Seattle Waterfront, Testing and Progress!

Today was my scheduled appointment at the USCG Seattle REC to complete the test that the National Maritime Center said I needed. I left plenty early and arrived way to early (traffic was really easy) so I spent an hour or so walking around the Seattle Waterfront doing my best tourist with a cell phone camera. It was cool and crisp this morning we had ice on the windows this morning.

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One of the Argosy Harbor Cruise Boats

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The Seattle waterfront shops along Alaskan Street. and Ivar’s Seafood “Acres of Clams”

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A statue of Ivar Haglund feeding the seagulls. If you grew up or spent any time around Seattle before 1985 when he died, you definatley know this man. His TV commercials were great. Keep Clam!

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The Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Boats “Chief Seattle” and “Leschi” (pronounced lesh eye – it the boat in the back)

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Small Seattle Fire Dept. Boats

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The Washington State Ferry “Tacoma” leaving Coleman Dock with West Seattle in the background

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Another look at the Seattle Fire Boats “Chief Seattle” and “Leschi”

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Another Agorsy Cruise Harbor Cruise Boat. When my daughter was in the sixth grade, they had a field trip on this boat (I chaperoned). I was amazed how many kids had never been on a boat before in their life. It’s not like we are in Oklahoma or something.

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A shot of the Ferry Tacoma with the Olympic Mountains in the background. The Argosy Cruise boat is in the forefront.

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Looking South towards Seattle’s main shipping port, Harbor Island and the “Dirty D”, also known as the Duwamish River. The Dirty D is a super fund site and one of the most used industrial waterways in the area.

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Just to the East of last picture, you can see CenturyLink Field where the Seattle Seachickens play (formerly known as Qwest Field) and just behind that (hard to see) is Safeco Field where the Seattle Mariner’s Play. If any Merchant Mariners come to Seattle and take classes at PMI, it is located just between the big harbor cranes on the right and the stadiums on the left.

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Some maritime history signs

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On the other side of Alaskan Street is the Viaduct. This elevated roadway gives the driver probably one of the best views of any major city’s waterfront. It is in terrible shape and is a serious risk when the “big one” hits Seattle. It is currently being replaced by a tunnel which will not quite be the same. It will make the waterfront much quieter without all of the cars and trucks buzzing by just overhead. I will still miss the viaduct anyway – it’s part of this city.

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Another shot of the viaduct, Alaskan Street and the “Qlink” or CenturyLink Field

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The Seattle Aquarium

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Aquarium again. One of the best places in the world to see a Six Gill Shark is right at the end of this pier at night in the spring. I grew up in this area and had no idea these things were here. The first time I saw how big these things get, I filled my pants. A big one can get over 15’ long. They look like a fat Great White to me.

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Another maritime signpost and Seattle’s newest eye sore in the background

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From the Aquarium, I climbed a few sets of stairs and popped out at the Pike Place Market

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It’s probably been over 20 years since I’ve been here, maybe more. I’m going to have to spend a day doing this stuff.

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Random shot of the market innards

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The famous fish market. I was starting to run low on time so I didn’t get a chance to see how bad they are sticking it to the people who can’t catch thier own.

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These trees didn’t get the memo that it is still cold outside and blossomed anyway. You can also see the viaduct and waterfront.

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The Jackson Federal Building where the Seattle REC is located. The REC is actually in the offices directly behind the little brick wall. If you ever come here, forget about the address and go to the corner of 1st and Madison and you will be there. If you follow the address, you’ll have to wander a maze of elevators and floors to get there. This concludes the photos and touristy stuff for today.

I went through security, walked into the REC office and was pointed down a hallway, through some doors and to the testing room. Another mariner was getting his test graded and was given another module before the man behind the counter acknowledged me. He asks me what I’m doing here and I told him my name and that I was there for a test (no shit – I am in the testing room). He said I didn’t have an appointment and he didn’t appreciate me arriving without at least 2 days notice and got all heated up. I showed him the appointment receipt that I printed out from the confirmation email sent to me by the NMC. He didn’t even look at it and said their system is not connected to his system and I should have called. So if you read my last post about the Appointment Scheduler, you can forget anything nice I said about that system.

He agrees to allow me to take the test anyway and gives me all of the instructions while he printed out the test. Remove coat and hang it up, turn off cell phone, checked my calculator to make sure it wasn’t hiding any secret formulas, etc. He gives me the answer sheet to fill in and go forth and take the test. Right away I look at this test and think “Oh Shit!” I didn’t recognize to manny of these questions, and there were way more than 70 that I was supposed to take. So I return to the grumpy man and said “are you sure I have the right test?” He had given me two tests instead of one, but the one I had was correct. So I worked on it slowly and methodically and used common sense and the CFR books to find answers. There were really only a few I didn’t feel confident about, some I at least felt like I had a good chance to be correct and several that I knew were correct. I finished up, took the test in to be graded and received a 89%. I’m very happy with that.

The grumpy man (now in a much better mood), gives me some papers to take up front to the office to pay for the test. This is the same office where you would come to apply for your license. I paid the lady (the same one who helped me when I applied several posts back – very nice and super knowledgeable) and told her how the schedule was screwed up. She shook her head slowly like she wanted to say something. I could tell she wanted to say something so I just talked to her for a minute or two longer and she finally said “He doesn’t look at the appointment calendar he is supposed to use and he has been told numerous times”. So forget what I just said about the appointment scheduler being screwed up. It works fine, but you have to have someone using it for it to work right.

With my receipt in hand, I returned to testing room to prove I had paid. The grumpy guy shook my hand and said “well done” and sent me on my way.

It was now 1230 and I was hungry, so I stopped at traditional Seattle place called Dick’s:
 photo 2013-03-19_12-43-21_602_zps248215c0.jpgA burger here is $1.00 and a cheeseburger is $1.50 and they sell tons and tons of them. They could school McDonald’s on how to sell burgers. I was in and out in under two minutes. These guys do it right.

I arrived home after some traffic and sat down at my computer. An email from the NMC was waiting and it said my “Application is complete and has been issued”.

This is the end of the road (for the near future) for me regarding licensing. I still need to get a RFNPW course done. I’ll probably go to Louisiana for that class at Fletcher’s next month. I have short job next week that I’ll fill you all in about soon.
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