Olympic Peninsula – Port Townsend and Undersea Museum

This is the last update from our whirlwind Olympic Peninsula tour.  I have other stuff from our trip to Washington (the state), and I’ll post those soon. 

In the meantime . . . Port Townsend.

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That is the Point Wilson lighthouse at the tip of Fort Worden State Park. The day was less than optimal as far as lighting goes. The kind of day perhaps best suited for B&W photography. Too bad, that . . . my camera takes color photographs.  

. . . but I can convert them to B&W, in this case using onOne’s Perfect B&W filters.

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That is not a big improvement when viewed here, and that is a good reason to visit the associated SmugMug Gallery (HERE). Given the number of people who click on any link on these posts, I am not holding onto much hope for more than two people doing so.

Here is a better example, and I’ll also mention stuff about the place as I showcase photos from the area.

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The lighthouse, up close and personal.  I made sure to snap the photo right when the beacon pointed toward the camera.  Neat, uh?

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The Point Wilson beacon is the tallest beacon on the Puget Sound (51 feet, or 16 meters for them metric fanatics).

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The shot above, all colored-like, is a modification made to the original using Topaz Clarify. The next shot is done with Topaz Black & White 2.

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So, what else is interesting about Port Townsend?

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Neat homes . . . 

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. . . and neat buildings.

The history of Port Townsend goes back to a long time ago . . . from the Wikipedia entry no one clicked on:

“The bay was originally named “Port Townshend” by Captain George Vancouver (for his friend the Marquis of Townshend) in 1792. It was immediately recognized as a good safe harbor, although strong south winds and poor holding ground often make small craft anchorage problematic off the town’s waterfront.”

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I like taking photos of water, docks, and boats . . . and then playing with them.

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Port Townsend is also called the “City of Dreams” because of the early speculation that the city would be the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States.

By the late 19th century, Port Townsend was a well-known seaport, very active and banking on the future. Many homes and buildings were built during that time, with most of the architecture ornate Victorian.”

That explains all the nice homes I saw.

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Looks close to the earlier photo, but no . . . different processing. Anyway, continuing from the Wikipedia entry:

“Many of the buildings were built on the speculation that Port Townsend would become a booming shipping port and major city. When the depression hit, those plans lost the capital to continue and rail lines ended on the east side of Puget Sound, mainly in TumwaterTacoma, and Seattle. With the other Puget Sound ports growing in size, Port Townsend saw a rapid decline in population when the Northern Pacific Railroad failed to connect the city to the eastern Puget Sound city of Tacoma. By the late 1890s, the boom was over. Without the railroad to spur economic growth, the town shrank and investors looked elsewhere to make a good return.”

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“Over the decades that followed, Port Townsend maintained its economic stability in a variety of ways, including the development of artillery fortifications at Fort Worden. Many people left the area and many buildings were abandoned. Port Townsend’s economy was very weak until the 1920s when a paper mill was built on the edge of the town. The bay is now home to Naval Magazine Indian Island, the US Navy’s primary munitions handling dock on the Pacific coast.”

Paper mill?  Yep; the place stunk a bit while we were there.  I assume the locals get used to it. Wait . . . paper mill, Navy . . . Louis Gossett Jr.  . . . OMFSM! This is where An Officer and  Gentleman was filmed!

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Why, were I a middle-aged Lancellot-loving woman, I would have swooned!

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The Navy did not permit filming at the actual Aviation Officer Candidate School, which is in Florida, therefore, naturally, Port Townsend.

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Those interested can click on the link for the movie. Personally, I never bought the idea of Winger falling for Gere . . . they must have paid her a lot of money for her performance; it looked like she actually had feelings for him – she should have won an Oscar for that one.

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Back to the history of the place . . .

“Admiralty Inlet was considered so strategic to the defense of Puget Sound in the 1890s that three forts, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, and Fort Casey, were built at the entrance with huge guns creating a “Triangle of Fire” that could theoretically thwart any invasion attempt by sea. Fort Worden, on the Quimper Peninsula, at the extreme northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, sits on a bluff near Port Townsend, anchoring the northwest side of the triangle. The three posts were designed to prevent a hostile fleet from reaching such targets as the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett.

The forts never fired a hostile shot and the guns were removed during World War I for use in Europe. Subsequently, Fort Worden was used for training a variety of military personnel and for other defense purposes.”

By the way . . . did you notice that piece of wood I included in many shots?

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Tell me that does not look like a lizard hugging a stump!

We liked the town a lot, and sometime consider it as a retirement place, and then we remember  . . . paper mill.

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That’s the Bathyscaphe Trieste II . . . most A-maricans will pronounce its name with the ending “e” silent.  Speaking for Italians from that region, please . . . pronounce the “e”. After all, they don’t pronounce Chicago “Key-cago”.  

By the way, just like in Spanish, cago in Italian means “I shit”. Cagone means “shitter”, as in a person who shits, and its plural, cagoni, means “politicians”, although it’s more accurate to call them stronzi. I’m also likely to go with coglioni, and even fiati di cane.

The Trieste II is exhibited at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, WA. We had left Port Townsend, and were heading back to our hotel, when I saw the sign for the museum. Well, heck . . . it’s picture time in the rain!  

That’s right, it was raining like if that’s a natural thing for the area, so we stopped to see what was to see about things in the sea. See?

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They also have the . . . 

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. . . Deep Quest.

The idea of going 8,000 feet underwater is as appealing as diving in a Heaven Shaker.

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Known as the Kaiten, the literal translation is “Return to the Sky”, and they were to torpedoes what Kamikaze were to planes.

“The Kaiten separated from the host submarine and headed at speed in the direction fed into the gyroscope. Once within final attack range the Kaiten would surface and the pilot would check his range and bearing via periscope and make any adjustments necessary. He would then submerge to a suitable depth, arm the warhead and proceed on his final attack run. If he missed he could make adjustments and try again. If the mission failed he would detonate his vessel as a last resort.”

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There was not much room for the pilot . . . then again, he would not be uncomfortable for long.

“During development and use several problems were encountered, the most pressing being major water leaks into the pilot’s chamber during transport and deep diving and explosions caused by ingress of water into the torpedo engine. These were never fully eliminated during the weapon’s active service.”

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It’s worth going to the link and reading the deployment record . . . here’s an excerpt.

“The Kikusui group of kaitens was launched against hostile vessels near Ulithi on 20 November 1944. The group consisted of two submarines, I-47 and I-36, carrying a total of eight Kaiten.

This mission gave the Kaitens their first sinking, the USS Mississinewa, but at the cost of all eight Kaiten pilots. The first Kaiten launched from I-47 was piloted by Sekio Nishina, one of the original designers of the weapon. He carried with him the ashes of the other creator, Hiroshi Kuroki, who died in a training accident very early in the Kaiten’s development.

At the same time, submarine I-37 was sighted and engaged by US ships off of Leyte Island. The boat, together with her Kaitens, was sunk by hedgehog attack from the destroyers USS Conklin and USS McCoy Reynolds, resulting in the loss of 117 officers and men.”

The US Navy used conventional submarines, and this wall map points to their effectiveness. Each red spot is a sinking of an enemy ship.

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We were not at the museum long (by then we were tired, and wanted to get back to our motel). The last thing I snapped was the display of various diving helmets.

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Shortly thereafter, we left the Olympic Peninsula . . . as I said, we plan a return, and more leisurely, visit. We’ll even give this museum a more fitting visit.

Thanks for giving me a bit of your time, and as a reminder, full size photos are at the SmugMug Gallery (HERE).

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Anteater

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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Photography Stuff, Travel Stuff, Washington and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Olympic Peninsula – Port Townsend and Undersea Museum

  1. gpcox says:

    You did a lot of work for this post – great job.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Not really, or rather, no more so than other posts about travel and stuff.

      In fact, I got lazier . . . I copied text from Wikipedia instead of paraphrasing it.

      The photos did require playing around with various settings . . . but that ain’t work; that’s my pastime and relaxation. And thanks.

      Like

  2. oneowner says:

    The Olympic Peninsula tour looks like a lot of fun. I confess I never heard of the Kaiten but desperate people do desperate things. Great series of photos, though, Emilio.

    Like

  3. As always, really nice photography, Emilio, and an interesting post. The black and white photos always look “old” to me. I guess that’s from growing up in the 50’s/60’s and having all of our photos in b/w. I like them. You did make me laugh with the piece of wood. It definitely looks like a lizard hugging a stump :-)

    Like

  4. Great shots Emilio. I particularly love the first one. The houses are pretty cool too :)

    Like

  5. AnnMarie says:

    What a surprise to see and read about the batiscafo Trieste. I had never read the English word for batiscafo before but recognized it immediately and then recalled the many times mother spoke about it (her face lit up with delight when I showed it to her). And how interesting to read about the model of the DSRV, built for the movie The Hunt for Red October, that is now at the museum.

    I also enjoyed the architecture, especially the birdhouses on the fence posts, and the various processes you used to modify your landscape photos. But I did not care for the history of the Kaitens (way too sad), though the rest of the information was interesting.

    All in all, another fact-filled post that took me on quite a few detours to other sites and that added the Olympic Peninsula to my “Places To Visit” list.

    It’s really great having a ‘travel writer’ in the family . . .

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Most people don’t take the side trips, so I’m glad at least the few do, otherwise it’s a lot of effort for nothing (although it also serves to remind me of stuff later on if I write it down).

      Like

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