ON THE WATERFRONT WITH DAVID G. SELLARS: What are those pontoons for?
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
These three pontoons, shown at the Port Angeles Boatyard, will be the basis for a platform to be used in Brinnon.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
Jamie Marie, an 80-foot steel commercial fishing vessel, is shown on the hard at Platypus Marine.
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David G. Sellars/for Peninsula Daily News
This motorized lifeboat from the Coast Guard's Quillayute River station in LaPush, is hauled out of the water for maintenance in Port Angeles.

By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist

A LONG-HAUL TRUCKING company from Florida brought an unusual looking cargo to the Port Angeles Boatyard on Monday.

The company, Evora Express, drove in with three fiberglass pontoons that needed to be offloaded.

During the course of the day, Dan “Commander” Schmid used the yard's Marine TraveLift to hoist the pontoons off the truck and stow them in the large building on site.

They'll remain in the building for the next month or so while Lisa Britton, one of the tradespeople who works in the boatyard, builds a plywood platform over the top of the 53-foot-long pontoons.

Lisa said once she has the platform built, she will seal it with epoxy upon which a nonskid medium will be applied.

By now, you have to be wondering why such a platform.

It will be used as a work station at a shellfish hatchery in Brinnon.

I understand that it will be powered by a couple of outboard motors capable of reaching up to speeds of 40 knots.

Quick sleuth work

I stopped at the Port Angeles Harbormaster's Office and chatted with Todd Ritchie, who told me that when he arrived at work Tuesday morning, he received a call from two live-aboard tenants that their bicycles had been stolen.

Todd said he reviewed the marina's surveillance tapes, identified the nefarious activity, made a video clip of the activity and forwarded it to the Port Angeles Police Department.

Todd's understanding is that the Police Department was able to extract a face shot from the video clip and distribute a photo of the suspect to all officers on patrol.

By day's end, the suspect had been apprehended, and the bikes had been returned to their rightful owners.

Crooks beware: The marina had surveillance cameras installed on all of its floats, docks and parking lots last year.

Expanding into Port Angeles

I spoke with Shane Aggergaard, president and general manager of Island Adventures Whale Watching, an enterprise that conducts whale-watching excursions out of Anacortes and Everett.

Beginning Aug. 23, the company is expanding into Port Angeles.

Shane said excursions will be made aboard an 85-foot aluminum Gulf Craft that is certified for 125 people, but Island Adventures will board between 80 and 100 guests for its excursions depending on the weather.

Shane added that the vessel has full walk-around upper and lower viewing decks, indoor and outdoor seating, and 300 feet of outside rail viewing space.

The excursions will typically last 5-6 hours, he said, and the boat — which will be named Island Explorer 4 — will leave Port Angeles Harbor and can either head north toward Race Rocks and Victoria or east toward the San Juan Islands based on the best viewing opportunities.

Shane is confident that the Port Angeles excursion has the best chance of seeing multiple species of whale in the same day.

Postscript

Island Excursions is the second company to offer whale watching from the North Olympic Peninsula.

Pete and Sherri Hanke's Puget Sound Express out of Port Townsend has been operating orca tours for nearly 30 years.

The gray whale tours started March 15 and are underway through next month.

Check out the Hankes' website, www.pugetsoundexpress.com, for the schedule and other details.

Preps on the water

The Port Angeles Yacht Club is bringing high school sailing back to Port Angeles Harbor beginning with a Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association regatta scheduled for Saturday.

Sailors from high schools throughout Western Washington will be putting their hulls in the water and sails into the wind for the chance to hoist the Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association's High School Olympic Cup.

The first race is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., weather permitting.

Racing can be viewed from the Port Angeles Yacht Club, 1305 Marine Drive. The event is free and open to the public.

Lunch may be purchased from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the clubhouse.

Skipper Ian Raphael will be leading his newly formed team from the Port Angeles Sailing Club of Port Angeles High School.

Ian, a senior, has been sailing dinghies for more than 10 years and is looking forward to the competition.

“Port Angeles Harbor is beautiful and unique. The way the mountains step down to the harbor make it an unparalleled experience,” Ian said.

“I am sure my fellow Northwest high school sailors will agree.”

Joining him on the water will be skipper Grant Shogren, a junior.

“I have sailed from Bellingham to the Columbia Gorge. There is nothing to rival the sailing experience on Port Angeles Harbor,” Grant said.

The cold waters of Port Angeles Harbor will not be inviting, but sailors from up and down the Olympic Peninsula and from the Interstate 5 corridor from Portland to Bellingham will pull on their wet suits, booties and hats for the chance to skim the waters.

The sailors have been practicing for the past few weeks in their home waters — be it freshwater, lake or river, or the salt water of Puget Sound or the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Port Angeles Yacht Club Commodore Randy Volker looks forward to hosting the region's youth.

“The sailors will be in Vanguard 15s — two sailors in a 15-foot dinghy,” Volker said.

“Many of our members remember starting in similar-sized boats. It's great to give the high school sailors an opportunity for some action at their home waters, and it feels good to be sharing the beauty of the Olympics with younger sailors.”

For more information about the prep competition, email Randy at regatta@payc.org.

Commercial haul-out

Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, hauled out Jamie Marie, an 80-foot steel commercial fishing vessel, Thursday afternoon.

Brad Hale, who works in the marketing department, said personnel will be painting the bottom and performing seasonal maintenance.

The latter is the catchall phrase that means that once the captain can get off the boat, get his vessel on land and view for himself what the elements have done, only then can a true list be made of maintenance items that need attention.

The next day, Platypus Marine hauled out one of the two Coast Guard 47-foot motorized lifeboats that are stationed at the Motor Lifeboat Station Quillayute River.

According to Kelli Ward, special projects coordinator at Platypus, during the time the boat is out of service, the bottom will be sandblasted, a new coat of paint applied and all the hydraulic hoses renewed.

Additionally, a host of maintenance items will be attended to.

Seasonal maintenance, anyone?

________

David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain's mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area waterfronts.

Items and questions involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome.

Email dgsellars@hotmail.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.

His column, On the Waterfront, appears every Sunday.

Last modified: March 22. 2014 8:05PM
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