Location: Puget Sound Express, at Point Hudson Marina
Date: October 13, 2018
Saturday | October 13 | 1-4 pm
Just outside of Port Townsend is an amazing National Wildlife Refuge — Protection Island, surrounded by the newly designated 23,000 acre Protection Island Aquatic Reserve. Nearly 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Straits nest on the island and feed in the surrounding waters. Protection Island includes one of the largest nesting colonies of Rhinoceros Auklets in the world and the largest nesting colony of Glaucous-winged Gulls in Washington. The island contains one of the last two nesting colonies of Tufted Puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals depend upon the island for a pupping and rest area and the once nearly-extinct northern elephant seals have been spotted resting log-like on the shore.
Protection Island’s 364-acres is covered by grass and low brush, with a small timbered area, high sandy bluffs and low sand spits on two ends of the island. This combination of bluffs and sand spits provides excellent habitat for nesting seabirds and the waters around it offer a marine buffet. Located at the start of Admiralty Inlet, Protection Island Aquatic Reserve's nutrient rich waters and areas of shallow bank are unique because of the immense tidal exchange and upwelling where Puget Sound waters meet the Pacific fed waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The three-hour cruises depart from the Point Hudson Marina. Naturalists from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center serve as on-board interpreters and provide commentary on local birds, mammals, geology, history and weather. On-board refreshments are available, or you may bring a sack lunch.