Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gig Harbor & Destiny Harbor Tour

Today is my birthday, and my husband and I planned to go to Portland, until I discovered that they were having the Grand Floral Parade as part of their annual Rose Festival. I figured this might limit parking and impede our ability to get around, especially since the parade route was right in the area where I planned to do most of my exploring. I checked into Amtrak, but the fares were too high just for a day trip.

So I came up with an alternate plan. Gig Harbor.

Gig Harbor lighthouse

Lance and I were there briefly last year. We met a friend for dinner and ate at Anthony’s. We said we wanted to go back and see more of the town because we liked what little of it we saw.

Today seemed as good a day as any.

We got there around noon. Mostly we just meandered around the historic downtown area. We stopped for some ice cream at Kelly’s. There was nothing particular we had in mind to do other than a Destiny Harbor Tour. And that was scheduled to leave at 3:30. Gig Harbor isn’t a bad place to kill time, believe me. It was overcast today, so we didn’t get the amazing view of the mountains that we had last time we were there, but it’s still a picturesque town and a great place to wander. We even saw a bride and groom getting their pictures taken at Skansie Brothers Park. It’s a nice place for people watching, if you like that sort of thing.

At 3:00, we went to the dock where the Destiny Harbor Tour departs (right at Anthony’s Restaurant). We got there a tad too early, but better too early than too late, right? Captain Tom showed up a short while later, and once he got the boat ready, we boarded along with some of the other passengers. The Destiny is an old Coast Guard utility boat.

This 2-hour tour was definitely the highlight of my day. It took us out underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. We got close up looks at Salmon Beach, Point Defiance, and the beautiful homes at Point Fosdick and Gig Harbor’s waterfront. I was especially fascinated by Salmon Beach, where people live in fishing shacks at the water’s edge. Perhaps a bit isolated, but stunning. Access to this Tacoma neighborhood is either by boat or by foot down a very steep cliff, if this tells you anything about why I found it fascinating.

We learned a little about history, geology, architecture and wildlife. We saw two Bald Eagles (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to zoom in close enough for good photos), a couple seals, and several Pigeon Guillemots. We also heard a fascinating story about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (and how it got the nickname "Galloping Gertie"), but I'll leave that to Captain Tom to tell you.

It was a fantastic time! I highly recommend this tour if you’re in Gig Harbor, but the company also runs tours out of Tacoma.


And as always, a link to my Flickr album with today's photos.