The Seattle Waterfront Webcam (SWW) began life as the Puget Sound Cam on April 1, 2009. The original camera was linked to the Northwest Wining and Dining website and had 10,486 discrete views before it clocked its last image in December 2017.
Much like NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which operated heroically for 20 years and far exceeded its original mission and expected duration, the Puget Sound Cam enjoyed a remarkably long and colorful run. This inexpensive piece of equipment was rudimentary by today’s standards, capable of taking still shots only when it was “tripped” by outside movements.
Reborn with state-of-the-art equipment and a new name to better define its line of vision and purpose, the Seattle Waterfront Webcam is now linked to its own distinct URL and website.
On April 11, 2018, the latest version of the Seattle Waterfront Webcam began live-streaming images of the traffic flowing across the Alaskan Way Viaduct (part of Washington State Route 99, a.k.a., Highway 99). This major artery, which runs north to south through downtown Seattle, will be leveled in 2019 to create a new Waterfront Park. It will be exciting to watch as the demolition crews dismantle the old viaduct piece by piece (no explosives allowed)!
The webcam also documents the activity in Seattle’s Elliott Bay, which is part of Puget Sound. Through an intricate set of waterways, this “inland sea” runs about 50 miles to the Washington coast and the Pacific Ocean.
By logging onto the Seattle Waterfront Webcam you can watch Washington State ferries (the largest ferry system in the world!) wend their way toward Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. Giant ocean-going cargo ships, their rectangular containers piled like colorful building blocks, also ply the Sound under the careful direction of skillful harbor pilots navigating squat tugboats.
West Seattle hovers across the Bay. The camera points to the northern tip of Duwamish Head. Just around the bend lies Alki Beach, the site where the original settlers of Seattle—the Denny Party—landed. They lasted one miserable, muddy winter there, then moved to the more habitable Pioneer Square to build a new city.
On those rare days when the clouds part and the sun makes an appearance, you might even spot the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountain Range glistening in the distance.