Bus tour business takes to the sea

"You walk out of the hotel and step inside the comfort of a small Mercedes bus, where you watch Whidbey Island move by as the man at the wheel offers you pieces of the area’s history.You travel over scenic Deception Pass bridge, then a little while later you go under the bridge, through the swirling blue waters of the pass where you might catch a glimpse of an orca or porpoise.Sound fun?A couple of local tour lines are making just such a trip both easy and inexpensive for anyone staying at hotels on North or Central Whidbey, or anyone who just catches a ride at one of the stops. Whidbey Tours, a Coupeville bus tour company, and Mystic Sea, a charter cruise line out of La Conner, have teamed up to start the “by land and by sea” tour this week.Dan Currier, the owner of Whidbey Tours, said he is providing free transportation, both pick-up and return, for people who have reservations for the Mystic Sea.Currier said the he picks up people — who pre-registered with the Mystic Sea — each mornings at the Captain Whidbey Inn, the Coachman Inn, the Best Western Plaza, Auld Holland Inn, the Deception Pass Visitor Center and Fidalgo Inn, then drops them off in La Conner at the Mystic Sea.The seven-hour whale watch tour aboard the 100-foot Mystic Sea costs $69 per person. The cruise goes through Deception Pass to the San Juan Islands, home to 82 orcas. Other wildlife people often see on the tour include gray whales, harbor seals, sea lions, dahls porpoises, bald eagles and blue herons.But in between the complimentary rides to the Mystic Sea, Currier said he’ll still do his regular guided, history-filled tours of Ebey’s Landing National Reserve, which includes historic Coupeville, Fort Casey, Sunnyside Cemetery and Ebey’s Landing.Currier said the free rides should help the island’s tourism-related economy by encouraging visitors to spend another day on Whidbey — which means they’ll spend more on hotel rooms, food and entertainment.For more information on Whidbey Tours, call 678-5641 or (877) 881-1203. For information on Mystic Sea Charters call (800) 308-9387."

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