Pacific Northwest Adventures

by Shanna Sorrells, S10

February 27, 2010

I love reading about places we are going to…it gives us something to connect with as we see all the sights. And this time around, I have seen some of the sights mentioned in the reader, (a packet compiled by Rich-our literature professor), already, such as Puget Sound, Mount Ranier, Mount St. Helens, and Seattle, so I was able to clearly picture so clearly the sights, sounds, smells the authors share. Reading their accounts of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty made me deeply regret not keeping a journal whilst traveling.

We are about to land in Seattle! (Just passed over Lake Washington.)

Feb 28, 2010

1235: We just finished an hour and a half ride on the Crowley, a tugboat. It was quite interesting seeing the differences in make between that boat and the Cramer. The engine room was HUGE, and so hot (749 degrees F). I was even offered earplugs. I declined, for obvious reasons, and turned off my cochlear implant/hearing aid. It was so loud, I was vibrating from sheer volume.

And from the boat, we saw container ships, loading tons of different colored containers on top of each other. The ships are so large, they can stack up entire trucks on top of each other. One danger though, is crates falling off. We had to keep our eye out for containers during bow watch while in FL, due to a recent spill…otherwise, it would have been Titanic all over again!

The magnitude of HOW MUCH “stuff”…STUFF gets imported and exported on each ship and how far everything travels boggles my mind. We are a world of instantaneous, non-ending appetites. This world has no room for instant gratification. At all hours, of every day, materials, goods, foods, are moving from one place to the next. It shakes me how we are always going going going.

From this side of the continent, most items are exported to Asia; from the East coast, to Europe, and Rich thinks Africa may receive our cargo from the South.

Feb 28, 2010

1945: Today was quite a long day. We crammed a lot of information in. And I suspect every day will be like this. Now I’m glad all my projects/proposals were due last week, before the trip. I want to be able to drink it all in and learn as much as possible without any worries/stress clouding my mind. I shall list out all the things we did today, along with notes about each:

-Pike’s Marketplace: The fish throwers had several of us stand directly under the thrown fishes…I got scales on my sweatshirt, pretty funny.

Throwing fish over our heads. Photo credit goes to David!

-Walking Tour of Seattle with Glenn: The man sure knows how to tell stories. He told us about Ivan and Skid Row. I’ll try writing about these later, much too tired now, and I ought to get ahold of someone’s notes first anyhow.

Glen sharing fascinating info about the statue of Ivan on his right

-Klondike Gold Rush National Park Exhibit: Very cool and a good lay-out of information. I found it concise, and straight to the point. People were spurred into action with the “final frontier” and hoped to strike it rich. Most people failed. Or died. I had a fascination with the gold rush period as a kid, so this certainly fed my former interest. I did remember a lot, which was lovely.

-Fishermen’s Terminal: There were so many boats here…trawlers, gill netters. Most head off to Alaska in search of salmon in mid-March. We also saw the Fishermen’s Memorial. It was sobering. A hushed silence fell upon our group as we read the names of all who had died trying to fish in Alaska’s treacherous waters. Flowers and written sentiments were placed around it. It just made me think about how we romanticize sea life, how people view it as the great escape from responsibilities. Yet, people die for it. We don’t think much about that. Between 2001 and 2009, about 70 men lost their lives. Even boys younger than me. It’s incredibly sad. I left, feeling disheartened. How do their parents feel? Their lovers? Losing a loved one at sea…swallowed up by a cold, unfeeling beast, never to be seen or heard from again. No remains. It is truly the “deadliest catch.”

This one in particular made me sad. Perhaps because it is so recent?

-Burke Museum: This was at the University of Seattle. It was a fantastic, small museum, summarizing much information you might find at the Museum of Natural History in D.C., (in which you could spend a month and still not have read or seen everything). We had pizza and a lecture from a W-M alum of S97. He has accomplished SO much and is now the Executive Director of the Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board. I thought he was a much better speaker than the first. He raised many interesting thoughts about saving the salmon, including how they have evolved to human impact. If we try to restore the rivers to what they used to be, will that actually harm them? They have changed their way of life around our dams. Would it really help if we were to remove them? Could they evolve back to the way they used to be? Or is the old migration pattern still embedded in their instinct? We really don’t know.

We met some other alums as well. It is wonderful to meet others who have graduated from this program. It’s fascinating seeing how W-M has impacted their lives; in some, W-M has made a small impact, but still in notable ways, while in others, the impact is life-altering. No matter, W-M makes a mark on everyone. I have absolutely no doubt that it will make one on me as well. I’m already feeling it, actually. I am feeling fresh inspiration and I want to do so much with my life now!

Author: Williams-Mystic

An interdisciplinary ocean and coastal studies program integrating marine science, maritime history, environmental policy, and literature of the sea. All majors welcome and 100% of financial need met!

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