Sailboats at Sunset

Escaping the Heat and Smoke

Last week we made a quick decision to go North to get away from the 90 degree heat, and the smoke from the wild fires.  We planned to stay three nights, but ended up staying six, as the air quality in Oregon had only gotten worse.  We spent three nights in Port Townsend, then took the ferry to Coupeville on Whidbey Island, for three more nights. 

The first two days in Port Townsend were cool and clear, with gorgeous sunsets.  But the red color was a warning, and the next morning fog and smoke rolled in, making flat light for photos.  We did enjoy exploring Coupeville and Deception Pass State Park, on Whidbey Island.  I have added these photos to my Puget Sound and Boat Photos Galleries. 

Sparrow


Port Townsend Ferries


The old Quincy Street Ferry was in service for about 50 years, before it was replaced in 1982 by the current Washington State Ferry Terminal.  Most of the old structure was removed in 2013, and only the old pilings remain.  Amazing these timbers are still standing after so many years. 

We were unable to get back to Port Townsend from Coupeville, as the morning ferry trips were cancelled due to thick fog.  We ended up driving home to Portland taking the longer route around by Anacortes and Seattle.  There was fog and smoke from Whidbey Island the entire trip home, and the smoke got much worse once we reached the Columbia River valley. 

Quincy Street Ferry Dock Pilings

Wooden Boat Marina

Wooden Boats

The Wooden Boat Festival is usually held the weekend after Labor Day, which was the weekend we visited, but this year it was a virtual event due to Covid.  I always enjoy walking past the small marina next to the Wooden Boat Foundation and Northwest Maritime Center.  It takes someone special to build, restore, and maintain these classic boats.  Lots of patience, sanding and varnish! 

I like the detail shots of the wooden boats, and the very intricate work.  Someday I need to get into the Wooden Boat workshop with my camera.  But that would require planning. 

The NorthWest Maritime Center hosts a rowing club.  It must be fun to get out on the calm waters of the bay in the early morning.   I liked the photo below as her yellow boat is symmetric with the yellow railing on the dock.  Symmetry can often make for a strong composition. 


NorthWest Maritime Center



7am Rowing Club


Whidbey Island

We spent the next three days at Coupeville, a quaint seaside village of 2000 pop.  It was foggy for the week, really a marine layer combined with smoke from the wildfires.  Many boats were anchored in the protected waters along the inside of the island, as there are no container ships here. 

The old pier now has a gift shop, a coffee shop, and a restaurant.  There are galleries, restaurants, and interesting shops along the old town of Coupeville, and some gorgeous views of the water.  On a clear day, you can see Mt Baker. 

The lighting was flat these days due to the heavy fog.  I had to add color and contrast in post processing to get photos I was happy with.  I think I was able to express the mood with dark blues of fog and orange of smoke.  Fire and water. 

Coupeville Wharf

Schooner Suva

Schooner Suva

This 1925 classic wooden boat is available for two hour and longer cruises.  The wood work is beautifully maintained. Sorry to say, I don't have the patience for such meticulous work, but do admire the look of the varnished wood.

The days we visited Coupeville, there was no wind and no visibility.  But its been a weird year.  

The photo below captures the spooky effects of the all day fog, and the quiet of the September weekend during Covid. 


Schooner Suva Website


Smoke and Fog


Deception Pass

There was dense fog and limited visibility, so I was unable to get the classic shot of the Deception Pass Bridge.  But I think this photo of the shore line at the North Beach conveys the mood of the day.  The colors and contrast express the feelings of the scene, dark, overcast, eerie, smokey and foggy, cold and burnt.  

North Beach at Deception Pass State Park

A Spooky Mood

This huge piece of driftwood was on North Beach at Deception Pass.  The roots of a large tree, the trunk appeared broken off, not sawn off.  The tree had character, even a face and arms, which reminded me of "The Scream".  I imagine the driftwood as a sea creature washed ashore.  How many years did this tree grow?  How many years did it drift in the water?  How many years has it been on this beach? 

The original photo was flat and unrevealing.  I added color and contrast in post processing, to create a spooky effect. The sea creature is like a formless octopus, washed ashore, expressing a scream of terror.  



A Sea Creature?

I Choose Love and Kindness

The wild fires, smoke and fog on the entire West Coast are now moving from days into weeks.  There is an eerie mood, like the  post apocalypse.  I think events like this are symbolic in the human psyche, and this is anger and rage, burning itself out, waiting for a rain of kindness. 

We were fortunate and our house was safe.  But many Oregonians have lost everything.  This years fires were much worse than the fires in the Gorge three years ago.  

The Covid pandemic is not a hoax; climate change is not a hoax.  Fires and hurricanes are not a hoax.  It is past time to be serious about Mankind's relationship with Our Mother Earth.  

I am choosing Kindness over Rage; Love over Hate; Hope over Fear; and the Common Good over Greed and Selfishness. 


  • Lori Hart

    on September 22, 2020

    I love your photographs - they are absolutely beautiful. Glad you guys got away from the smoke for an inspiring trip. Thanks so much for doing this blog. And keep choosing kindness, love, hope and the common good!

  • I am choosing Kindness over Rage; Love over Hate; Hope over Fear; and the Common Good over Greed and Selfishness. - Awesome.

    Thanks Robert. This is in-depth and thoughtful. Some of the names along the coast slay me: Cape Disappointment. I had not heard of
    Deception Pass! New one.

    Schooner Suva: What a SHARP incredible shot!

    Love the reflection of SPARROW...beautiful images.

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