Tribute to a Beach Drive yacht that served her country


What better time than opening day of boating season to look back at a local legend? The Schmitz family yacht named Sans Souci II was 50′ long and weighed in at 8 tons. Built in 1907, she would’ve been 107 years old today! The following photo appears to be during an opening day parade between 1907 to 1917.


After a decade of pleasure use, she was drafted into service by the navy and renamed the USS Sans Souci II.

Sans Souci H, a wooden boat built during 1907 by Frank Tregoning’s yard at Seattle, Wash., was enrolled in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve on 15 June 1917 following United States entry into World War I; delivered to the Navy on 9 July 1917 by her owner, D. G. Schmitz of Seattle; and commissioned on 1 August 1917, Chief Boatswain’s Mate R. W. Capps, USNRF, in command.

Assigned to local duty within the 13th Naval District, Sans Souci II operated on patrol duty from Seattle until September 1917. She also served, briefly, as a tender to Philadelphia (Cruiser No. 4), the receiving ship at Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., during late 1917. Sans Souci II resumed patrol duty in Puget Sound, frequently operating with, or alternating with, SC-300, until 23 December 1918. She then remained inactive until decommissioned on 7 February 1919 and was struck from the Navy list the same day. Ordered returned to her owner on 26 March 1919, Sans Souci II remained on yacht registers into the early 1930′s.

This rare photo, courtesy of the fine folks at The Log House Museum/SWSHS, show her freshly decommissioned and still in uniform…


Circa 1919, anchored in front of the Schmitz family estate (mansion in background) which is now known as Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park on Beach Drive SW

Soon after decommissioning, this WWI veteran resumed her duty as a pleasure yacht. Here she is in of my favorite photos entertaining some beach Drive residents in their groovy roaring 20′s swimwear…


 Photo courtesy of Log House Museum/SWSHS book “West Seattle”

If some evening you’re awakened by a deep rumbling off the shores of Beach Drive, just might be the ghost of the Sans Souci II making way towards Alki Point!




 Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Are you missing a kayak?

UPDATE 9:50 AM: The kayak is being retrieved by the SPD.



There appears to be a submerged kayak floating off the shores of Emma Schmitz Park this morning.

kayak kayak_002

The Seattle Police Department has a boat that just happens to be in Port Orchard, that will be checking this out. The Coast Guard has been notified as well.

Argosy Christmas Ships Cruising by West Seattle tonight

Quick reminder: the Argosy Christmas Ships will be stopping by Manchester and Salties on Alki tonight. With our nice clear weather, we should have a nice view from our homes or you can go down to Salties to enjoy!

PS: If you have holiday photos of your Beach Drive homes or pets, please feel free to share them with us! Happy Holidays!

Could be a wild ride!

I was a bit surprised to see a few boats still on their moorage buoys this afternoon. Past Septembers have been pretty mild as far as wind & waves but this one’s a different story. Tonight’s forecast of an all out storm fits weather patterns in November thru February rather than a summer month.

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Tall ship riding the out going tide & the pic of the week

Caught up with the Hawaiian Chieftain square rigger on it’s way from Port Orchard to Kirkland where she’ll be fixing her canons on the Lady Washington! Carillon Point Marina will host the two traditional sailing vessels for mock battles and ship tours thru Sept 2nd.



And here is our pic of the week taken by Ron Sterling across the street from Lowman Beach. The controversial Murray CSO Control Facility is in full swing…


 Say goodbye to this 1926 duplex and the other long-standing houses along the strip.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog 




Big bottom fishing bust happening off Beach Drive

A frequent visitor to the south Alki “Rock Pile” reef appears to be suspected for illegal fishing. The authorities have been rafted up for at least an hour searching and confiscating what must be illegal fish. This has been a regular stop for this boat over the last couple of years.

DSC_0888The boat registration appears to be from Oregon

With a view from my telescope, I can see handcuffs being put on a couple of the men and a telephones being passed between the 10 fishermen/women/children and the authority. Might be a language barrier. Poles have been confiscated and paperwork passed out.

The bottomfish rules for Area 10 are as follows…


DSC_0904Several fish have been thrown to the gulls. We may be reading about this on a poaching enforcement site soon!


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

New rest-stop for seals installed off of Beach Drive SW

As a neighbor and I were tracking down the impending giant herd of pink salmon, we noticed that the old buoy off of Alki Point mysteriously disappeared while this new one near Lincoln Park magically appeared!


This new scientific research buoy installed by King County Natural Resources & Parks will be measuring all kinds of data regarding our local water quality.  A member of the water quality team kindly sent us this info:

A  new marine buoy was successfully deployed on July 30th off of Point Williams (West Seattle) in Central Puget Sound by staff of the King County Environmental Laboratory’s Field Science Unit. The buoy is anchored at a depth of approximately 550 feet.   An in situ water quality monitoring system is contained on the buoy and consists of water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, nitrate, and depth sensors that collect data measurements every 15-minutes. The sensors are suspended below the buoy at a depth of about 1 meter.  Data are sent via a cell-phone in near real-time to the County’s marine mooring webpage where the public can access the data.  The webpage can be found at

This in situ water quality monitoring system is one of four systems of this type that collect high temporal resolution data that are used to evaluate daily, and sometimes hourly, variability in Puget Sound marine waters.  The data are integrated into the County’s monthly marine monitoring program in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of marine water quality dynamics.


She also stated that this new and improved float is a replacement for the buoy that was located off of Alki Point. Apparently the Alki buoy had a pretty tough time weathering our recent winter storms. This new model is much beefier and will hopefully hang for it’s five year stint as stated on it’s Application for Use.


researchbouyThis photo from Natural Resources appears to be working with the old Alki buoy. The newer version off of Lincoln Park is said to be much easier to maintain “With the new and improved design, they just have to lift up a cable and change a connection—WAY better and safer.”


The nice folks at the DNR followed up with a live link to the science buoy:  He said “Just mouse over the green dot on the proper location and you will get the most up to date data.  Click on the dot and you can view graphs and download data. Note that the Seattle Aquarium unit provides very interesting data.  You can compare the 1 meter data to 10 meters, which often times shows huge discrepancies due to the fresh water coming out of the Duwamish River.”

 The gentleman that maintains the DNR buoys also wanted to leave his phone number (206-684-2323) if anyone notices if the light on top stops flashing or any other obvious damage that can lead to a navigational hazard. Boarding or approaching a state owned buoy too closely is illegal.

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Delta Marine Superyacht Invictus cruising off the shores of Beach Drive

It’s hard to miss this 215 foot yacht, even through tonight’s misty Puget Sound waters.

Delta Marine Invictus



Delta Marine’s project name for this superyacht is “Invictus”, check out more information here.

Low Tides uncover cool West Seattle history


With much of our industrial history only dating back a hundred years or so, the lowest tides of the season still show-off West Seattle’s colorful past.  Today’s low tide of -3.7 was about as low as we’re going to see this year so I figured a walk around the point was in order. The first stop was checking out the pilings rearing their worn heads from the early 1900′s off of Weather Watch Park at Carroll Street SW.


Some of the only history I’ve been able to find about the old pier is the verbal account of Ada Hallberg  published in the newsletter Footprints of the SSWHS

There was a pier at Carroll St. in the early 1900’s; it was a regular port of call for the little steamer Eagle, which carried passengers to several ports on the Sound, including this little village of South Alki. Villagers would gather here when the steamer docked to meet the passengers. It was a time that neighbors met to greet each other and to visit with each other whether they expected a passenger or not. It was a gathering place for people whose homes were a considerable distance from each other.

The only other evidence of a substantial pier existing at this location is from a USCG chart dated 1918. I have inquiries into the Log House Museum as well as the Puget Sound Maritime Museum for any vintage photos showing this location was a launch (40ft or less) for Mosquito fleet steamers. The steamer Eagle was reported to have burnt & sunk in it’s home port of Winslow in the Spring of 1903. Many blamed the misfortune on an improper christening!  NOT THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FISHING HOLES but I can personally attest to the unusual deep underwater ravine located just off the park…



Next stop is some submerged pilings found on the south-end of Alki Beach. This was the southern stretch of several piers along Alki Beach…



Photo courtesy of BDB’s Rhonda Porter


This Seattle Archived photo 1936 shows the pier off in the distance.

Third stop is the site of the biggest, most bestest amusement park west of Chicago





A shot of the pier and support pilings of Luna Park & a protected niche for repairing halibut fishing boats 

Fourth point of interest was the dawning of of Seattle’s first regular ferry service (outside the Mosquito fleet) near what is now Seacrest Park. An excerpt from History Link

The company built a dock near today’s Seacrest Marina and began offering regular service to downtown Seattle on a steam-powered sidewheeler named the City of Seattle, the first bona fide ferry on Puget Sound, launched December 24, 1888. The crossing took eight minutes. One hundred and thirteen years, ten bridges, and tens of millions of dollars later, the City of Seattle still holds the record for the fastest trip between Seattle and West Seattle.





Finally, I wonder where these tracks and ramps led to…



Davy’s Locker perhaps???


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


Marine Seal boards boat anchored off Beach Drive

Spotted this big fella posing on the back of a fishing boat this afternoon. And to think Beach Drive boat owner’s worry about seagull poop!


Looks like he could eat that outboard with just one bite


Scupper reporting for Beach Drive Blog (yes, that’s my boat!)