Langley needs more whale stuff.
The Village by the Sea’s quest to become the whale capital of Whidbey Island is off to a swimming start, but more can be done.
For starters, the city could use an official mascot — a cuddly marine face that visitors will instantly associate with Langley. Perhaps it could be Patch, the mascot of the Welcome the Whales Festival and Parade, the jolly annual April reception of our marine brethren to Saratoga Passage and beyond. But if Patch doesn’t work out, we could come up with something new, such as Fluffy the orca or Rainbow the gray whale.
The bell at Whale Bell Park is an excellent means of alerting visitors and residents alike that they should turn their gaze to the water, but perhaps a bullhorn might serve us better. That way, spotters could simply shout out where to look.
City leaders are currently looking to protect Langley’s growing whale-town identity, and the whales themselves, by lobbying state regulators for a ban on ghost shrimp fishing, as Langley’s tide flats have long been a rich feeding ground. But if that doesn’t work, perhaps the city could establish its own fleet of intervention boats, such as those on the reality television series, “Whale Wars.”
And on Saturday, the Langley Whale Center on Second Street and Anthes Avenue will open its doors to the public. Staffed by members of Orca Network, the same group recently featured in the film “Blackfish,” it’s a surefire way to attract even more tourists to town.
Once again, however, it’s a foundation that can be improved upon. Perhaps Langley Main Street Association’s golf cart can be retrofitted to resemble an orca, and its horn the sound of whale song. It would be the perfect vehicle to shuttle whale lovers to and from the waterfront.
Of course, the same could be accomplished with the city’s proposed funicular. The sight of a large mechanical orca humping visitors up and down the bluff would no doubt leave a lasting impression and once and for all establish Langley as the undisputed whale destination of Whidbey Island.