Salmon Bay

Last winter the Moss Bay Rowing Club stopped offering storage space, so I went looking for a new home for our boat. There were waiting lists for the marinas on Lake Union, and the Port of Seattle didn’t have anything convenient, and the obvious place anyway was at the Salmon Bay Marina.

Salmon Bay is the westerly part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The name was bestowed by the Old Settlers themselves, William Bell and and the Denny brothers; later generations turned part of the tidal reach into fresh water by first draining Lake Washington through what had been Ross Creek, and then damming it up with the Ballard Locks. The pleasing result was a protected waterway that served commerce and industry and just about anybody else who enjoyed messing about in boats. One prominent example is Fisherman’s Terminal, where picturesque vessels pose for tourists between voyages.  Here’s a photo I took a couple of decades ago, looking west from the south end of the Ballard Bridge:

On old picture of Fishermen's Terminal from the south end of the Ballard Bridge.

The marina lies beyond the terminal, on the other side of the blue ship near the top center of the picture. It’s not a convenient walk from my house, but a bus goes near, and it offers a lot of advantages over South Lake Union. There’s a little lounge that is available 24 hours a day, and plenty of free parking.

By the time of the move I was already mostly car-topping the boat, and carrying it from the Moss Bay dock up to their not-inexpensive parking lot was a nuisance. At the marina though, I could back the car up to the rack and wrestle the boat directly onto the top.  After just a few weeks, access was blocked by another, bigger boat that came to dwell nearby; but by then I had bought a set of stern wheels for use on long, paved approaches, so I simply switched to a ground-level spot that would have been unthinkable before.  The boat actually hangs in a pair of slings, and it takes only a few minutes to fit the little dolly on the back and roll it out to the car.  This arrangement solves two other problems: I can get the boat from the storage area to the car without bothering anyone, even when the office is closed; and the wheels keep the stern from scraping on the ground as I put the boat on top of the car. It’s even possible to leave the wheels attached while driving to the proposed launch site, if wheels will be required there; and, so far, that has not proved unwise (I attach them by three separate means).

It’s also possible just to roll the boat down to one of the marina’s docks and launch from there.  I have already done that more times than I expected to — this is a pretty interesting part of Seattle. And by the way, many of the boats in the picture above still appear regularly here, as seen in this view from a few days ago:


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