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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Something's Fishy

Did I mention Seattle was a fishy place?

They are mighty fond of their fish here, especially the salmon. The locals eat salmon burgers, salmon sausages, smoked, grilled, and poached salmon, for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I haven't looked for salmon ice cream, but it wouldn't surprise me to find it here.

On one of our periodic explorations we visited the fish ladder. A very forward thinking member of the Army Corps of Engineers, Hiram Chittenden devised a watery staircase to help salmon return to their spawning grounds despite the locks in the Ship Canal. It's built into the side of the locks, with a viewing area so popular that tour busses stop here.  While we were down below watching the fish through the glass, a few locals were salivating at the thought of one of these big silvery beauties on their plates. One, a former fisherman said "I used to catch these, but now when I go to the supermarket, I can't bring myself to buy it except as an rare treat".  From the point of view of someone who spent a lot of time in the opposite corner of the country, salmon prices in the Pacific Northwest seem quite reasonable. But there are different types of salmon, and what we were watching was a  Chinook, one of the tastiest.

Above ground, the locks are especially entertaining on a sunny Sunday morning when it is full of pleasure boats wedging themselves in tightly for the ride down to Puget Sound. 

On the opposite bank from the fish ladder is a visitor's center and botanical garden, and some of the original poured-concrete architecture with fishy details (there are small bronze fish around the base of the globe). 

From there we continued along the Burke Gillman trail (it vanishes in Ballard and begins again closer to Puget Sound) to Golden Gardens park.  A beach within easy cycling distance from home, will wonders never cease? It's noting like the salty bathwater of Biscayne Bay from my childhood, but it's still a beach.

Along the way we spotted Ray's, a restaurant that features seafood (of course) and the diners have breathtaking views of the water and the Olympic mountain range in the background.

Out front is a colourful fish-shaped bike rack.  Some sculptural bike racks are next to useless, especially for odd sized bikes, but this one works pretty well. Our little Bromptons nestled in the slots perfectly.

It's time to sign off for now, I need to go fix dinner. . .  fish, of course!
Salmon Waves by Paul Sorey

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