PloverFerry starts inaugural run this Friday

Published on Thu, May 24, 2007 by ara Nelson

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Plover Ferry starts inaugural run this Friday

By Tara Nelson

Blaine’s historic Plover Ferry will be starting its 11th summer season, beginning with its inaugural run at noon this Friday at Blaine Harbor at gate 2.

The ferry, built in 1944 for the Alaska Packer’s Association (APA) cannery at Semiahmoo’s Tongue Point, was originally a passenger ferry to transport cannery workers and visitors to and from the cannery from the Blaine harbor for 20 years.

In 1964, the boat’s passenger cabin was reduced to serve as a cannery harbor tug for the cannery’s waterfront activities, said Richard Sturgill, a long-time captain of the boat and founding director of the Drayton Harbor Maritime organization that helped get the Plover’s current operation off the ground. It has also been recognized by the National List of Historic Places as an official historic vessel, Sturgill said.

“She plowed the water for 38 years, she spent her whole career on Drayton Harbor,” Sturgill said. “And then myself and a group of cohorts called the Friends of the Plover got this idea that the boat could once again work as the cannery launch that it once was.”

With a total round-trip time of 40 minutes, Sturgill added the ride is a great way to view Drayton Harbor’s wildlife including harbor seals, osprey fishing eagles, nesting seagulls, Arctic terns, bald eagles and spectacular views of Mt. Baker, the Twin Sisters and the Strait of Georgia.

“Besides transport across the channel, it offers its riders a circuitous, interpretive excursion where you can see all these things, including a water view of the Blaine Harbor,” he said. “It’s also a nice, leisurely way to visit Semiahmoo and have lunch or visit the Maritime Museum down the spit.”

The Plover runs Fridays, Saturdays and holidays from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.

Suggested donations are $2 for adults and $1 for children 18 years and younger, round-trip. Children under 12 are free. For more information, call the Blaine visitor information center at 332-4544 or for charter service information, call Sturgill at 332-5742.