North­west Neck­lace

Suncruiser West Coast - - Contents - WORDS BY PERRY MACK

An or­ange sun is mo­men­tar­ily sus­pended above the blaz­ing hori­zon, and then it touches down, light­ing the Sal­ish Sea on fire for only mo­ments be­fore it sinks and is com­pletely ex­tin­guished. Dun­lin scurry fran­ti­cally across the wet sand and surf search­ing for sa­vory marine worms and mol­lusks. But we’ve brought our own pic­nic rather than in­dulge in their ver­sion of culi­nary heaven.

The Pa­cific Fly­way is a route dot­ted by favourite des­ti­na­tions that mi­gra­tory birds have cho­sen after thou­sands of years of re­search and ex­plo­ration. They must be on to some­thing. One of those stops is the 13 km (8 mi) cir­cle route de­scribed as the North­west Neck­lace. Semi­ah­moo Spit and Blaine ma­rina make up the clasps of this ‘neck­lace’, which cir­cles Dray­ton Har­bor at the north­west cor­ner of Washington state. Your ex­plo­ration be­gins with a choice as you en­ter Dray­ton Har­bor. To your port side is the pub­lic ma­rina of Blaine Har­bor while on the star­board side is the pri­vate Semi­ah­moo Ma­rina, ad­ja­cent to Semi­ah­moo Re­sort on the south­west strip of Semi­ah­moo Spit. This pri­vately owned ma­rina has vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing a boater re­quires in­clud­ing a chan­dlery, ma­rina store with café, and a gift shop. In ad­di­tion to these es­sen­tials, there are two restau­rants, a fit­ness cen­tre, and the lux­ury of lux­u­ries – a spa.

The spit has kilo­me­tres of walk­ing and bik­ing trails. Bring your binoc­u­lars and your cam­era to cap­ture the naïve wildlife at the end of your lenses. Ea­gles glide on

in­vis­i­ble up­drafts while shore­birds scurry through the gen­tle surf on the shore. The Alaska Pack­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (APA) Can­nery Mu­seum is the site of what was once the world’s largest salmon can­nery for al­most eight decades. Photos, videos and arte­facts in­clud­ing a 29 ft sail­boat de­scribe one of the re­gions great­est in­flu­ences.

And while walk­ing is a time-trusted mode of trans­porta­tion, you can also ex­plore the area by rent­ing bikes, scoot­ers and kayaks. Dur­ing the sum­mer months (Fri­day- Sun­day) hop aboard the His­toric Plover Pas­sen­ger ferry for a scenic ride be­tween Semi­ah­moo Spit and Blaine Har­bor.

It wouldn’t be play­time with­out a swing­ing a club at ei­ther the 18-hole Semi­ah­moo Golf and Coun­try Club, or the nine-hole Birch Bay Vil­lage Golf Course. But if golf’s not your game, in­dulge in coastal past times like dig­ging for clams, beach comb­ing and watch­ing the shore­birds. Hik­ing the North­west Neck­lace will have you stop­ping at var­i­ous view­points where you can take a deep breath of sea air and ex­hale the ten­sions of the daily grind.

Blaine Har­bor is an­other five-star En­vi­rostar rated mod­ern pro­tected ma­rina with 630 slips and 245 m (800 ft) of dock re­served for vis­i­tor moor­age. A re­lax­ing walk has you in the town of Blaine where you can find the aptly named Peace Arch State Park con­tain­ing the 20.5 m (67 ft) Peace Arch, which com­mem­o­rates the sign­ing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, declar­ing the end of the War of 1812. Here you’ll find ev­ery­thing from ice cream to oys­ters, and steak­houses to burger joints.

Whether a way­point or a des­ti­na­tion, add the North­west Neck­lace to part of your jour­ney on the Sal­ish Sea in 2017. For more In­for­ma­tion con­tact Blaine Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter at (360) 3324544 or at www.blainecham­

SEMI­AH­MOO MA­RINA www.semi­ah­mooma­ or call: (360) 371-0440

BLAINE HAR­BOR www.portof­belling­ or call: (360) 647-6176

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