Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wondering Where Your Online Orders Are?

So, I had this brilliant idea to kayak out to the container ships that are hanging out in the harbor by Manchester, Washington.  My curious nature had an itch and when it itches that bad, it must be satisfied.  Besides after being cooped up for days doing serious stuff like artwork and trying to make money I needed an adventure.
There has been anywhere from three to five of theses type of freighters anchored here waiting for a turn to be unloaded at the Seattle shipyards.  The longshoremen of the whole West coast  have been on strike for months.  Meanwhile, these ships wait and wait, anchored in The Sound with engines rumbling off and on day and night.

I've been wanting to see them up close ever since noticing them from the road and ask the crew what's up with my order. It's been three months and I still haven't gotten it. I'm just the type to go up to them and ask, "Hey, man, can I look through that shipping container from China? I won't be long. I just want my shirt I ordered three months ago." Jokingly, of course.

(That's Seattle in the distance and there were two other ships full of shipping containers anchored nearby.)

When we got to the ship the guys were far too nice for me to say something that ornery.  Besides that, the captain was looking at us through his binoculars as if he was expecting trouble.  Then I remembered the movie, Captain Philips.  Of course, the captain and crew of this ship is going to be on alert as they should be.  It's part of their job.
They waved at us and said hello.  Not the captain; the crew.  The captain reminded me of a cop that has his radar gun pointed at cars on the freeway.  A very serious dude with a lot of responsibility and someone who deserves respect.
I asked the group of friendly men where they were from and they said, "The Philippines." 
Drat!  My stuff is from China. 
Then I asked them if they get to leave the boat and they said, "Yah, we went to Tacoma." After three months that's all they did? What? Why, when Seattle is 10 miles away by boat? I then asked them, "How'd you get there. By helicopter?"  I didn't see any ladders or ways to get off the ship any other way and Tacoma is quite a ways away by water or by land.  I don't think they heard me as they didn't answer and they suddenly weren't there anymore.  I realized later that the ships weren't actually anchored for three months, but only for a few days as they waited their turn to be unloaded.

Here's puny little me next to this beast of an eye sore. Hey, we do need our goods don't we.

I did hear that "talks" are happening so maybe these container ships won't be cluttering our view for much longer and maybe I'll finally get my cool  Queen Of Hearts shirt that I designed.  One of the only things about it made in America - the designer. That and the inks it's printed with.  They are really well made though...

This is my friend who was adventurous enough to come with me.  Don't you just love her hat?  She thought she looked like a garden gnome. 
I forced her to get this close and joked with her about a vortex that would suck us into China if we got to close.  She joked with me about popping out one of our sunglasses lenses so we looked more like pirates.
She was smart enough to think that we might actually get into trouble if we got too close.  That thought did occur to me, but I figured, nah, this is America.  No way they'd see us slow paddling, recreational kayakers as pirates, but the captain was looking at us through his binoculars and it was odd that the workers were all suddenly congregated just under him and left just as suddenly as they appeared. 
I was more worried about how deep the water was and if a porpoise or seal would capsize me (the water is very cold) than whether or not we would be seen as pirates.

The ship was incredibly massive.  These photos don't do its size justice.  I kept wishing I had a wide-angle lens available on my phone.

This was about when I heard a really loud and eerie creaking sound. 

"What was that?" It scared the life out of me for a second.

My friend just laughed.

Time to leave.

On the way there and the way back we saw lots of driftwood and birds floating on the surface that looked like porpoise fins.  One very large piece of driftwood had a line of Loons as passengers surfing the tide towards Blake Island.  They looked like skinny penguins all standing in a row.
We paused a few times to take photos of Mt. Rainer and watched a pod of seals curiously eyeing us and then go back to their business.  We were hoping to see porpoises, but didn't.
The tide was going out when we left the beach and was slacked when going back which made for fairly pleasant paddling both ways.  My strokes were more frequent than my friend's as she is a much more seasoned kayaker and probably stronger than me.  I told her it was because her kayak was lighter and narrower than mine. I looked like a Shetland Pony trying to keep up with a Thoroughbred.

Well, I wasn't able to pick up my order. We left the container ship empty-handed.  Should have went to one of the other container ships that was from China. 

All 'n all it be a mighty great adventure, matey.

Edit:  Turns out that my shirt was at the post office under my friend's name waiting to be picked up.  The one that I did this trip with.  She had ordered one previously and I had wanted a replacement for a different shirt.  For some reason, the post office decided that it wasn't deliverable. Perhaps it would have needed a signature and it wasn't under the addressee's name.  I don't know. They misunderstood and thought it was a replacement for her shirt.  The problem has since been ironed out.

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