One of the great pleasures of living in the Pacific Northwest, and Bellingham in particular, is being able to take advantage of our natural beauty on the water. I went out earlier this morning before going in to work at the studio.
I was introduced to kayaking a few years after settling here and now paddle year-round as often as I can. My paddling partner, Pat, and I purchased our first kayaks together at least ten years ago and had been going out together ever since. Neither of us ever tires of taking the boats up and down the shoreline of the bay in either direction. There is always something new to see.
From the water, you can better imagine Bellingham as it was in the early 20th century when sailing ships lined the waterfront loading lumber and fish and coal into their holds. Pilings protrude upwards from the shallower sections of the bay where the canneries and loading docks once stood. The “rock” of tin, as it is known locally, is a reminder of a time when the leftover material used in canning the fish was just tossed down into the water until it solidified into the boulder it is today. At low tide you get a full view of its size. Today only the Pacific American Fisheries building in Fairhaven survives from the once very prosperous cannery era.
At the Fairhaven terminal, just next door, the Alaska Ferry ties up on Fridays and, during the summers, every other Saturday. The ferry carries cars, trucks and people back and forth from Bellingham to as far north as Skagway on the Alaska Marine Highway. It is a popular route for people travelling up the coast. And the horn of the ferry can be heard all over Bellingham as it cruises in and out of the harbor.
For me, kayaking is a great way to relax and “destress”, even though you must always be careful and attentive to the conditions surrounding you on the water. I manage to snag some good photos when I take a camera with me, tucking it safely into my life jacket to protect it from the damaging salt water. With the warmer, sunny summer weather, the lure of the water makes it very hard to stay indoors in the studio. But grabbing a few shots during an early morning or late evening paddle is a wonderful way to start or end a summer’s work day.