Big Boats In The Backyard

Doesn’t it just bug you when your neighbor can’t find a better place to put their boat? They look much bigger when they’re up close. Hard to ignore. The island must have hundreds of boats for fishing, sailing, having fun, or project boats sitting out of the water. Two big boats of a different sort were in town, er, harbor, lately.

A couple of container ships destined for Seattle’s harbor hit a traffic and parking jam; so, wave to Maersk Singapore and APL Qingdao – two ships sitting in Holmes Harbor enjoying our area, possibly without a way to visit the land after such a long voyage. The good news, they probably won’t stay long. The other good news, they may be holding that thing you bought a while back, or containing the thing that is needed to finish the thing that you ordered. I doubt they’d appreciate a visit and let you rummage around looking for the piece you need.

Holmes Harbor is a common and convenient parking place, at least according to whoever is managing the shipping traffic. While many of Whidbey’s harbors have names like “Useless”, when the water gets deep, it gets very deep. These vessels are about 1,100 feet long and deeper than many buildings are tall. Ever Given, the one that blocked the Suez Canal is bigger, ~ 1,300 feet long, but not by much. Fortunately, Holmes Harbor is about a mile wide. That should be plenty of room to maneuver.

It should be obvious, but it is easy to ignore that Whidbey Island is a good place to watch Big Ships go by. Puget Sound has very large ports (Seattle and Tacoma), as well as Navy bases (Everett and Bremerton – plus the very un-obvious submarine base in Hood Canal), cruise ships, freighters, mega-yachts and lots of personal craft for whatever. Very few of them have any choice and must pass along the west side of Whidbey.

The big green dots might get company as another comes in

A popular web site to keep refreshed is Have some patience with it. When it loads it is getting data about every ship it can around the world. Many of the ships are obvious. Aircraft carriers and cruise ships are hard to miss. The parade passes by, mostly quietly – except for a few that could use some engine work. Grump. The site is particularly entertaining when some yacht goes by that has enough room for a helicopter; or when a heavy lift craft slowly proceeds with an oil rig on top.

Imagine the captain’s job. Navigate a 1,100 foot ship carrying millions or dollars of goods while avoiding the other ships, boats, and things like kayaks and whales – and then be told to go park it somewhere while the traffic clears. That could be frustrating.

Of course it can also be frustrating or entertaining to wake up at your waterfront property and be staring out at tons of somewhat rusting steel, bobbing in place, with a few crew possibly looking back at you.

Life on Whidbey.

As for your land neighbor’s land-locked craft, well, maybe they’re using that fishing boat to fish for chickens.

“Fishin’ for Chickens”

9 thoughts on “Big Boats In The Backyard

  1. Living up in Greenbank up near church on the hill, I can tell when one of those ships has arrived. There is the constant hum of their generators ( I think?) going 24/7. Not loud, just humming along in the background kind of like a refrigerator.


  2. How long before there is a spill of some type and our beautiful island and wonderful wildlife will be devastated. Also, its a bit more than “just a hum like a fridge” some nights its really loud and makes sleeping very difficult. I for one did not pay what I paid for my house in order to “live by the docks!”


  3. The thumping noise is 24/7 and can be heard over two miles away in my living room with doors and windows closed. Please call Coast Guard traffic division to complain. Call Ron Muzzel your congressional rep. Is this the new normal? Will our property taxes go down? Noise pollution? Langley has laws regarding noise and this falls into the prohibited section. I don’t care if they anchor but the constant pounding is amplified and lowering the quality of life we moved here for.


  4. thanks for the reporting and the link.
    these boats were amusing and a distraction in mid april… but writing this the end of may, while listening to the incessant running engines with my windows and doors shut tight, is now a real problem… the low sound waves are penetrating my home and do not stop. i am also about 2 miles away, but, i am forced to have some kind of distraction on in the background to bear it… or get some sleep. this has become a type of torture.
    i will call per Mark’s suggestion. i will reply again if i find anything that can be done…


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