Category Archives: hansville

Orcas make a memorable visit

The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.
The big guy got close. Photo taken from video shot by Emilee Wright Fyffe.

It was May 2002 I drove up from Camas, Wash. to interview here. Another reporter had already been picked for the job I was after, but the editors told me I’d likely be luckier in the summer. I didn’t know if I would want a job here, but I knew I wanted to want the job.

The drive in was beautiful until I hit Gorst and coming into 2002 Bremerton didn’t make me feel any better. The whole time, though, I knew there had to be something cool about this place for Money Magazine to have given it the label as the best place to live in America in the early 1990s.  During lunch on the deck at the Boat Shed we watched three eagles circling our side of the Manette Bridge, which for me was a positive development. What sealed it happened after I left the office. It was the ferry ride. Within about 2 minutes I told myself, “We have to live here.”

The other notion that fascinated me was the idea that on any given day I might be near water in which I could see orcas. I had been to Sea World in San Diego as a kid, back when most of us bought into the idea that zoos and ocean parks were good because it gave us a chance to see something we otherwise wouldn’t. It took about 30 years and one viewing of Free Willy to call that idea into question. I wanted to see orcas in the wild. This was the place.

My luck there has been spotty, but within three years I saw them twice, once in Silverdale and once on the ferry to Seattle when I was headed there for work to greet a veteran coming home on Christmas Day. Those were both distant and fleeting viewings. It took several more years to spot any more, and that was a good one. One day after work I heard the whales were in Bremerton and I drove to Bachmann Park, knowing that was their likely path out. I scored as I watched them pass all too quickly.

I don’t know that it can get any better than it was on Monday, though. We had family in town from Utah and decided to spend part of Memorial Day at Point No Point Park in Hansville. While I dozed off in a camp chair I heard my sister in law yell that there was a killer whale. It was a great scene out in the water as the whales headed south, then stopped in a spot for a while. We guessed they were feeding on salmon.

And then, like a miracle, one giant orca surfaced probably 50 feet from shore. The entire beach began to follow it then, and the visitor gave us one more view.

This is one of those times we’re not only lucky to live where we do, but when we do. I had left my phone in the car, but I was the only one. There were plenty of cameras pointed at the ocean to capture the action. My thanks to Emilee Wright Fyffe for sharing the video.

If you’re among those whose luck has not been this “amazing,” have faith that your day will come.

Enjoy the video. The first 1 minute 30 seconds was the kind of sighting I had always envisioned at Point No Point. I wasn’t counting on “amazing.” The big guy makes two appearances in the last part of the video to make that happen.

Traffic engineering terms in Hansville speed tables study explained

The first installment of a two-day traffic-calming series looked at a $57,000 traffic study completed by Kirkland’s Transpo Group.
There were two traffic engineering terms — 85th percentile speed and collision rates — in Sunday’s story that deserve further explanation because, as Jon Pascal from Transpo Group, put it, “those are engineering terms (that) are hard to describe.”
The first term, 85th percentile speed, refers to the number of drivers who traveled at or below the recorded speeds, Pascal said.
It’s one of the ways traffic engineers determine what the average traveling speeds of drivers are. The 85th percentile model presumes that the remaining percentage of travelers will always speed excessively, regardless of road engineering.
On Hood Canal Drive, the study said, “The 85th percentile speed ranges between 42 to 46 mph prior to speed tables and 35 to 46 mph after the tables were installed.”

What this means is that 85 percent of travelers on Hood Canal drove at 42 to 46 mph or below before the tables were installed, Pascal said. The speed range was given to account for the three speed study locations placed on Hood Canal Drive for the study. So hypothetically, of the 85 percent of drivers, a number of them could have been going under the 42 to 46 mph speed range. The same logic would be applied to the 85th percentile speed  for the 35 to 46 mph speed range after table installation.

Collision rates presented in the study were also perplexing.

Engineers came up with numbers such as 0.3, 0.7 and 1.7 collisions by dividing the number of annual collisions by the number of years the study looked at, which in this case was three years before the tables were installed and three years after installation.

For instance, on Twin Spits Road, the study said there were 0.3 collisions per year from 2007 to 2010. So, within that three year period, there was about one collision a year after the tables were installed. On Hood Canal Drive, there was about 2 collisions per year from 2004 to 2007 ( 0.7 collisions annually) and about five collisions from 2007 to 2010 (1.7 collisions annually.)

Pascal said Transpo Group engineers rounded the numbers for the sake of table presentation.

Here’s a link to the report: Hansville traffic calming study