TIDAL LIFE | The Tidal Life’s best gift guide

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I’m trying to convert all Record readers into Puget Sound huggers. Though I’m not there yet, I know that most everyone has one water lover on the old gift list. Here are some ideas for gifts for aqua nuts.

About Puget Sound — Books for Kids

“Swimmer,” by Shelley Gill, a young salmon’s trip to the sea and back. “Lootas, Little Wave Eater,” by Clare Hodgson Meeker, an orphaned sea otter’s story. “My Cousin Has Eight Legs,” by Jasper Tomkins, the tall tale of a Puget Sound octopus. “O is for Orca,” an alphabet book, with photographs by Art Wolfe. “Dragon Fire, Ocean Mist,” in which two children find adventure, magic and helpful dragons on a wild ocean beach. The official publication is February 2009. A few copies are available now at Moonraker, Island Coffee House and BookBay or from the author, Langley resident Yvonne Palka;Click here.

“Dinosailors,” by Deb Lund, a “voyage of epic proportions” was inspired by Whidbey’s Shifty Sailors.

Books for Adults

“Getting to the Water’s Edge.” This WSU Extension guide to Whidbey Island gets you to the beach and explains some of the things you’ll see there. It’s available at the extension office in Coupeville, bookstores and Click here.

“Northwest Basic Training,” by Greg Eiden, shares essential skills for visitors, newcomers and native Northwesterners. It includes instructions for dealing with a beached whale and pronouncing geoduck.

“The Year of the Boat — Beauty, Imperfection, and the Art of Doing It Yourself,” by Langley resident Lawrence Cheek.

“The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam,” by Skye Moody.

“The Highest Tide,” by Jim Lynch, a novel of a young naturalist’s adventures with marine life.

“Watertrail — The hidden path through Puget Sound,” a photo-journal kayak adventure on the water trails from Olympia to Point Roberts, by Joel Rogers.

The “Afoot and Afloat” series, by Marge and Ted Mueller, covers various areas of the Sound.

“Walks & Hikes on the Beaches around Puget Sound,” by Harvey and Penny Manning.

“Kayaking: Puget Sound, San Juans, and Gulf Island,” by Randel Washburne and Carey Gersten.

From Puget Sound

Shellfish: My father believes that any gift from Whidbey must be seafood. I don’t dig in December. Luckily Penn Cove Shellfish offers clams, mussels and oysters year round. Click here.

Fish: Smoked salmon jerky anyone? Hand-smoked Northwest fish, no added preservatives. Yum. Seabolt’s Smokehouse, Oak Harbor. Click here.

For Puget Sound

Speaking of fish — and for those who don’t mind giving practical gifts — here are a couple of things to help keep Puget Sound critters healthy.

Whip up a customized Whidbey Cleaning Kit. Island County WSU Waste Wise has recipes for making some tried-and-true, non-toxic cleaners. Call Janet Hall at 321-5111, ext. 7974 for the recipes, then find some attractive containers for a gift you can be sure will get used. If sometimes grudgingly.

Make sure your recreational crabber friends are crab friendly. A chunk of cotton cord from the hardware stores packaged creatively makes an unusual stocking stuffer and will keep an accidentally lost crab pot from trapping innocent critters.

Of Puget Sound

It may start with driftwood, but it doesn’t end there. Puget Sound art materials include found objects, beach glass, intriguing rusted metal shapes, you name it. Check galleries and holiday markets for unique, clever and beautiful pieces from jewelry to sculpture.

To Puget Sound

Whidbey Camano Land Trust, Whidbey Watershed Stewards, Beach Watchers, Orca Network, Whidbey Audubon and numerous other organizations work hard to enhance the health of Puget Sound. All offer donation gift opportunities. Most also have useful and lovely items for sale, with the proceeds supporting their worthwhile programs. WCLT sells hats at their Greenbank Farm office, WWS offers “A Journey Through the Maxwelton Watershed” available at Moonraker and BookBay, fishy ornaments at the Bayview Corner Giving Tree and colorful note cards of student art at the Island Coffeehouse.

On Puget Sound

Most water lovers are interested in getting out on the water one way or another. Here are some boat-related ideas.

A kayak would be great. Kayak Sales in Coupeville, 360-320-1644.

Tickets for a Whale Watching trip, Click here.

Sailing classes are available through South Whidbey Yacht Club, Click here.

It’s not all “on” the water, but many a child (of whatever age) would love a set of tickets for a ferry ride, a trip on the Sounder Train and a day at the Seattle Aquarium.

The Soundest gifts come wrapped in something other than plastic. And swearing off plastic packaging means recipients won’t suffer sliced fingers, broken nails and elevated blood pressure from wrestling those excruciating clamshell packages.

Puget Soundophiles: There may be folks on your list who never think about the Sound. Join the effort to turn everyone on Whidbey into a saltwater aficionado. There are plenty of inspiring sea-related books and activities floating around out there.

Have a happy, and Sound- friendly, holiday season.

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