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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

August 6, 2010 at 5:15 PM

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Visit fleeting for busy sailor

Posted by Gabriel Campanario

fleetweeksailor-m.jpg

Sketched Aug. 4, 4:28 p.m. [Click sketches to see larger]

I've recently been near cargo and cruise ships at Port of Seattle, so it seemed fitting to round up my experience of the waterfront with a visit to the war ships coming to Elliott Bay for Seafair's Fleet Week.

On Wednesday, I met lieutenant junior grade Samuel P. Drake aboard the San Diego-based destroyer USS Kidd, which is docked at Pier 66. The 25-year-old officer, originally of Amherst, N.H., is looking forward to setting foot in Seattle, a city he knows only from the TV sitcom "Frasier." But he will get just a few hours off the ship, one of three U.S. Navy vessels coming to Elliott Bay this year.

In two years of service, Drake has been to Japan, Thailand and Singapore. However, six-month stints on the 270-crew Navy ship are no cruise. Officers must be able to do any job on the ship, from driving it to operating the guns, said Drake. "I've definitely had times when I've worked 18-hour days."

Drake is excited to meet visitors as he leads tours of the ship through the weekend. The ship is like a small town where everybody knows each other, he said. "It's nice to see other folks."

If you plan to take the tour, be prepared to go up and down steep stairs as you navigate through the narrow halls inside the vessel. You'll also step on the helipad, see the "mess decks" where the sailors eat and take in the view from the bridge. Also, don't forget to bring your Photo ID for the security check.

Fleet Week ships are open to the public Saturday (9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.) Information at seafair.com.

usskidd080510-m.jpg

Sketched Aug. 5, 1:14 p.m. [Click sketches to see larger]

A Coast Guard boat patrols the waters near the USS Kidd at Pier 66.

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COMING UP: Next week I may visit Freeway Park at Seneca Street. Have you been there? I've heard about free meditation lessons taking place there through Sept. 1. I'm intrigued by the idea of spending a contemplative moment near the roaring sound of cars going trough I-5.

I'm always happy to hear sketching suggestions from readers. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at gcampanario at seattletimes dot com. I read all the emails I get and try to reply as many as I can. You may also follow my work on Twitter and Facebook. Have a great weekend!

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