Boat Tours to Protection Island this Summer
Out in the Salish Sea, between Sequim and Discovery Bay, is a wild place named Protection Island. After years of damage from farming, development and even artillery practice this island wildlife refuge is recovering and thriving. The Shoreline, grasslands and bluffs are the breeding and nesting grounds to a wide variety of bird species. In fact it’s one of only two Puffin breeding grounds left in the Salish Sea. While the island is closed to visitors, boat tours are permitted 200 yards off the shoreline. Booking a summer boat tour is your best chance to view the elusive puffin. The Puget Sound Express offer 3 hour Protection Island Puffin Cruises all summer long. Cruises depart at 6:00 PM from Port Townsend on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Plan a summer adventure touring the Salish Sea and spotting rare wildlife.
Protection Island History
The island wasn’t always the wildlife paradise it is today. In the beginning over-farming and grazing left the landscape scarred and barren. Then in World War II it was used for an artillery practice location, further damaging the environment. In the 1960’s the island was carved up for summer homes. Finally in 1982 it was designated a National Wildlife Refuge. Today burrow-nesting seabirds thrive and their populations continue to grow.
This very special island is home to many rare bird and sea mammal families. The third largest rhinoceros auklet colony in North America resides here. Also find the largest glaucous-winged gull colony in Washington state. In addition to a pair of nesting bald eagles it’s the first Washington state location with birthing elephant seals. This amazing success story is now a very important breeding site for a number of birds and animals of the Salish Sea.
Protection Island Boat Tours
The summer boat tours on Puget Sound Express offer the best Protection Island excursions. Their evening tufted puffin tours cruise the south end of the island where the birds nest in the cliffside. Viewing chances are good to observe the adults carrying small fish to their chicks. Learn more about these shy, colorful birds at the tour’s educational partner, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
A Protection Island cruise highlights the appeal of living on the Olympic Peninsula. The charming historic towns that dot the stunning coastline include active and welcoming communities. For example, nearby Sequim, has a lively town center with arts, shopping and a wealth of great restaurants. If that wasn’t enough it also resides in the Olympic rain shadow, making it a sunnier, drier location with mild winters. Residents here enjoy year-round outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, boating and golf. Our friendly and knowledgeable brokers at Schwab Realty would love to help you find your personal sanctuary in Sequim.