The plan with Seattle was to arrive in the 21st, help with boat stuff as the crew would get in on the 20th then set sail to Panama on the 28th.
This hasn’t quite turned out to be the case.
Visit Seattle visited Seattle on the 17th of April, meaning most of the boat maintenance etc had been done before I arrived. Yes, sail days had been set up and there were crew meals to go to, but as a new letter (aka crap sailor), I wasn’t needed on the boat. My time was my own! What does this mean? It means here I am, nearly a week later writing a blog at the top of the Space Needle (as you do) as I have been action-packed ever since.
I arrived in Seattle in Thursday 21st, just in time for the Prize giving later on in the day. I was VERY keen to go to this as they were going to show the supporters video (hurrah!). Following a lengthy email chain with Clipper and a stake-out in the Race office, Vernon who is doing Legs 7&8 too, his partner Sarah & I managed to get tickets . It was then to the Seattle Aquarium: an excellent place for the giving of prizes. Slowly but surely, we saw everyone from Visit Seattle again. It was brilliant to see everyone and also the friends & family that have been following the adventure. After all, I’ve probably spoken more to the shore support over the year than the crew! They then played a rather epic video of the crew on Leg 6 and also the supporters video (hurrah!) that they then left on loop for the rest of the evening (hurrah!) so VS love was shared throughout the night. In the meantime, I was reunited with Emily and we went to explore the aquarium. Highlight: sea otters doing their sea-otter-lying-on-backs-looking-cute thing. I took lots of photos. None of them do the cuteness of the chilling sea otters justice.
After prize giving, the rest of the week was spent exploring. When I say exploring, I really mean moving from cafe to restaurant to bar. Friday was spent…I can’t quite remember what, but we were all together at a restaurant for Tino’s birthday in the evening. Then on Saturday, Jon, Nikolas, Jesse & I formed a crack high-speed walking team to complete the Seattle Urban Trek, aka walking 7 miles and play school games at various stations. We then explored the underground city of Seattle followed by some coffee tasting at Starbucks Roastery.
Sunday was spent mostly getting really wet as I didn’t realise you could borrow umbrellas at our hotel, so Emily I wandered around working the “drowned rat” look. First of all was a breakfast hunt: one of the challenges of not staying in an apartment. Fruit was required as I realised I’d been living pretty much on bread & chowder alone, so granola was assessed (verdict: poor). We then wandered and went for cheesecake en-masse at the Cheesecake Factory (yes! THESE THINGS EXIST!). After all that cake, it was time for a nap. I’ve been trying to pack in as much sleep as possible this week in anticipation of very little of it from tomorrow onwards.
Monday we did some sailing (another post entirely) and then Tuesday was spent being shown some more of the city by my friend Luke’s girlfriend Katrina: this is where I discovered, amongst other things, that Seattle is a place where there really are trolls under bridges. It was then to the Seattle Mariners baseball game to see Huw throw the ceremonial first pitch. This was quite surreal: all the stereotypes I had in my ahead of what a baseball game is like were fulfilled. I didn’t realise though that baseball is rounders! Really, really long rounders.
So now it’s Wednesday, and tomorrow I set sail. No more comfy beds, no more showers, no more wifi (we’ve all been wifi-hopping in the absence of phone data). It’s all about errands today and of course, the Space needle. Seattle has been amazing; relaxed and amazing and it’s definitely somewhere I’ll come back to someday.