Do you live in the Pacific Northwest and have plans for the evening of Thursday, September 17th? If not, you should head on down to Bellingham, Washington and my favorite sailing ship – the beautiful, 91-year old Schooner Zodiac.
To celebrate Bellingham Beer Week, the Schooner Zodiac will be doing a special two-hour beer tasting sail on Bellingham Bay. It departs from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal (which is really the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal) in historic Fairhaven at 5:30 p.m., returning to the dock at 7:30 p.m.
Before the beer tasting, guests can join the crew of the Zodiac in raising the ship’s sails – including the largest mainsail on the West Coast. Once the sails are up, guests will be treated to five different brews from Bellingham-based Aslan Brewing Company. The beers are paired with hearty snacks prepared in the ship’s galley.
You can hop aboard for $65, which includes the sail, the beer and the brew. Frankly, it’s a deal. I’ve done an evening sail aboard the Zodiac, and it is a wonderful way to spend the evening. The Zodiac is meticulously preserved and operated by her loving (and mainly volunteer) crew, and participating in the actual sailing of the ship is a thrill like no other – and one that is becoming increasingly rare.
But the Zodiac isn’t just about day-sails; the best way to experience her is to take a multi-night cruise through the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State. In the past, I’ve embarked on Zodiac’s Wine Cruise and her Brew Cruise, and I found that both were on-par with some of the best expedition cruises I’ve taken.