Food

Crab Cruise

Lunch with a view

Attend

What: Deception Pass Lunch Cruise

Where: Channel Lodge, 205 N. First St., La Conner

More:

WHEN: 11am-1:30pm daily through April 21

Cost: $40-$79

Info: http://www.whales.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

If you’re planning to see the La Conner tulips this spring, consider booking a cruise to Deception Pass with San Juan Cruises.

For two short weeks during tulip season—from 11am-1:30pm daily through April 21—the company will be taking daily lunch cruises through the Swinomish Channel, into the Saratoga Passage, and beneath the Deception Pass bridge. Superbly narrated and showcasing great scenery, this is a rare opportunity to experience Deception Pass from the comfort of a large vessel.

The day we embarked the sky was overcast but the water was calm and all ours, with barely another vessel in sight. We started through the Swinomish Channel, a dredged channel that separates Fidalgo Island from the artist community of La Conner.

“La Conner was once a contender for the county seat,” Captain James Dale said from the bridge. “It went to Mount Vernon instead because of that channel—they couldn’t get any large vessels through it.”

The channel offers great viewing opportunities of the waterfront dream homes that line the passage, some of them perched on impossibly sheer, rocky bluffs. Over a delicious Dungeness crab and Tuscan baked chicken lunch that included roasted potatoes, broccoli salad, fresh bread and dessert and was enhanced by the scenery surrounding us, we passed deserted, log-strewn beaches, low tide flats presided over by bald eagles, and logs atop which double-crested cormorants fanned their wings.

Birdwatchers will especially love the viewing opportunities aboard this cruise. In two short hours we passed pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, eagles and kingfishers. At a rocky outcropping we watched the expressive faces of harbor seals swimming close by.

Tons of history can be found in and around these waters. Goat Island, for example, was once the location of a gun installation designed to protect Saratoga Passage from the threat of invasion. The remnants of an old dock, used to bring equipment to the island, remain and the presence of airplanes overhead reminds passengers how close they are to the Whidbey Island Naval Air station—the military presence still a strong influence in the landscape to this day.

As we approached the Deception Pass bridge, Jensen cautioned us to look out for whirlpools caused by fast-moving currents. The current flowing beneath the bridge is one of the strongest in the state, running at as many as nine knots at peak tides. “At mass current, 3.5 million cubic feet of water per second is flowing beneath the bridge,” the captain explained.

The bridge is a landmark on the tour, a feat accomplished in one year by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1933. Fishermen cast for salmon off the quiet beaches of Deception Pass State Park, and we were just 80 miles north of where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean when we turned around and headed back.

The entrance to the strait, just 25 miles wide, was hard to find for early seafaring explorers. “In 1778, Captain Cook came close but he misssed it and landed at Nootka Sound instead,” Jensen told us.

From the 100-foot depths of Deception Pass, we made our way back through the Swinomish Channel, a waterway that is just 10 feet deep and still requires dredging so that vessels may move through it. The restaurants, art galleries, cafes and gift shops on La Conner’s sleepy main drag beckon with good food, handmade wares and unique treasures, while the fields are awash with budding flowers, a vibrant explosion of spring color that stimulates appetites and lifts spirits.

The gray clouds were almost behind us and Washington state was starting to unfurl after a long winter and reveal its best features as it does every spring and summer. The La Conner Cruise was a great kickoff to the season and the perfect complement to a day of tulip-viewing in Skagit County.

Alan Doyle
More Food...
Tulip Tour
Leave room for ice cream

The joke in Skagit Valley around this time of year is that it’s not tulips we’re celebrating, but the Skagit Traffic Festival. Hours on the freeway can easily be followed by hours sitting on rural backroads in bumper-to-bumper backups, especially on a sunny weekend when the fields are in…

more »
Pint Party
Bellingham Beer Week

The fourth annual Beer Olympics happening from 5pm-10pm Fri., April 19 at Kulshan Brewery serves as the official kickoff for this year’s Bellingham Beer Week, but don’t let the title of this particular gathering fool you.

While it’s true 22 teams will compete in eight games for bragging…

more »
New Beginnings
Fresh starts in Fairhaven

When the Bellingham Public Market closed last August, patrons of its primary tenant, Terra Organic & Natural Foods, were understandably upset that the establishment where they’d purchased sustainable and locally sourced groceries for more than 20 years was going out of business.

Although…

more »
Events
Today
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Student and Community Job Fair

10:00am|Whatcom Community College

Skagit Valley College Sustainability Fair

10:00am|Skagit Valley College

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Alt Reads

3:00pm|Everson Library

Kids for Peace Write Now

4:00pm|Village Books

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

The Success Lie

7:00pm|Village Books

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Salish Sea Intertidal Life

7:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Neil Berg
Tomorrow
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Spring Book Sale

10:00am|Deming Library

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

SPA Talk with Bradley James Lockhart

2:30pm|St. Paul's Academy

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

First Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Poetry Party

5:00pm|Upper Skagit Library

Building Dreams Dinner and Auction

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Raise the Roof Auction and Trashion Show

5:30pm|Depot Market Square

North Cascades Community Orchestra

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Village Books Neil Berg
Saturday
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

10:00am|Skagit Valley

Bellingham Beer Week

12:00pm|Throughout Bellingham

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

10:00am

Robin Hood, a Musical

7:00pm|Sedro-Woolley High School

Eurydice

7:00pm|Squalicum High School,

Unstable By Design

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Chanticleer Authors Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Linuxfest Northwest

3:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Genre Legends, Hot Dogs

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall, Anacortes-Westminster Presbyterian Church

The Coronation of Poppea

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Mainstage

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Dealer Demo Day

9:00am|Fanatik Bike Co.

Everson Garden Club Plant Sale

9:00am|Everson Elementary School

Have a Heart Family Fun Run

9:00am|Edgewater Park

Anacortes Vintage by the Sea

9:00am|Anacortes Port Transit Event Center

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association

Independent Bookstore Day

9:00am|Village Books

Rise Against Hunger

9:00am| St. Luke's Community Health Education Center

Seedlings, Starts and Garden Goodies Swap and Giveaway

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Backyard Habitat Native Flora Fair

10:00am|Fairhaven Village Green

WoodFest

10:00am|Sedro-Woolley High School

Contemplative Brush and Japanese Washi Papers

10:00am|Blaine Harbor Center

Local Author/Illustrator Open House

10:00am|South Whatcom Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Dia de los niños/Dia de los libros

10:00am|Lynden Library

We Are Skookum Scavenger Hunt

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Dakota Art Store Anniversary Art Expo

10:00am|Dakota Art Store

Vaisakhi Festival

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Tomato Growing Tips and Tricks

11:00am|Joe's Gardens

Getting Your Hand Dirty

11:00am|North Fork Library

The Greatest Sideshow in Sedro-Woolley

12:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Learn to Grow Fruit Trees

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Little Farm Homegrown

2:00pm|Everson Library

Garage Wine Company Tasting

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Sudden Valley Jazz Series

3:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Interwoven Lives

4:00pm|Village Books

FiberFest

4:00pm|Maple Hall

April Brews Day

6:30pm|Depot Market Square

Guemes Island gets lit

6:30pm

Contra Dance with Heliotrope

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Poetry Duo

7:00pm|Village Books

Swing Into Spring

7:00pm|Pioneer Pavilion Community Center

Bellingham Community Band's Appalachian Spring

7:00pm|Syre Center

Jennifer Scott, Rene Worst, and Bill Coon

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Skagit Valley Chorale's American Journeys

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Artrageous

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Trove Web Neil Berg Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1