Free, dumb, fair

No matter which side you’re on, I bet you’ll agree with me on this one. Fire & brimstone, sodomy, lesbopervs and their roles within the church do not paint a picture I want screamed in my face at the Freedom Fair. Did anyone else see the freak with the huge and inappropriate-for-children sign and the money toilet on his back? This guy was really pushing the limits of freedom of speech as I understand it.

Other than these isolated over-zealots spewing their cacophony, I was impressed with the “mellow” factor surrounding the Freedom Fair today (We were there 3 – 5pm). Cool crafts, clothing and culinary chaos reigned supreme down Ruston Way this afternoon, over a backdrop of live bands and performers. Tacoma showed a more attractive, diverse side of herself today in comparison with last weekend at Point Defiance. The Taste of Tacoma is really no such thing. There is actually a deficiency of true local Tacoma restaurants at the Taste; isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?

The powers that be might want to take a close look at the way these events are marketed. FM radio stations and an isolated print ad in a newspaper aren’t gonna cut it. I find that event marketers in this town are narrow in their pursuits. Anybody else find that the Taste of Tacoma sneaks up on them every year?

Into the Tacoman summer

The Tacoman summer is much like an Indian Summer, but with more kayaks and cooler temperatures. Tonight should be the night. By now, the concept of Wednesdays on the Water on Ruston Way has sunk in with the masses, and they cannot resist the temptation to head down and get involved. As per the last 3 weeks, the weather should be a huge question mark, only revealing itself at the time of said event this evening. I’m guessing it will be “nice” but there are certainly no guarantees.

If you are interested in bringing your kayak(s) down, I recommend parking just south/east of Harbor Lights and dropping in below the prominent staircase. The scuba divers built a staircase down by the Lobster Shop that works well also, but you have to carry the boats much further if you do that. The scuba stairs are a couple hundred yards from parking, whereas the Harbor Lights-area steps are right across the street from ample parking.

The sailboats have been coming out around 7, so we might get started a little later than usual. Last week we were ready to go before the sailboats even made it across, and they’re the real reason for going out after all.

So let’s just 6:30pm. Tacoma, that means YOU. If you have any shred of community in that skeleton of yours, bring it down to the Tacoma waterfront tonight for great views, dining, dog-walking and swimming. I know you’ve been dying for the weather to nicen up so that you can take your inaugural Commencement Bay swim of 2007. You’re not alone.

Need more kayaks

Sailboats on Commencement Bay
Sailboats on Commencement Bay
The turnout was like the weather – less than ideal by most peoples’ judgment. To that, I say “BAH!” There was plenty going on from my perspective and if you didn’t make it out, bummer for you. If you live in Washington and can’t appreciate the weather last night, then please move to Florida NOW. Seriously, go on. The sailboats were out in force, nearly running us over on their way to the Tacoma-side buoys. I liked seeing the action up close as they switched their sail configurations to head back across Commencement Bay towards Browns Point and Northeast Tacoma where they began. Although there were sufficient winds for the sails, the water was the calmest I’d encountered in Commencement Bay. It was an eerie calm. In fact, you could’ve tried your hand waterskiing out there if you wanted. As the sailboats rounded the buoy and turned back, I saw a big seal pop up out of nowhere. It’s head was the same size as my dog’s. It bobbed around for a minute or so and then disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. Apparently, seals can hold their breath really well and they definitely do NOT come when you call em. I tried everything – whistles, kisses, all the usual dog-luring noises – no luck. While the seal chose to ignore me, the biggest barnacles I’ve ever seen had no choice but to entertain me.
Pilings on Commencement Bay
Pilings on Commencement Bay

The pilings that comprise all the deserted old docks along Ruston Way currently house barnacles the size of small eggs. Their beaks are the same size of those on small birds. When you touch a piling with a kayak paddle, they all recoil into their shells. Not only do they move a lot, but they make noise too. These giant barnacles live far down on the pilings, so they’re only exposed on low-tide. I tried to take several pictures of a single barnacle, but you can’t really utilize the camera zoom in a kayak. The constant movement resulted in me deleting 95% of my pics. Photography from a kayak is definitely a specialized skill, involving luck as much as anything. For a similar experience, take your camera and have someone give you a piggy back ride – try to take some closeup photos while riding piggy back and you’ll get the idea of what it’s like. I’m just glad I wasn’t dealing with real film, or last night would’ve been really expensive. So, in closing, Tacoma, I will definitely plan on seeing more of you next week. Things like this need time to build steam, I understand. Many are afraid of inclement weather, I understand. Those of you who were on the fence last night – you know who you are – you will eventually do the right thing and join us. Official turnout calculated by me: 25 sailboats, 2 kayaks, and a dozen walkers. Not bad for a gloomy night, but Tacoma can definitely do better.

Hey Tacoma: Kayaks vs. Wednesdays

THE TIME IS NOW. The weather couldn’t be better! Well.. sure it could. But that’s not the point here. Wednesday nights finally have something besides LOST associated with them. It is time for Tacoma residents to get out and do something on Wednesday nights. Especially those of you (like me) who have spent far too much time at home lately – this is your big chance! Get out, walk, run, paddle, sail, row, swim, skate, bike.. there must be something on that list that you do on occasion. Tacoma’s Ruston Way waterfront will be our destination this evening (as well as most Wednesdays in the near future). Hopefully the sailboats will be out in force so those of you that can’t quite make it onto the water will have something more interesting to watch than a few of us kayaks. Weeknights are much less hectic than the weekends on Ruston Way. Most of Tacoma waits for the weekend show-n-tell to head down, so parking and traffic will both be a breeze. Good luck. Safe travels. I’ll see ya if I see ya.

Spring/Summer 2007 on Commencement Bay

I say that those of us with kayaks make it a point to join the sailboat club on Commencement Bay this spring & summer on Wednesday nights. As often as possible, drop your boat in the water down on Ruston Way. The Tacoma waterfront is a great place to paddle around. This would be a great concept to merge with the Tacoma Photo Gang.. Many great photos of Tacoma to be had from the surface of the Bay.

Who’s with me??