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Crescent Harbor marina reopens

After years of searching in vain for young, human playmates in the waters near the former Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s marina, attention-starved fish will have cause for celebration in April when the military-only facility reopens.

The aquatic vertebrates, however, will not welcome the return of humans wielding fishing poles.

Crescent Harbor Adventures, the marina’s new appellation, was given the name because it offers a broader spectrum of services and equipment than the Navy facility that closed several years ago due to budget constraints. The marina will be open five days a week, Thursday through Monday, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to manager Mike Rowe, Crescent Harbor Adventures will be the new, one-stop-shop for outdoor activities on land and sea. In addition to watercraft rentals, patrons can rent outdoor equipment and sign up for classes and special trips.

A grand reopening offering a “camp, climb and sail day,” will be held at the marina Friday, April 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free festivities include a cookout, sail boating, kayaking, boat rides, camping demos, and a climbing wall.

The saltwater fleet boasts two brand new 15-foot Vanguard sailboats, three new 18-foot Coral Bay center-console boats that seat five people, 16-foot Hi Lakers with a six-person capacity, and 14-foot, four-seater Hi Lakers.

Freshwater vessels are available for aqua worshippers averse to sodium chloride. A new 16-and-a-half-foot Navigator Sport for five people is the flagship for a fleet that also includes a 14-foot, four-seater bass boat; a 14-foot Smoker Craft Alaskans; 12-foot Smoker Craft Alaskan Lites that each accommodate three people; and 12-foot John Boats, which seat three.

Sailors and their families were shocked in late February 2005 when they woke up one day and discovered a marina suddenly devoid of recreation boats. The vessels were reportedly placed on the auction block to address a budget deficit. The auction was conducted on a government

liquidation Web site where 44 boats were put up for sale.

The highly-anticipated reopening, made possible by the support of the NAS Whidbey’s Commanding Officer and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department, will mark the first time in years the marina is used for a purpose other than private moorage.

In the good ol’ days, families could rent Navy boats for far less than private rental firms charge - from roughly $30 a day for a small boat to $150 for a larger vessel capable of cruising the San Juans.

For more information about the services and a comprehensive list of rental prices, visit http://www.navylifepnw.com/site/213/NASWI-Marina.aspx

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