Above, the figurehead of Lady Washington, which arrived for its annual visit to Brownsville Aug. 7. Right, Skookum is a pile-driving crane barge owned by Quigg Brothers. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Tall ship, tall crane at Brownsville

BROWNSVILLE — The skyline at the Port of Brownsville got temporarily taller this week.

In addition to the towering masts of the visiting tall ship, Lady Washington, an even loftier pile driver crane barge, Skookum, was inside the marina, pulling out old wooden pilings and pounding in steel ones.

The Lady Washington arrived for its annual visit the evening of Aug. 7 and tied up on the outside of the east breakwater. The following day, Aug. 8, was a day off for the crew.

Then, on Aug. 9, the ship was open to the public for free walk-aboard tours from 1-5 p.m. Evening sails from 6-8 p.m. that same day were sold out, according to Zachary Stocks, Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport program development officer. The ship carried 45 guests, who each paid $42 to $49 for a cruise.

“We like coming to Brownsville,” Stocks said. “The Port of Brownsville and the Kitsap Maritime Heritage Foundation here have been good partners, have spread the word and provided shore support.”

Another tall ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain, normally joins the Lady Washington at Brownsville. However, this year, the Chieftain was in dry dock at Port Townsend undergoing scheduled maintenance until Aug. 14, Stocks said.

The Skookum, a pile driver crane barge, had arrived several days earlier to assist with the installation of a new B dock. Port Contracts Manager Jerry Rowland said the $333,400 bid to remove this group of old pilings and pound in new ones was won by Quigg Brothers of Aberdeen.

Quigg Brothers is a fourth-generation, family owned construction company “with more than 100 years of experience that employs 65-100 people and specializes in heavy, highway, marine and industrial construction along the Washington coast,” according to its website, www.quiggbros.com.

Replacing B dock is the latest portion of the port’s four-year, $4.2 million renovation project to replace old wooden docks and Styrofoam floats with “more environmentally friendly, 100 percent recyclable aluminum and fiberglass docks with plastic tub floats so they don’t leach anything into the water,” interim Port Manager Matt Appleton said.

The project was financed with a revenue bond.

At Brownsville, the crew of the Skookum had the task of pulling out 14 old creosoted wooden pilings and pounding in nine new, galvanized steel pilings — seven for the new B dock and two on I dock.

(Brownsville Marina’s docks are labeled A, B, C, D, E, F — and I. The A, B, C, D, E and F docks all connect to the 14 foot-wide, concrete I dock, which should have been labeled “G dock” or the “South Breakwater,” Rowland said. “But when it was installed, the first few tenants said ‘This is as big as I-5,’ and the name stuck,’” Rowland laughed.)

When B dock is finished, all of the old wooden docks will have been replaced except for A dock.

Tall plans

The port’s next project is to replace the boat launch and staging area. The state Recreation and Conservancy Office has named this its top grant project for 2017, Rowland said.

Under the terms of the grant, the RCO will pay about $653,600 and the port will match 25 percent of that, some $218,000, he said.

Beyond that, future plans call for replacing A dock and the main walkway leading to the inner marina, replacing the kayak ramp, and dredging the marina, he said.

With all of this renewal, “We like to think we have one of the most modern marinas [in the county],” Appleton said.

— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at tasla@soundpublishing.com.

The Lady Washington was originally constructed to celebrate the Washington Centennial. Today, she and her sister ship, Hawaiian Chieftain, are operated by the nonprofit Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Notice in this photo and others of the Lady Washington that each mast is actually made up of several masts stacked one atop the other, with each one getting smaller in diameter. These so-called “top masts” could be lowered in the event of bad weather. According to Capt. J. B. Morrision, who once commanded the Lady Washington, having top masts is what qualifies a vessel to be called a “tall ship.” Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

The Lady Washington’s figurehead greets the dawn. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

The Skookum, a pile-driving crane barge is owned by Quigg Brothers. The tall “legs” on the sides of the barge are lowered to the sea bed to help the barge stay in position and stabilize it when the crane is in action.

The pile-driving crane places a new galvanized steel piling. The old, creosoted wood pilings the Skookum’s crew pulled earlier are stacked on the barge’s deck. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

The Skookum’s crane dominates the Brownsville Marina skyline, towering over even the tall ship’s masts. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Watching the crane in action was a great spectator sport for marina residents. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Watching the crane in action was a great spectator sport for marina residents. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

Watching the crane in action was a great spectator sport for marina residents. Terryl Asla/Kitsap News Group

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