Clipper trips snipped

A beloved icon of Langley’s holiday season is no more.

Mayor Tim Callison announced at a city council meeting Jan. 21 that the Clipper will not be returning to the Langley waterfront.

Known for its whale-watching tours and for bringing tourists into town to shop for many Decembers, the San Juan Clipper is no longer in operation, said Scott Meis, vice president of marketing for Clipper Vacations.

The 30-year-old vessel has been discontinued, in an agreement made between Clipper Vacations and its parent company, Fast Reliable Seaways.

But fret not, gray whale watchers.

Langley Chamber of Commerce Director Inge Morascini said boats will be returning to town this spring to lead gray whale tours. Led by the Puget Sound Express, boat tours are scheduled from March 13 through April 25.

This will be the second year the Puget Sound Express, a Port Townsend-based company, has led tours in Langley. Last year they took the helm from Mystic Sea Charters, which had previously led tours for 28 years.

Owned by the Hanke family, the Puget Sound Express has been running whale-watching tours for more than 30 years. The Langley tour is one of their newest routes.

Tours last three hours at the most, and begin at the Port of South Whidbey. Tickets for adults are $85, and tickets for kids ages 2-10 are $65. For more information, visit the Puget Sound Express website.