those big, beautiful whales in their natural habitat coming up out of the water that is emotionally breathtaking. We share this world with some magnificent creatures and getting to see them is an experience I wish everyone in the world could witness. It made me realize how small we are in this big world and just how much there is to explore, how much man knows and how much he doesn’t know.

A most thrilling sight to see!

A most thrilling sight to see!

Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for our trip. We arrived before the 9:30AM time that is recommended and unloaded the things we had packed to take with us, quickly got our tickets and got in line. Wiff, who we found out is the ship Engineer, took down the rope and greeted us as he took our tickets and we walked down the ramp to be greeted by the Captain, Doane Brodie and Katie Anderson, the tour naturalist. The Island Caper is a double deck boat and we chose to sit at a table for four on the main level to start our adventure.

The cruise begins at 10 AM and we arrived back at the dock at about 5:00 PM. It sounds like a long day and it is, but it is a fun-filled day of relaxation and excitement all in one. The crew, who I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Love Boat, were incredible with their help, knowledge and concern for comfort and enjoyment. I’m beginning to sound like an ad for the Island Mariner Cruises and I’m not. I just want to share my experience with those who can’t make this trip and encourage those who can to do it.

The symbol of our nation: a mature bald eagle.

The symbol of our nation: a mature bald eagle.

You are able to move where you want on the boat. You can sit inside at a table with plenty of windows to see out of. You can be on the top deck in the sun, or sitting under the canopy. You can walk around, it is a very comfortable setting. Katie is explaining some of the scenery and pointing out the wild life as travel through the San Juan Islands. At some point, I’m not sure when, where or why, but about 2 hours into the trip you start feeling like family. Our fellow passengers were all doing their own thing, but being friendly and considerate of everyone. I think it was when the bald eagle was spotted in the tree on one of the Islands and Katie pointed it out that everyone wanted to be sure that everybody got to see it. As pictures were snapped the photographer would move out of the way so others could get the same picture. The beauty and wonder of seeing these things takes away any feelings of selfishness: you want everyone to see it all.

When the orca killer whales were spotted everyone moved to the side of the boat where they were seen. It is so exciting to see these big animals out in this huge expanse of open water. You don’t know where they will appear next. People begin pointing and sharing binoculars. Very exciting, very neat and very worth it.

We saw Orca Killer Whales today!

Awaiting our departure from Bellingham, Washington

Awaiting our departure from Bellingham, Washington

Today we had a marvelous day on our whale watching cruise on the Island Caper. The weather was perfect and the eagles and Harbor seals were out sunning themselves in full view.

The cruise led us to parts of the San Juan Islands were orca killer whales from both K pod and L pod were very active. We saw orcas all around the boat.

One group from L pod came within about 20 yards of the port side. This group of adult and immature females was thrilling to watch.

Once again the Island Caper crew showed us an outstanding time during our voyage.

Sher with our daughter as we left the harbor.

Sher with our daughter as we left the harbor.

Females from L pod

Females from L pod

We are off on a whale watching cruise tomorrow

Tomorrow Sher and I and our daughter and son-in-law are going on a whale watching cruise with Island Mariner Cruises, the premium cruise line that ply the waters of the San Juan Islands. The 110′ Island Caper departs from Bellingham, Washington at 10 in the morning.

Island Caper

Island Caper

We are hoping to get a sighting of a new baby orca killer whale. This calf is the first one born to any pod in the San Juan Islands since 2012. Known as individual L120, this calf has been spotted by the Island Caper passengers and crew, according to owner Terry Buzzard.

We finalized our plans today and we can’t wait to see the wildlife and enjoy a day on the Island Caper.

Pumpkin hurling and Medieval jousting

An interesting pairing, hurling pumpkins and Medieval jousting, was presented last weekend at the Snohomish Pumpkin Festival. Pumpkins were hurled by trebuchets and shot from pumpkin cannons. The pumpkins soared through the air for over 420 yards out of the cannon.

Compressed air powered this pumpkin cannon

Compressed air powered this pumpkin cannon

A group called the Seattle Knights also performed. This group of twenty or so men and women in the costumes and armor of the year 1200 put on mock battles. In addition, they had their horses and demonstrated the fine art of jousting.

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Austin and his silver salmon

Today a trip to the Mukilteo Lighthouse park in Mukilteo, Washington gave us the chance to see some beautiful scenery, the Whidbey Island Ferry, and to meet a nice young man with a couple of very nice fish.

Austin's catch of the day

Austin’s catch of the day

Austin Edmison was kind enough to show us the two silver salmon that he had just caught. He had just pulled his boat out of the water and had begun to clean the fish. He explained to me that the name silver salmon is a local term for coho salmon, the real name for the fish. Austin said his catches today weighed in about nine and six pounds. He also shared the news that he is the proud father of an eight week old baby girl! Congratulations to Austin and his family.

Meeting nice people like Austin make our journeys and adventures worth every minute.