Sunday, June 16, 2013

Seattle Waterfront

Saturday afternoon (a couple of weeks ago), the weather was nice and I felt it was time to clean the spiders out of the cockpit and take the yellow boat for a ride.  I launched at Smith Cove, did a wide circle around the cruise ships at Pier 90-91, and worked my way down the shoreline to the central waterfront.  I guess I got as far as Ivar's before I turned around, deciding that I didn't want to compete with multiple ferries going in and out of Colman Dock.  I paddled into the Sculpture Park beach, making sure to stay out of range of toddlers throwing pebbles, explored the inner portions of Bell Harbor marina, paddled under the Great Wheel, and waved back to the kids on their balconies on the Norwegian Jewel.

It was a strange feeling.  A busy Saturday on the Seattle waterfront, with crowds and big boats, yet I felt sort of on my own, and sort of small, 100 yards offshore in my little boat.

I'm not sure why the harbor patrol couldn't have politely asked me with their bullhorn to take a wider loop around the Westerdam, or maybe simply allowed me to continue on my path, which was well away from the ships. But instead, they gunned their engines and made a short charge and then tried to herd me farther offshore.  It wasn't even clear what they wanted at first. It looked like they were playing around, in a bored, testeosterone-charged, we got a big boat, let's see if we can scare this kayaker sort of way.  They would have been more effective if they'd simply asked, but I suppose that wouldn't have been as fun (for them).  I was perfectly willing to comply, although the idea of moving too far offshore in a small boat, in very cold water, with an overpowered police boat throwing a sharp wake in my direction, made me nervous.  I guess this is why in so many situations otherwise sympathetic people start to wonder whose side the cops are on!  Sorry about the rant - but I was pissed.