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Old 11-30-2014, 12:51 AM   #1
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Our harbor

The thread on yacht clubs and Sunchaser's query about marinas vs yacht clubs got me thinking about our own harbor.

We decided to keep our boat in Bellingham even though it's 100 miles north of where we live east of Seattle for several reasons. One is its proximity to the islands where we like to cruise. Good facilities with reputable services and marine supply stores is another.

But an important third reason is that the harbor is a commercial harbor as well as a recreational boat harbor. There are several fish processors and a large cold storage company which is a port of call for ocean ships bringing stuff in and taking stuff out. These ships come from as far away as Russia.

There is also a decent-sized commercial fishing fleet based in our harbor. The boats range from Alaska limit seiners and combination boats to local crab boats and gillnetters. There are also several buy-boats that collect fish from the fishing boats and unload at the processors on the pier across from our dock. So there is always interesting activity going on to watch.

A few years after we started keeping our boat in Bellingham a Seattle-based boatyard company took over an abandoned steel fabrication facility beside our marina and turned it into a full-service boatyard complete with 35 and 150 ton Travelifts. The 150 ton lift lets them work on some pretty big vessels, including commercial fishboats and privately owned yachts.

We were up working on our boat today (in 20 degree f. weather) and at the end of the day I shot a few shots in the commercial basin. The two yard shots are pictures I've taken in the past few years.

Notice the Grand Banks 42 Europa converted to a commercial salmon troller in the second photo.

Spicy Lady is a combination boat home-ported in Petersburg, AK. The boat in the background behind Spicy Lady's stern is the David B., a restored Bristol Bay buy-boat from the early 1900s. Her present owners converted her to a charter boat offering wildlife adventure cruises in SE Alaksa during the summer. She is still powered with her original Atlas engine.

The purse seiner Yankee Boy is home-ported in Bellingham. I did not take the last shot, which shows Yankee Boy at work in Alaska.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:05 AM   #2
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Very nice, Marin. I'm personally much more interested in boats with a working background and it's only my wallet that keeps me from having an Atlas or a Cummins V12 or similar. Thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:39 AM   #3
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Beautiful working boats ... thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-30-2014, 03:22 AM   #4
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great pics
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Old 11-30-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
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Hard Work = Operative words on those really nice looking fishing boats. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #6
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Marin, that is a really great harbor. Very interesting activity. Just like Fort Lauderdale--------NOT!
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Old 11-30-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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Here is a Google Earth shot of it. The cold storage, ice machine, and fish processors are on the left inside the west entrance. The commercial basin is in the middle. The local crab and gillnet boats all live in the east basin along the long dock north of the row of web lockers.

According to the Port of Bellingham, it is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet north of Seattle.

The red-roofed buildings on the right edge is Coast Guard Station Bellingham. In addition to the CG boats here there are two larger cutters 3 or 4 miles away next to the Alaska State Ferry terminal at Fairhaven.

Earlier I wrote this is a 2,000 boat marina. It isn't. Squalicum Harbor is a 1,200 slip marina. The Port of Bellingham also manages Blaine Harbor next to the Canadian border. The combined total slips of both these facilities plus the commercial docks downtown and in Fairhaven is about 2,000.

This shot was taken at least three years ago before the replacement of F and G docks in the west basin and the burning of the G dock boathouse. Today there are no vacant slips in the west basin or the commercial basin and the Seaview North boatyard is totally jammed with boats ranging from 26' Nordic tugs to 80' yachts.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:04 PM   #8
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Very nice area Marin. Here are a few satellite shots of our marina in Gulfport.
Both Dole and Chiquita rent space at the Port of Gulfport from the Mississippi State Port Authority. About once a week, a ship from Central America docks at each company's terminal.
A Coast Guard station and the Ship Island Ferry are also located in our basin.
It's an almost new, very nice marina. Still pretty thin on rented slips though. And lots more slips have been completed in the area recently.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Forkliftt View Post
Here are a few satellite shots of our marina in Gulfport.
In the wider shots, what are the long, straight structures in the water extending out to the small island? Breakwaters?

Looks like a nice place with lots to watch and good protection from whatever blows in from the Gulf.

We really like being in a harbor that is host to commercial activities as well as recreational boats. The only drawback is at certain times of the year we get hundreds of seagulls nesting on top of the boathouses and raising their young there. The fish processing plants must be very clean as there are never any clouds of gulls around them, even when the boats are unloading. They suck the fish out of the holds with a big vacuum cleaner so that's probably part of it.

We love watching the gulls fly, but they can truly make a mess. Fortunately our slip is far enough away from the boathouses that we are rarely bombed.

But there is obviously enough "stuff" on the piers and in the water from the active commercial fishery to hold the gulls' interest, so there are always a fair number of them around. We also get big flocks of Caspian terns in the summer: they fish out in the bay by rolling over high off the water and plunging straight down through the surface to nail the fish they targeted Fortunately, they don't seem to poop in midair like the gulls do.

There are several kingfishers that call the harbor home, and at night Great Blue Herons walk the docks spearing fish that are attracted to the dock lights. Harbor seals usually haul out for the night on the gas dock and outer boat docks, which includes ours.

And, being the PNW, there are frequent eagle flyovers, particularly in the winter when they are on the prowl for gulls to nail. Fortunately for the gulls, they can fly circles around an eagle so I suspect it is a frustrating experience for the eagles.

In addition to the commercial activities in the harbor there is a small railyard along the waterfront, and the mainline from Seattle/Everett to Vancouver, BC runs through it. What with the grain trains, oil trains, coal trains, and general freight trains, and Amtrak trains there seems to be a train through town every hour or two, 24 hours a day.

We actually quite like hearing the sound of the locomotives blowing for the grade crossings at night as they run around the shore of the bay, but I know it bothers some people.

So all in all, a very interesting place to be year round, which is why we still after 16 years make the 2 hour drive up to Bellingham most weekends to stay on the boat for a day or both days, even if we don't go out.
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Old 11-30-2014, 02:55 PM   #10
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In the wider shots, what are the long, straight structures in the water extending out to the small island? Breakwaters?
Marin, they appear to be a line to show the ship channels out of Gulfport.
I like the commercial aspect of the area as well- but what we lack are repair facilities nearby. A trip to Biloxi and then up the Biloxi River are the closest available facilities. I can't help but think this would encourage recreational boating growth (not that I can't live without it &#128522.


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Old 11-30-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
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Marin,
My picture of "Spicy Lady" in the Petersburg harbor several years ago.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:32 PM   #12
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Excellent photos & info, Marin. I envy you for having this kind of real working harbors in your back yard.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:53 PM   #13
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I don't think there are that many of them here, actually. Anacortes has a small fishing fleet working out of, or next to, Cap Sante marina as well as the oil tanker crew boats. And they have some boat manufacturers and a pretty impressive shipyard (building ships) within blocks of the marina.

There are some commercial boats, landing craft and such and some smaller fishing boats, working out of Friday Harbor. in the San Juans.

Everett marina is the largest marina on the west coast (I've read) but I'm not sure there are any commercial activities based there like fishing and so on. Of course, the Navy base is right next door with it's aircraft carrier and support vessels

The big dual purpose harbor in Seattle is Fisherman's Terminal, which some years ago when the fishing industry took a nosedive started allowing recreational boats to use the terminal, too.

But for the most part, the recreational marinas here tend to be just that, and the commercial facilities tend to be commercial only.

I'm sure there are more exceptions that I'm not aware of.

Bellingham is interesting because the commercial and recreational activities are side by side, both in the water and in the yard. You can be at the fuel dock filling up, for example, and someone will come in behind you in a net boat with its roaring diesel or huge unmuffled automotive gas V8 for a fill up.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:58 PM   #14
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Bellingham is a great harbor. Lots of activity, things to see and do. We spent some time there several years ago when we had our boat in the San Juans.

Forkliftt, those pics bring back memories of my time in the USAF. I was stationed there in 1969(?) when Camille went through there. I spent 5 days working my butt off cleaning up the town. That seems like it was a hundred years ago. In many ways, it was a lifetime ago.
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Old 11-30-2014, 07:09 PM   #15
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One downside of Bellingham Harbor for visiting boaters it it's a bit of a walk to town. In more recent years there has been some development on the "penninsula" that forms the east side of the east basin, starting with the Bellweather Hotel and now including an Anthony's Home Port restaurant, the Hearthfire Restaurant (part of the Anthony's operation), some other restaurants, art galleries, and so forth.

But tings like grocery shopping, movies, and all the other activities the town offers are a long walk or a cab ride away.

As opposed to a place like Anacortes where there is a Safeway across the street from the marina along with all sorts of other stores, and the main drag through town with all its attractions is just a couple of blocks over.

Or Friday Harbor where the marina is literally in the town. Get off your boat, walk up the dock, and you're right in the middle of town.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:11 PM   #16
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Love seeing those commercial boats!

Down here in Ventura Harbor, we a have a tremendous squid fishery. Lots of commercial squid boats that come from all over the west coast.
The money is excellent and the squid fishing has been unprecedented the last few years.
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