M/V American Spirit arrives May 3 |The Scuttlebutt

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson talks to Chamber Executive Director Jan Harrison and Capt. Don Johnson about what Poulsbo has to offer visitors.                    - Stephen L. Swann / Contributed
Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson talks to Chamber Executive Director Jan Harrison and Capt. Don Johnson about what Poulsbo has to offer visitors.
— image credit: Stephen L. Swann / Contributed


If, by now, you are unaware of one of Poulsbo’s most significant events for 2013, you are not a regular reader of The Scuttlebutt!

On Friday, May 3, the M/V American Spirit sails into Liberty Bay.

This is a real first for our city and port — this passenger cruise ship is more than 200 feet in length and will present itself most handsomely while anchored off the marina’s breakwater. Passengers will arrive by ship’s tender at the dock adjacent to the port office. Prime viewing stations for its 8 a.m. arrival will be along Fjord Drive between Lemolo and Net Shed Vista.

As of today, the ship’s departure from Poulsbo is scheduled for around 12:30 p.m. Early birds might be able to spot the American Spirit coming through Agate Passage between 6 and 7 a.m.

American Cruise Lines, headquartered in Guilford, Conn., has concluded that Poulsbo is a must-see (and final)port of call for each of this ship’s 14 visits here in Liberty Bay. On consecutive Friday mornings in May, and again in September and October, passengers from all over the United States will disembark at the conclusion of a seven-day voyage beginning in Seattle and including Anacortes, Friday Harbor, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, and finally Poulsbo.

Our visitors will be treated at Waterfront Park to brass band music and sea chanteys, attacking  Vikings, ladies in traditional Norwegian dress, and a myriad of walking tours, snacks, and liquid refreshment. Downtown merchants plan to open early Friday mornings.

However, it is important to remember that these half-day events are not limited to cruise ing visits in May provide outstanding opportunities for our entire community to turn out to meet and greet travelers who have elected to visit Puget Sound and Little Norway.

Several walking tours, leaving from Waterfront  Park’s Kvelstad Pavilion beginning at 9 a.m., are quite reasonably priced and provide art and cultural experiences for visitors and locals alike. For example, tours by the Historical Society (around $15 per person) meet at 9 and 11 a.m.

Poulsbo’s Cruise Committee has been working diligently for months to ensure the success of this new venture. April 19, the port hosted a briefing and luncheon for Capt. Don Johnson, American Cruise Lines’ West Coast operations director and ship’s captain. Mayor Becky Erickson presented Capt. Johnson with a copy of “Spirit of Poulsbo,” our town’s premier history book.

Come on down to Waterfront Park and share the excitement Friday mornings beginning May 3.

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By the time this installment of The Scuttlebutt is published, the port will have selected its new port manager. Interviews on April 24 of three finalists, from the dozen or more well-qualified applicants interested in serving the port district, will have concluded. As you may know, the port manager here serves not only as the port’s executive officer, but also as harbormaster, key liaison with the city and other government agencies, and chief adviser for the three-commissioner board.

Regarding port personnel, a new position has been created for specifically promoting Poulsbo tourism. Our new guest services coordinator,  Jannese Petersen, will continue to coordinate reservations for boaters and yacht clubs, while investigating opportunities to bring more boaters into Liberty Bay. Planning has already begun for an Octoberfest celebration on the waterfront.

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The port is pleased to have entered in recent days into a moorage agreement with the Kitsap Rowing Association. Rowing, sailing, and other boating activities for young sea-persons are especially encouraged at the port.

NOAA has recently announced free nautical Booklet Charts for boaters in PDF format. Take a look at www.noaa.gov/Bookletchart.com. For example, Poulsbo may be found on chart number 18446, page 8. These charts are intended for non-commercial use and may be easily printed at home.

Sounding depths at mean lower low water are indicated for Liberty Bay from Keyport to the bay’s upper reaches on No. 18446. For example, between Keyport and Liberty Bay Marina, main channel depths range from 25 to 45 feet. Inside the Poulsbo Marina breakwater, however, water depth drops to just over 10 feet.

As one would predict, the steeple for First Lutheran Church is a major navigational fixed aid.

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Port quiz: Last month’s “feeling blue” question was promptly answered by a repeat reader of The Scuttlebutt, Steve Campbell of Poulsbo. It came about when a ship’s crew lost its captain when deployed. They would fly a blue flag when coming back to port.

OK, how about this one? From where does the name “peacoat” come? Hint for you old-timers: it’s been around since 1723. Send your best guess to commissioner.swann@portofpoulsbo.com. The first responder with the correct answer will be acknowledged in The Scuttlebutt June issue.

Want to offer a nautical quiz question for next month? Just send an email with your suggestion.

The commissioners, employees, tenants and guests of the Port of Poulsbo (www.portofpoulsbo.com), one of 75 Washington state ports, wish you a safe visit to Poulsbo’s spectacular Waterfront Park, and a safe transit on Liberty Bay. Bring your friends and families down to the port’s marina; most of our docks are open to the public, and we are here for you. (Watch us by webcam at www.siteground315.com/~longship/.)

— Stephen L. Swann is a Poulsbo port commissioner. Contact him at commissioner.swann@portofpoulsbo.com.


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