By Gary Dunster
The commercial crabbing season for local fishers closed towards the end of March and the coastal crab fishery has slowed to the point where most of the boats have returned home to get ready for the upcoming fisheries in Alaska and Puget Sound.
The Blessing of the Fleet will take place on Sunday, May 5 at 1:30 p.m. at the Blaine Boating Center at 235 Marine Drive.
The event is hosted by the Fisherman’s Memorial Committee with support from the Blaine Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Bellingham.
This year, the ship’s bell will ring 40 times in honor of those who were lost at sea dating back to the early 1900s. Then the bell will ring 10 more times for those who have passed away since last year’s memorial.
Each time a name is read aloud, the bell will ring and a family member or friend will place a flower in the wreath. At the end of the service, Auxiliary Coast Guard members will take the wreath to the Plover ferry. Captain Richard Sturgill will take the wreath outside the harbor and place it on the water. Members of the public may ride along if they wish.
Selena Rogers-Pai will sing a solo for the seventh year in a row. Blaine High School band director Bob Gray and some of his students will also perform, just as they have done each year since 1990.
Port commissioner Bobby Briscoe, who is also a local Blaine fisherman, will participate in the memorial service, and harbormaster Andy Peterson, also a member of the Fisherman’s Memorial Committee, will represent the Port of Bellingham. Blaine mayor Bonnie Onyon will read the resolution passed by city council honoring those lost at sea.
The Fisherman’s Memorial Committee has taken on the task of recreating a replica of the fisherman’s tabletop that was donated to it by Joe and Pat Slevin, owners of the Harbor Café. The original tabletop has become unreadable.
There will be a print of what the new tabletop will look like, available for all to see at the memorial. There will be a sign-up sheet for anyone who would like to own a print. The cost will be $25 to help cover the cost of the project and to replenish the scholarship funds.