She's heading for Seattle, bearing the world's largest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM.)
In mid March, the Fairpartner had been alongside at Hitachi Zosen's facility near Osaka Japan, loading the world's largest tunnel boring machine - TBM.
thoroughly tested, before being disassembled into 41 segments for shipment to Seattle.
This morning was a major adventure for me. I'd been following the Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking the progress of the Fairpartner from Osaka, where the TBM was created. The last position report was just off the coast of Japan 14 days ago!
But there is a large black hole in the Pacific where the AIS - at least the version I subscribe to - is reported "out of range."
Therefore, for almost two weeks I didn't have a clue as to where the Fairpartner was. Her original Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) in Seattle was Monday, April 1st.
But nothing showed up! I must admit I panicked, 'till I found out she had a revised ETA. Apparently she encountered strong headwinds whilst crossing the Pacific.
Finally, late Monday night, Jumbo's Fairpartner AIS signature appeared on the western approaches to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is approximately 100 miles from Cape Flattery to Port Townsend. I guesstimated that she would pass Pt Wilson, about two miles from my home, around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.
I left home a little early - just in case. Well, listening to my "gut" paid off, because when I pulled into the parking lot at Fort Worden, there she was! I had to scramble to get the tripod and camera set up!
What a thrill! Not only to see a heavy lift ship. But more important, to bring closure to events I had spent so many hours on in a virtual world of AIS and mining Google for information about Seattle's TBM.
This is an exciting day for the residents of Seattle and surrounding environs. Aboard the Fairpartner are 41 packages containing the world's largest tunnel boring machine (TBM.) In a few days, the vessel will begin unloading the 7,000-ton beast at Pier 46.
As kids growing up in Seattle, we remember the thrill of driving the Viaduct. And we took great pleasure in taking visitors for a ride; northbound top deck; southbound bottom deck.
See also: Something Heavy This Way Comes ...