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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Norwegian Pearl in Astoria

Who knows the future, but yesterday felt like perhaps the last festive day of summer here, so I took advantage of it. I usually reserve the photo essays for my personal blog, but for whatever reason, here are seven photos describing the visit of the Norwegian Pearl yesterday. We knew the cooler weather was coming in soon, and we knew that yesterday was going to be either "nice" or "freakin' hot," depending on your point of view. I vote for "it was hot," but I talked with some people who said, "Are you kidding? We're from Vegas. This is chilly." Eight-eight degrees. Right. But a lot of people were having fun in Astoria yesterday. Believe it or not, there were two big cruise ships in town at one time. One tied up at the Port Docks on the west side of town (photo from an earlier blog post), which is the usual place these ships dock, so they had to find another place for the Norwegian Pearl. That's why we had the unusual experience of having a large cruise ship anchored in the river off of the Maritime Museum on the east side of town, near my shop.

I saw at least three of these red-and-white tenders bringing passengers from the ship to the dock.

Here are two of them at the 17th Street dock. On the river beyond the dock railings, you can see a tanker and a dredge going about business as usual, which is one of the attractions here.

Two orcas and a handful of yellow-shirted handsome photographers and greeters with the shipping line met the cruise passengers as they came up the plank. Come to think of it, I'll bet the orca costumes got hot as the day went on, but then I'm sure Astoria is cooler than some places this cruise ship lands.

A band called the Columbia Crew played old favorite music that everyone seemed to enjoy, including me. This is the same anchor exhibiting a very different persona from the last time we saw it.

That anchor is right next to the unusually-shaped Maritime Museum, which has world-class exhibits, including real boats and ship parts, and a map of the wrecks on the river-bottom. I haven't shown it before because (a) I've had other things I wanted to show and (b) due to the lighting, angles and size, I've had a hard time getting the picture I wanted. For now, the mystery is solved. This is the museum. I'll try to come up with a more artistic shot one of these days. The four flags flying are the U.S. Flag, the Oregon state flag, the Maritime Museum flag, and the Chinook tribal flag. It's very cool, and I'll feature it another time.

Finally, I was rather dismayed to encounter this thing. Normally, the pier is open to locals and tourists for wandering about, but cruise security apparently needed to co-opt our pier. However, this is nothing compared to the security when a cruise ship comes in at the Port Docks. Check out the 8th photo in this post. I don't think it was like this a few years ago, which is a sad comment on today's society. But sad was minimal. Many of the local shops thrive on tourism, and a day like today is a big help for them. People wandering around town seemed in good spirits. People trying to buck the inflated traffic, less so. I've not figured out why vehicular traffic increases when a ship is in, unless people come to meet their friends. Anyone know? [P.S. See first comment.]

What summer event does your town look forward to?


Anonymous said...

Vehicle traffic doesn't increase, but it does slow down thanks to the extra pedestrians. Slower traffic means more dense traffic so at a glace it looks like there are more cars.

tapirgal said...

@ Anonymous, that makes sense. It's funny how everyone (including me) just says, "The traffic is bad."

Anonymous said...

I think there WAS more traffic in the form of shuttles and tour vehicles as well the stop and go for pedestrians that added to the numbers on the road.
I think also that it is a happy thing and while it frustrates me, it also gladdens me for local businesses.

Jacob said...

I really enjoyed this post, Sheryl. It shows some other aspects of your beautiful city. Eighty-eight degrees is warm, though, even in Florida!

I especially liked the shots of the cruise ship and the tenders and the museum.

And like you said, the locals were probably happy counting their coin at the end of the day!

Very interesting. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The unusual shape of the Maritime Museum is supposed to look like giant waves.

Don and Krise said...

Great post. I'd like to come down and see the museum some time. Also, I wonder how many passengers were on board vs how many came ashore?

Lee Spangler said...

I don't want the security issue to overshadow the gala atmosphere conveyed in your pictures. These cruise passengers are so thrilled to be off on an adventure.

Kcalpesh said...

Nice photos & information about Norwegian Pearl. Things mentioned in the post, were quite unknown to me. Thanks.

- Pixellicious Photos

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Some really beautiful and fantastic shot !! First shot is amazing !!Unseen Rajasthan

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