Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. So we loaded Diva Dog into the car and headed out in quest of an adventure. We ended up at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks--better known as the Ballard Locks. It's always great fun watching as sailboats, pleasure boats both large and small, commercial ships and the impressive NOAA research vessels move through the locks. The locks help boats move up from the Puget Sound as they enter the Ship Canal or down from the freshwater lakes as they head out to the Sound and the ocean beyond. It's mesmerizing to watch as the boats get directed into a spot in the locks, the gates close and the locks either fill up or empty out. But this time there was something passing through the locks that I'd never seen before.
A huge gravel barge.
The Island Breeze tug and barge filled up the larger of the two locks all by itself.
As the barge headed out into the Ship Canal, we saw this familiar feathered friend cruising by.
After the Island Breeze headed into the ship canal, we headed over to the spillway dam. The spillway has six gates that either hold or release water as needed to keep the level of the freshwater lakes at 20-22 feet above sea level.
The funny looking tube is called a smolt flume and it helps the smolt, juvenile fish, as they leave their freshwater birthplace and head out into the big blue ocean. Apparently the water current is so strong, it pushes the young fish through the flume tail first.
At the far end of the spillway, and right above the fish ladder, is a very fun sculpture, Salmon Waves.
Wing Nut went down into the observation platform of the fish ladder but there wasn't much happening. May is the tail end of the Steelhead migration. The fish action will pick up in June with the Sockeye (Red). In July the Chinook (King) will follow. And the Coho (Silver) follow in August.
After checking for squirrels along the southern shore of the locks, we crossed back over the spillway and the locks to visit the Carl P. English, Jr. Botanical Garden located along the northern shore. That'll be Part II of this adventure.