Popularmaritime festival begins this weekend

Published on Thu, Aug 4, 2005 by ack Kintner

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Popular maritime festival begins this weekend

By Jack Kintner

Blaine’s annual maritime festival comes around this weekend and once again will be a great reason for everyone, young and old, to gather at the Blaine marina and celebrate all things nautical.


The two-day Drayton Harbor Days is jointly sponsored by Drayton Harbor Maritime and the Port of Bellingham’s Blaine harbor office. The port has limited moorage on a space available basis for visiting boats and for those who arrive by dinghy from the Semiahmoo side or from White Rock.


The port is again sponsoring a marine garage sale on Saturday after last year’s first attempt proved to be very popular. Moorage customers who sign up in the marina office are given a space in the parking lot outside the marine center to display their merchandise. The sale runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday.


New this year is an extensive collection of highly detailed, realistic working model radio-controlled boats by Keith Schermerhorn of Bellingham. The little ships and sailboats will be on display in the port’s conference room when not sailing down in front of the boardwalk area.


The Blaine Sea Scouts have challenged other area scouting groups to participate in Saturday’s annual George Raft race, set for 11 a.m., in which participants cob together artistic collections of junk lumber, general refuse, clean garbage, detritus, old milk cartons, pieces of styrofoam, piles of recycled bubble wrap, surplus Barbie dolls and wads of loose chicken beaks – in other words, if it floats, use it – into a raft that must float long enough to make it around the course once. The race stays inside the protected part of the marina for safety’s sake, but skullduggery between competing contraptions is not unknown.
Local keyboard impresario Don Stagg, backed by the lovely Staggettes will be playing the only known two octave chromatic calliope in the world, mounted for the occasion on board Bryan Handel’s steamboat, the good ship Whistler. It was chosen as the musical craft of choice because it has boilers big enough to make headway and music at the same time.


Gordon Sullivan built the calliope to Stagg’s design, and he claims the lovely if earsplitting din will be clearly audible from Nanaimo to Teddy Bear Cove. Sullivan promises a collection of old favorites, not the least of which is the redoubtable Mr. Stagg himself.


The steamboats are also a-comin’, as they say in the south, so expect to see up to a dozen local favorites and some new craft as well, including the miniature (25 foot) replica steam tug Edith May operated by transplanted Alaskans Fred and Eva Beeks, now of Anacortes. Tide permitting a Saturday excursion up Dakota Creek as in years past is a distinct possibility.


On both days the “Wood on Water” display of old wooden boats, including the historic former rum runner Cutty Sark, will be held on the visitor’s dock in front of the marina office. A new entry this year is the Green Wave, a former “bartender” that the U.S. Coast Guard used to patrol the Columbia River bar, or shoal areas near the river’s mouth. The rescue boat is designed to roll completely over, right itself and keep going. It has been donated to Drayton Harbor Maritime and is currently being restored.

Drayton Harbor Maritime director Richard Sturgill added that the Plover herself will be making her scheduled runs from noon to eight p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday.