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Sun and fun on Memorial Day weekend
By TIM ADAMS
Even though the official start of summer is still 25 days away, bright sunshine and warm temperatures made the extended Memorial Day weekend reminiscent of what Whidbey Island is like in late July and early August.
Tourists and locals were out in force, much to the delight of area merchants, and the campgrounds, beaches and parks were packed with people enjoying three days of continuous clement weather.
Throngs of shellfish diggers flocked to sites at Penn Cove and other areas to harvest buckets full of the tasty mollusks, while the annual 3 on 3 Rock On soccer tournament packed the fields at Fort Nugent Park.
Popular “fishing holes” like the Oak Harbor Marina and Cranberry Lake had anglers of all ages and skill levels trying their luck in the briny deep for porgies or in fresh water hoping to reel in one of the many trout the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has stocked in lakes around the island.
At Penn Cove, Art Arias from La Conner and his buddy, Kirk Wilson from Burlington, said they had been out about an hour or so and had dug their limit of 40 clams or 10 pounds apiece.
“I’m the amateur and he figured out why he brought me along,” Wilson said, jerking his thumb at Arias and smiling.
Action on Saturday at Fort Nugent Park was almost non- stop and was scheduled to continue through Sunday as young soccer players in colorful uniforms from as far away as Lakewood and Lynden played 12-minute halves in front of fans who picnicked in the bright sunshine.
At the Oak Harbor Marina, the Shaw family from Lynnwood were trying their luck using several types of bait and setups, without any success. No matter, it was the family getting together for a day on the water that was most important.
Boaters and jet skiers stirred up the waters of Dugualla Bay, while sea-going mariners were hard at work putting the finishing touches on their sailboats and cabin cruisers in preparation for the summer season and Whidbey Island Race Week, which is fast approaching.
For many others, it was a time to get together with friends and family to enjoy an old-fashioned barbecue.
Even those among us who had to put in a few hours at work still had the opportunity to sit back and relax, toss a steak on the grill at home and watch the Seattle Mariners try to improve on what has started out as yet another dismal season.
Whatever your choice of activity, Memorial Day weekend 2009 was a great one.