Friday afternoon, the 100-foot long M/V Mystic Sea will carefully moor at Langley Marina for a two-month stay that should bring plenty of new tourists to Langley anxious to take the boat out to view gray whales.
The whales have been reported near Langley for several weeks now, so the time is ripe for the Mystic Sea’s arrival.
“I heard they were off the bluff and looking good,” boat owner Monte Hughes said Tuesday.
For the past 22 years, the Mystic Sea, based in Anacortes, has done most of its Puget Sound whale watching out of LaConner and Coupeville.
“We’ve been trying to come to Langley for over 10 years with the idea they’d have a dock,” Hughes said with a chuckle.
Langley’s long-awaited marina expansion has just gone out for bid, but nevertheless the marina is ready for the Mystic Sea, according to Ed Field, operations manager.
Field said the 120-foot long “C Dock” has been cleared for the Mystic Sea’s arrival. “We’ve been working with Monte (Hughes) on procedures for bringing the boat in and out, making sure there’s no interfering with other boats,” he said, adding that will be easier at high tide than low tide.
Hughes said the Mystic Sea is expected to arrive in Langley between 1 and 2 p.m. Friday.
The port also received an extension from a state agency to allow a longer period for commercial vessels to use the marina. Traditionally, it is been turned over exclusively to transient pleasure boats beginning in April. Field said an extension to the end of April has been approved for the Mystic Sea, giving Hughes the time he needs for his whale watching tours.
The large boat will bring in extra money for the port, paying $850 a month in moorage plus $1 a head for each passenger.
Beginning Saturday, March 8, and continuing through April 29, the M/V Mystic Sea will be offering gray whale watching cruises lasting 2 ½ to 3 hours out of the Langley Marina.
The vessel will return to its homeport of Anacortes on May 1 for the orca, humpback, and minke whale watching season.
Hughes predicts plenty of demand for his service and a boost to the city’s economy.
“Visitors from near and far will have plenty of time after returning from their gray whale cruise to explore Langley … relax, shop, dine, and stay the night in the beautiful Village by the Sea,” he said.
To ensure that the “Langley Experience” is convenient and pleasurable for everyone, Mystic Sea Charters is making a special effort to work with the community.
In order to minimize vehicle impact on both the harbor as well as on the city of Langley, whale watching customers that come from across Puget Sound will be encouraged to park on the mainland and walk on the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry. All Island Taxi Service will be available, as well as Island Transit, offering transportation for passengers to and from the ferry. Island Transit operates every day but Sunday.
In addition, Mystic Sea Charters will be offering reimbursement for walk-on passengers who come to Langley via the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry to go whale watching. For Whidbey Island residents a $10 discount per person for all military personnel and their family members over age 17 is offered by Mystic Sea Charters, in support of our troops.
Mystic Sea Charters has been doing whale watch cruises in the San Juan Islands and the Deception Pass / Saratoga Passage area for over 20 years.
“Mystic Sea has an impeccable safety record and is known for its friendly, fun cruises, along with its very knowledgeable crew,” Hughes said.
The Mystic Sea is described as a fast, ocean-rated, Coast Guard certified vessel. She offers a heated, enclosed, comfortable, aft deck, along with excellent inside and outside viewing. The Mystic Sea welcomes individuals as well as groups. In addition to whale watching and wildlife cruises, Mystic Sea Charters will be available for luncheon and dinner cruises, weddings, corporate events and parties.
Hughes said the Mystic Sea captains and crew say they are looking forward to welcoming the gray whales back into Puget Sound and are excited about the opportunity to share the “Langley Experience.”
“It’s ideal for the ‘whale zone’,” Hughes said of Langley. “It’s a great little seaport town.”
For more information and reservations, call 1-800-308-9387 or go online to mysticseacharters.com for cruise departure times and prices.