BLAINE: NORTHWEST NECKLACE
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.blainechamber.com.
SEMIAHMOO MARINA www.semiahmoomarina.com or call: (360) 371-0440
BLAINE HARBOR www.portofbellingham.com or call: (360) 647-6176