By David G. Sellars
PDN Maritime Columnist
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[Click on arrow above the above photo to see the yacht A in today's gallery.]
EAGLE-EYED WATER-WATCHERS on the North Olympic Peninsula spied an unusual yacht picking up a pilot off Port Angeles and heading eastward through Admiralty Inlet to Seattle last week.
The 394-foot yacht, which goes only by the monogram A, spent Friday night in Seattle before taking off to, presumably, explore the waters of the San Juan Islands and possibly Bellingham Bay.
The stealth ship is owned by Russian banking billionaire Andrey Melichenko and his wife, according to Puget Sound Business Journal columnist Patty Payne.
That doesn't mean the Melichenkos came up the Strait of Juan de Fuca earlier last week.
They flew in on their private Boeing 737 to Boeing Field and visited Seattle-area friends while the crew brought A down from Alaska, Payne reported.
Peninsula Daily News
Astoria Bay is a 610-foot cargo ship that is taking on a load of logs destined for Tianjin, China, that were harvested off Merrill & Ring's private land holdings in Western Washington.
But she wasn't always named after the locale in Oregon: The vessel was formerly known as Dry Beam.
In late January 2012, Dry Beam was hit by a rogue wave about 300 miles northwest of Vancouver Island.
The wave, thought to be nearly 50 feet high, struck the ship on the port side, causing a shift of the deck cargo toward the starboard side.
That overloaded the stanchions that restrain the topside load.
They gave way under the additional weight of the shifted load, and a number of logs fell overboard while simultaneously destroying many of the stanchions.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard cutter J.P. Tully responded to the ship's mayday call and escorted her to Ogden Point in Victoria Harbour.
Barge cranes offloaded the remaining deck cargo and stowed it on the dock.
When the vessel was deemed seaworthy, she got underway for Kashima, Japan, where her remaining cargo was offloaded and repairs undertaken.
Before returning to service, she was acquired by a new ownership group and renamed Astoria Bay.
What's that smell?
The odor of petroleum products hung heavy in the air over much of Port Angeles for a time last Tuesday, generating a bunch of calls to anyone who had a phone number, it seemed.
The folks at Tesoro Petroleum said they were inundated with calls from citizens upset by the noxious odors that were being attributed to their facility.
Let's clear the air.
Tesoro had nothing to do with the odor.
It was caused by the venting of the fuel barge HMS 2000, which is owned by Olympic Tug and Barge.
The barge is chartered to Tesoro for its bunkering operations. The operation, maintenance and upkeep of the 18,000-barrel barge remains the responsibility of Olympic Tug and Barge.
It was necessary to vent the barge because Coast Guard inspectors needed to enter the cargo holds to conduct a visual inspection.
See the orcas
Island Adventures Whale Watching, a company that conducts whale-watching excursions out of Anacortes and Everett, has expanded into Port Angeles.
The company has an 85-foot Gulf Craft with a 22-foot beam moored at the Boat Haven, which they use to take guests on whale-watching tours.
I spoke to Matt Plier, who said the company will be making one tour a day — with boarding at 10:30 a.m. and departure at 11 a.m. through September.
In October and November, it will be one tour a day on the weekends.
Matt added that depending upon the best viewing opportunities when the vessel departs Port Angeles, the captain might take her north toward Race Rocks and Victoria or east toward the San Juan Islands.
Or he might head west toward Jordan River.
Matt went on to say that the vessel also has a galley that serves ballpark-style food without the ballpark prices, and patrons are more than welcome to bring their own lunches and beverages aboard the boat for the excursion
For more information or to make reservations, visit their website at www.pawhalewatch.com.
And don't forget: If you're closer to Port Townsend, Pete Hanke's Puget Sound Express conducts whale-watching tours through Oct. 27 out of Point Hudson Marina.
PS Express' website is www.pugetsoundexpress.com for details of the company's numerous tours and other activities.
Port Angeles' contribution
The Port of Port Angeles and the Port Angeles Yacht Club are jointly sponsoring a booth at this year's Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival this coming weekend.
The impetus for this initiative is that the port's Port Angeles Boat Haven marina needs to attract more long-term berth occupants to improve its viability and keep rates down.
The yacht club wants to increase its support and promotion of water and boating activities in the community.
The port recently rolled back berth rates to 2013 levels and, unlike most marinas east of Port Angeles, it has vacancies in most slip lengths from 20 feet to 120 feet.
The 38th Wooden Boat Festival runs Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7, and is focused at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St. in Port Townsend.
But boat lovers will enjoy the 300 craft of all sizes in and about the water.
Details of the fest are at tinyurl.com/pdn-boat2014.
And don't forget to stop by the Port Angeles booth and say hello.
Back in the water
Platypus Marine, the full-service shipyard, yacht-repair facility and steel-boat manufacturer on Marine Drive in Port Angeles, put Escapade, a Selene 66, back into the water Friday afternoon.
Personnel last week touched up a couple of dings on the vessel's painted surfaces.
I understand that the 131-foot Westport yacht Fruition, which has been moored in the Port Angeles Boat Haven for quite a spell, will soon be taken to Florida.
Port Angeles Harbor watch
Tesoro petroleum on Friday bunkered British Courage in Port Angeles Harbor.
She's a 755-foot liquid petroleum gas tanker that is flagged in the United Kingdom.
On Saturday, Tesoro provided bunkers to Ocean Seagull, a 390-foot general-cargo ship that flies the Panamanian flag.
Today, Tesoro is scheduled to bunker Iskmati Spirit, a 900-foot crude-oil tanker that is flagged in the Bahamas.
David G. Sellars is a Port Angeles resident and former Navy boatswain's mate who enjoys boats and strolling the area's waterfronts.
Items and questions involving boating, port activities and the North Olympic Peninsula waterfronts are always welcome. Email email@example.com or phone him at 360-808-3202.
His column, On the Waterfront, appears Sundays.