Back to Warm Weather

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The Pacific Northwest often has wonderfully clear fall weather, with temperatures warm enough to eat outside, and this year was no exception. Except for a couple of days of heavy rain, we experienced September temperatures that often were above 70°F (21°C) and enjoyed many meals outside under a cloudless blue sky. And the wonderful weather continued right to the end of the month for a weekend trip to Victoria to celebrate the 70th birthday of James’ uncle Neil.

We didn’t actually enjoy the warm weather until partway through the month, however. On September 1 we were aboard Le Commandant Charcot, making our way south through the ice from a spectacular trip to the North Pole, and spent the first ten days of the month bundled up in Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. Although the temperatures were cool, we enjoyed our time in Iceland and Greenland so much that we’ve booked another trip aboard Le Commandant Charcot to Greenland, and will explore more of Iceland beforehand.

With baseball season nearly over and football season just starting, in September we attended our final Seattle Mariners baseball game of the year and our first regular season Seattle Seahawks football game. And near the end of the month, James had the first of two scheduled eye surgeries to to resolve a cataract issue and alleviate an acute closed-angle glaucoma risk. Both eyes made it through the surgery without complication and, in addition to the glaucoma issue being resolved, his vision was also greatly improved. It’s far from perfect, but both eyes are better.

Below are highlights from September 1 through 30th, 2023. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a map with our most recent log entries always is available at

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Heading South
Heading south after a 24 hours spent at the North Pole. Only about 22,000 people have ever stood there.
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Broken Ice
Huge chunks of ice, 1-2m thick, broken by Le Commandant Charcot as the ship works through the pack ice.
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Hot Tub
Enjoying the trip through the pack ice from the hot tub on the patio of our stateroom at the stern of Le Commandant Charcot.
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Sunday Brunch
One portion of the amazing spread for Sunday Brunch aboard Le Commandant Charcot.
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Zodiac Excursion
Out for our first zodiac excursion of the trip on a windy day at the island of Kvitoya in northeast Svalbard.
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The island of Kvitoya in northeast Svalbard is almost completely covered by the icecap Kvityjkulen.
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Polar Bear
A polar bear resting on a small patch of land on the southwest tip of Kvitoya in northeast Svalbard.
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Wine Tasting
After our wild and windy zodiac trip to Kvitoya, we enjoyed a completely different experience with an educational wine tasting on board Le Commandant Charcot.
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We got our first taste of Svalbard back in 2018 when Dirona was in Tromso, Norway and we flew to Longyearbyen for three nights. We really enjoyed the raw beauty of Svalbard, and wanted to see more. Our North Pole itinerary aboard Le Commandant Charcot didn’t include spending time in Svalbard, however, as we’d be heading directly to the North Pole, and from there to Iceland.

We were thrilled then, when the crew announced during our trip south from the pole that we’d be spending a few days along the coast of Svalbard. As with our trip to Antarctica, the actual itinerary is quite fluid. The main goal of this trip was, of course, to reach the North Pole. But once that was achieved with time to spare, other destinations were added.

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Greenland has long been high on our list of places to visit. We love high latitudes and wild, untamed places. Our initial plan for eventually returning to North America from Europe on Dirona was to travel the “Viking Route” from the Faroe Islands to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland. We didn’t have a firm timeframe in mind, but we looked forward to spending significant time in Greenland as part of that itinerary, and possibly returning in following summers after wintering along the US east coast.

We ended up returning to the US via the Azores, and didn’t get a chance to visit Greenland, but it still called to us. We were super-excited, therefore, when we learned that Le Commandant Charcot would be making a stop in Greenland en route from Svalbard to Iceland.

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Along with Greenland, Iceland also has been high on our list of places to visit for its spectacular natural beauty. We expected to spend several weeks touring the country while visiting on Dirona, but that didn’t come to be. So when we booked the trip to the North Pole on Le Commandant Charcot and one of the four itineraries included a disembarkation in Iceland, we jumped at the opportunity. We only spent a night there before flying home, but the small taste we got of the country had us wanting more.

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Reykjanes Peninsula
The Reykjanes Peninsula, also known as the Southern Peninsula, juts into the North Atlantic Ocean from Iceland’s southwest corner. Lying directly over the Mid Atlantic Ridge, one of the larges tectonic plate boundaries in the world, the area is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. Recently, much of the peninsula is under volcano watch after thousands of earthquakes hit the area and a major eruption appears imminent.

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North Tower Parking Spot
The annual garage washing in our apartment building is taking place this week so we needed to move our car out of the south tower garage. We have an extra spot in the other tower that we can park it temporarily, but it’s really tight for our Honda Passport.
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Pickleball Courts
As part of a downtown revitalization project, the City of Seattle shut down 5th Ave between Denny and Wall last weekend for a youth basketball tournament and this weekend for a pickleball tournament. We watched from our apartment as workers laid out the blue pickleball courts this morning.
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Some brickwork has already been installed on the 4th & Bell apartment building.
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Norwegian Bliss
The cruise ship Norwegian Bliss, sistership to the Norwegian Encore that we took on our Caribbean cruise, moored at Pier 66 in Elliott Bay.
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Edgewater Hotel
The bow of the Norwegian Bliss towering over the Edgewater Hotel. We enjoy watching the cruise ships depart from the Edgewater’s terrace, where the ships seems close enough to reach out and touch.
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Bell Street Diner
When we’re in town on a summer weekend, we often have lunch on the patio at Bell Street Diner with a view to whatever cruise ship is docked at Pier 66. Today it is the Norwegian Bliss.
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The two towers of our apartment complex, Insignia, viewed from the bottom of Bell Street. Our apartment is just barely visible in the top left of the right tower. The apartment building under construction at 4th & Bell, in the foreground, will soon block our view of the water between Bell and Battery streets.
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Mexican Independence Day
As we walked through our Belltown neighborhood today, we saw dozens of dune buggies flying Mexican Flags in celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Today in 1810, Mexico became an independent nation from Spain.
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Seattle Street Art
Seattle is full of excellent street art, such as this mural on the Base Camp Studio building at 1st and Wall.
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Pickleball for All
On our way back to our apartment, we stopped to take in the action at the Pickleball for All Tournament that we’d watched being setup earlier.
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James got a crazy-huge dessert at the Seattle Mariners’ Diamond Club before the game this evening. We’re generally not big dessert eaters, but might as well go big if you’re going to have one at all.
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Mariners Dugout
View to the Mariners dugout from our seats as Seattle takes on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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IF Positioning
Infield (IF) positioning chart visible in the Seattle Mariners dugout. The three-page chart shows how the infield should be positioned for Mariners’ pitcher Andres Munoz based on various on-base scenarios, with one row for each batter in the Dodgers’ lineup. We found it super-interesting.
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Here Today
Enjoying a hazy IPA tasting flight at one of our favorite summer haunts, Here Today brewery near the waterfront.
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Pickleball Teardown
The pickleball courts were being disassembled and loaded into a truck as we returned back home from lunch today.
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Sunset over Elliott Bay
A spectacular golden sunset over Elliott Bay this evening.
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First Hill Surgery Center
James wears glasses rather than contacts to avoid even the slightest risk of eye problems. He wouldn’t go near laser corrective surgery, not because it’s unsafe, but only because wearing glasses is safer than corrective eye surgery. So, you can imagine how happy he is to be heading in for eye surgery this morning. In fact, he’s been so eager to get this surgery done that he has waited four years and until three ophthalmologists each independently come to the same surgical recommendation. Today is the day!
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Belltown 36
Looking up from the street to the Belltown 36 apartment building under construction at 4th & Bell, 2 blocks west of our building. The complex initially was planned for 29 stories, but we’ve been told the builders received approval for a few more floors. Right now they are completing the 27th floor.
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71 F
The temperature is a wonderfully warm 71°F (21.7°C) this late September evening in Seattle.
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Anthony’s Pier 66
Dinner on the terrace at Anthony’s Pier 66 restaurant at the foot of Bell Street. We used to eat here a lot when we lived aboard in Bell Harbor Marina, visible in the background, but haven’t been for ages. At far right is the stern of the Norwegian Sun cruise ship moored at Pier 66.
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Line Handlers
Line handlers using a forklift to release the Norwegian Sun‘s lines from the bollard.
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Norwegian Sun
The Norwegian Sun departing Pier 66 en route to Alaska, viewed from the terrace at Anthony’s Pier 66 restaurant.
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Vindicktive Wings
At Vindicktive Wings in Belltown with Mike Morgan, one of the four co-owners. We love their wings and the general vibe of the place. Rarely a week goes by that we don’t stop in for a wing fix, especially now that they are open for lunch on the weekends.
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The sculpture Re-Stack, by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, at the corner of Thomas St. and 9th Ave. North in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The sculpture was inspired by the old and new of the area: the impressive facades created from stacked stones of the original buildings, and photographs of stacked pallets in the warehouses of the neighborhood’s dominant tenant, Amazon.
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NFL Fans Departing
Some of the 65,000+ football fans departing the game after the Seattle Seahawks’s 37-27 win over the Carolina Panthers.
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Concrete Pour
An amazing 11 concrete trucks on hand for a major pour at BB6/Seattle House, the apartment building under construction to our northeast.
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Several times today, dark black clouds swept across Elliott Bay, bringing heavy rain in their wake. One just hit now.
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A stormy dusk sky looking across Elliott Bay from our Belltown apartment.
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In late September, we made a long-planned weekend trip by floatplane to Victoria to celebrate the 70th birthday of James’ uncle Neil. We spent two nights in our home town, exploring the city, visiting old haunts and new places, and catching up with the Hamilton clan.

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Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map. And a map of our most recent log entries always is available at


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