On the WaterfrontBy Jan Hrutfiord

Published on Thu, Apr 17, 2003
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On the Waterfront

By Jan Hrutfiord

April 15 was not only income tax day, it was also the last day of commercial crab fishing for the season. The crab boats had to have their pots out of the water by the 15th. There have been trucks and trailers hauling pots home or to storage lockers for the last week or more. The next commercial crab season should open in October for non-Indian crabbers, and in late summer for Treaty Indian fishers.

There are still a few draggers fishing out of Blaine for local bottom fish, plus some larger draggers fishing off the coast for bottom fish.

Besides fishing activity, there was a Brant festival here in Blaine last weekend, with birders at meetings at Semiahmoo Resort, and sites set up with spotting scopes in Marine Park, as well as Semiahmoo spit and Birch Bay. There are huge numbers of black Brant (a small goose similar in appearance to the much larger Canada goose), as well as many other ducks and sea birds. We in Blaine and Birch Bay are very fortunate to have so many birds here in our local waters, and in such a large variety. Most sites elsewhere are happy with dozens of birds of a single type, and maybe two or three different types of birds to see at one season.

We hope that this first successful Brant Festival will be followed in the next years by even better turn-outs of bird watchers to our community.

The new breakwater is in place, and much of the work has been done on the end of the pier at Marine Drive. There are covered picnic tables, lights, and the new deck area should be open soon. We look forward to seeing the entire pier end opened up for everyone�s use during the non-crab season. The roadway has been widened to include some room for parking along the shoulder of the road.

The annual Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday, May 4, 1 p.m., at the Sawtooth Dock. This blessing of our fishing fleet and memorial service for those who died while at sea in the pursuit of their livelihood is an important ceremony for the fishing community, and all who are interested are invited to attend. We also honor any local fishers who died during the past year. Flowers will be placed in a wreath which will be taken out to sea from a selected fishing boat. If you are a family member or close friend of one of our honored fishers, you are encouraged to attend, and may bring your own flowers if you wish. We will also have flowers available for the wreath.

The local fishing community has lost two members in the last several weeks. Chris Walsh, a 15-year-old student from a long-time Blaine fishing family, son of Chris Walsh and grandson of Ron and Lois Walsh, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike on Blaine Road. Chris started his fishing as a two-year-old, fishing on his grandpa Ron�s seiner in Alaska. He was too young to be a full-time fisherman, but with his family background, we feel he should be included as one of our fishing family who has been lost to us. It was a tragedy to lose one so young.

Danny Thomas, 44 years of age, son of fisherman Russ Thomas, and himself a long time fisherman and boat owner, died suddenly last week. He had fished for salmon, crab, and bottom fish both out of Blaine Harbor, and from other fishing areas from Alaska to California. He will be sorely missed by his wife Corrine, mother Jean, son Jordan, stepson Chase, and many other relatives and friends.

I hope to see you here, watching birds, boats, or at the Blessing of the Fleet. Dress warm and come down here to see what�s going on at our harbor.