Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer’s Coming

It’s a busy time of year, especially in Gig Harbor, Washington, as we are gearing up for summer and all its wonderful outdoors activities.  

The commercial fishermen have been hard at work trying to finish all their winter repairs and updates to their boats as they head out for summer fishing in Alaska.  The start of the season is always the Blessing of the Fleet conducted by St.Nicholas Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus on Sunday.  At such time, wreaths are also placed upon the water honoring all those who lost their lives on the seas, and also to bring back safely all who are on their way fishing.  

The blessing of the fleet is a time honored tradition that goes back many centuries into the murky sea of legend and tradition. Some legends have the origins going back to early Greek fishermen. One story has it that the tradition of asking clergy to bless boats and their crews began in Sicily after some fishermen were saved from certain death in a storm. According to the legend, they had lost their way in a thick fog when they suddenly saw a glimmering light in the distance. Following the light, they were able to make their way back to shore. There, they discovered that the light came from a medallion of the Madonna del Lume (Mother of Light) set in a grotto high on a cliff. Whatever the origin, many fishing and boating communities throughout the world have been blessing their fleets for centuries.  This was taken off of the internet site for History of the Blessing of the Fleet.
Police Boat making rounds during the Blessing of the Fleet

As John Moist, Grand Knight of the St. Nicholas Catholic Parish Knights of Columbus Council 9238 stated Sunday “In 1971 St. Nicholas Catholic Parish Knights of Columbus Council 9238 in Gig Harbor (Washington) began this tradition.  A procession of Fourth Degree Knights in full regalia carrying the “Our Lady of the Harbor” Icon along with other Knights, dignitaries, the Priest and Alter Servers process from the 100 year old Church down to the Fishermen’s Statue at Jerisich Park.  There a service is held to honor those lost at sea the previous year and to pray for a safe and bountiful catch this season.  The procession then continues down to the foot of the dock, where the party boards run-about boats which then circle the fleet while the Priest blesses the boats and crew with Holy Water and wreaths are laid in the water.”
"Our Lady of the Harbor" 

Some of the Knights of Columbus

Some of the Knights of Columbus

And then, there is the news of of an anchor found off Whidbey Island which I’m sure you saw on TV and in the newspapers.  What’s important about this specific anchor?  Many amateur history buffs believe that it is the anchor which broke off the HMS Chatham 222 years ago.  It so, it is the only surviving relic of Capt. George Vancouver’s 1792 survey of the Pacific Coast off of what is now known as the State of Washington.
A month after Capt. Vancouver sailed into the Puget Sound his ships, Discovery and Chatham sailed as far down as Olympia, and them the expedition headed back north to Anacortes.  As often happens on the open waters, the currents change from slow to swift, and this time there were 5.5 knot currents on the way back.  Weather experts at NOAA have verified the currents in Admiralty Bay were 5.5 knots on June 9, 1792.  Scott Grimm and Doug Monk believe the journals kept during the expedition “more accurately fit the terrain described.”  Scott admits that he may be wrong (armchair historians have been searching off Bellingham Channel {where it was assumed to have lost the anchor} for decades and still haven’t found anything.”  “I think we’ll finally be vindicated,” Grimm said.  “At least I hope we will.”  (The Seattle Times, Local News, June 9, 2014 (modified June 10, 2014 @ 8:25AM)
Unfortunately I am unable to show a picture of the anchor found and raised off Whidbey Island.
Summers coming, next up are Summer Sounds featuring June 24 - Stephanie Anne Johnson (as seen on the Voice),July 1 - 133rd Army Band, July 8 - Off the Hook (a mix of old school funk R&B and classic soul, July 15  - Ranger & The Re-Arrangers (gypsy jazz), July 22 - Beatniks, July 29  - Chris Anderson (Jazz standards to motown to traditional pop), August 5  - Blue Rocket Music (uptempo blues, country & rockabilly), August 12  - Stick Shift Annie with Kimball & the Fugitives (Red hot blues, jazz swing & rock), and August 19  - Funaddicts.
If that isn’t enough there is Chalk the Walk on July 19th, Wine and Food Festivals on July 26th, and Summer Cinema Outdoors:
July 11th The Help 9:15pm at Donkey Creek Park
July 12th The Black Stallion 9:15pm at Skansie Brothers Park
July 25th Remember the Titans 9:00pm at Donkey Creek Park
July 26th Little Giants 9:00pm at Skansie Brothers Park
August 8th Big Miracle 8:30pm at Donkey Creek Park
August 9th Wall E 8:30pm at Skansie Brothers Park
August 22nd Jaws 8:15pm at Donkey Creek Park
August 23rd The Jungle Book 8:15pm at Skansie Brothers Park
See you around town!  There are more things but I can’t list them all.

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