Suncruiser West Coast - - Contents - STORY BY PERRY MACK

NO MARINE EX­CUR­SION IS COM­PLETE WITH­OUT A STOP AT WASHINGTON’S LARGEST IS­LAND AND NO EX­PE­DI­TION can be joy­fully car­ried out with­out a se­cure home base. Oak Har­bour and the Oak Har­bor Ma­rina on Whid­bey Is­land will pro­vide both.

The north point of the is­land boasts one of the most pho­tographed places in Washington, the De­cep­tion Pass Bridge. Grace­ful, soar­ing arcs cross the open wa­ter, reach­ing a height 55m (180 ft). It is actually two bridges join­ing Whid­bey and Fi­dalgo Is­lands in the most vis­ited state park in Washington, De­cep­tion Pass State Park. The park is a mi­cro­cosm of the best that the re­gion has to of­fer. Hik­ing trails me­an­der through old growth for­est and along rugged coast­lines. Wide swaths of peb­ble beaches pro­vide ex­cel­lent pic­nic ar­eas from which to en­joy the land­scape and wildlife.

Mov­ing south to where you have likely moored your home-away-from-home if you’ve ar­rived by boat, Oak Har­bor is a quaint sea­side town that is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from Oak Har­bor Ma­rina. Hope­fully you’ve packed your sense of ad­ven­ture, as Oak Har­bor is the ‘Play­ground of the Pa­cific North­west’. Aside from boat­ing, marine ad­ven­tures in­clude fish­ing, whale watch­ing, jet ski­ing, kayak­ing and pad­dle­board­ing. While on land you can search for trea­sures beach­comb­ing, hike the trails, bike the streets and path­ways, or swing your clubs golf­ing. The adren­a­line junky in your group might like to try sky­div­ing with truly heart thump­ing views of the is­lands. Fit­ness buffs can get their heart rates up the old fash­ioned way along one of the many run­ning trails.

Oak Har­bor loves pa­rades and fes­ti­vals. Get your Ir­ish green on for the St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade in March, or slip on those wooden clogs for their Hol­land

Hap­pen­ing in April. The Hol­land Hap­pen­ing cel­e­brates the many im­mi­grants who ar­rived on Whid­bey Is­land in the 1860’s adding a unique cul­tural spice to is­land life. The four-day event boasts its own pa­rade, carnival, street fair and more. The sum­mer is a non-stop itin­er­ary of art and an­tique walks, marathon runs, bike races, pa­rades, fish­ing der­bies, and food and mu­sic fes­ti­vals. You can spon­ta­neously ar­rive and cel­e­brate any and ev­ery week­end.

Stock on up es­sen­tials and ac­ces­sories at the Oak Har­bor Farmer’s Mar­ket Thurs­days from 4-7 May through Septem-

ber, and/or visit the Main Street Mar­ket ev­ery Sun­day from 1-4 at the cor­ner of Pioneer Way and Dock Street. Wan­der down SE Pioneer Way, your road to shop­ping his­toric down­town Oak Har­bor.

Dive into the com­mu­nity art scene by en­joy­ing some theatre at the Whid­bey Play­house, and then sat­isfy your thirst for his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge at the PBY Naval Air Mu­seum where knowl­edge­able do­cents will ed­u­cate and en­ter­tain you with tales and tours as you pe­ruse the mem­o­ra­bilia. The mu­seum is named for the fully re­stored PBY. The ‘PB’ stands for ‘Pa­trol Bomber’ and the ‘Y’ for the man­u­fac­turer –in this case – Con­sol­i­dated air­craft. The Cana­dian com­pany, Vick­ers, em­u­lated the de­sign and it was called the PBV.

Oak Har­bor Ma­rina is con­ve­niently lo­cated be­tween Seattle and the San Juan Is­lands. The ma­rina has 420 slips, am­ple guest moor­age, limited side-tie moor­age and 96 dry stor­age sheds. There are show­ers, re­strooms, laun­dry room, ice ma­chine, pic­nic ta­bles in the park and on the guest dock. The guest moor­age is af­ford­able and they al­ways of­fer the 20 cent dis­count on fuel for guests.

A visit to Oak Har­bor is a sen­sory cel­e­bra­tion for the soul. Start by mak­ing it a port of call with your body this sum­mer.

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