Alaska: Seafair 2018, Seattle, WA
The last day in Seattle before heading to Alaska was going to be a sun and fun filled day spent at Seafair 2018 at Genesee Park on the shores of Lake Washington. After watching the Blue Angels depart from Kings County Field two days before I could not wait to watch their full display over Lake Washington.
We packed up the car and headed towards Genesee Park and I was surprised to be able to park close to the entrance to Seafair. Wandering through the food stalls it wasn't long until my mouth was watering and a decision needed to be made on what to have' 0.5kg of fries, giant turkey leg, multiple sausages or tornado potatoes! After grabbing some food and with blue skies and wall to wall sunshine it was time to find the our grandstand seats and watch the hydroplane races, whist waiting for the air display to begin.
The jet powered hydroplanes were completing their practice runs as we took our seats and were soon replaced by some faster runs by large diesel hydroplanes with open cockpits. Once these had got back to their piers, quad bikes came to life and started to move some smaller Formula 1 Tunnel boats around and getting them into the water. The F1 boats warmed up their engines after being dropped off their trailers and began lining up at a jetty in front of our grandstand. They were held in place by members of their teams using poles hooking onto eyes on top of the boat.
The countdown for the race began, after the teams and drivers were introduced, and as soon as the crowd and announcer had said 'go' the boats came to life and sped off across the water. Having never watched power boat racing I was amazed at the speed and manoeuvrability of the F1 tunnel boats. One of the boats had stalled at the start but was soon passing others and making its way through the field. The race was exhilarating with three boats at times being side by side coming into the hairpin bend and on the straights the boats seemed to leave the water completely.
After the race finished there was some lower key entertainment before the start of the air display. First up for the flying display was the A-10 Thunderbolt II demo team. This was a display that I hadn't seen for a number of years and it was great to hear the distinctive whine of the General Electric TF34-GE-100, as this large Close Air Support (CAS) jet was thrown about the sky completing set manoeuvres and simulated attack runs.
The A-10 completed its final pass and disappeared behind the grandstand, only for the air to be filled with the sound of a Merlin engine as a P-51 Mustang arrived in front of the crowd. The P-51 joined with the A-10 to perform a number of passes together as part of the USAF heritage flight to honour Air Force veterans and those serving with in the USAF.
Now it was time for the stars of the show, The Blue Angels. The USMC C-130 'Fat Albert' performed some distant passes and then the smoke came on from the six F/A-18 Hornets as they powered towards the crowd and started their extremely precise and close flying demonstration. The sun glistened off their immaculate blue and yellow Hornets as each manoeuvre was completed, wowing the American crowd.
Once the six jets performed their final low pass it was time to head back to the car and to the airport for our flight with Delta Airlines up to Anchorage for the next part trip, but what a start.