Local history has long been a draw for residents in and around Gig Harbor, many of whom have relatives who settled the area or take pride in knowing the local lore.
The Fox Island Historical Society is one local historical organization that works to share local history, not only through the Fox Island Museum but with its annual historical cruise around the island.
The event is so popular that it is already sold out for 2016 and plans for the 2017 cruise are already underway, said board president Karen Kretschmer.
“It’s very popular,” she said. “Last year’s and this year’s trip have sold out in little more than a week.”
The cruise served as a fundraising event for the museum for several years and then was discontinued for almost a decade before Kretschmer brought the event back last year.
“I don’t know why it was dropped for that period,” she said. “As soon as word got out that we were bringing it back we got tremendous feedback.”
Despite an unexpected mechanical issue that required a shift from the event’s usual vessel — Carlisle II — and a date change from its previous September date, the cruise will continue as planned.
The new cruise date is Saturday (Oct. 1) on My Girl, a 69-foot yacht moored in Tacoma, which will leave for the event from the Fox Island Yacht Club with 100 passengers and embark on a two-hour cruise circling the island.
The boat used for the cruise in years past, Carlisle II, is one of only two remaining operational Mosquito Fleet vessels, built in 1917. A mechanical breakdown of the vessel prevented its use in this year’s cruise. The 64-foot vessel continues to provide foot passenger service between Port Orchard and Bremerton, while carrying the designation of a “floating museum” by the Washington Commission for the Humanities.
Narrated by longtime Fox Island resident David McHugh, the cruise will provide information on the island’s history, local wildlife and sea life.
The sites pointed out during the cruise are chosen for their interest level to the audience, Kretschmer said.
“It’s fun to see all the sites that are pointed out,” she said. “We see quite a bit of wildlife during the cruise.”
Next year, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Carlile II, the historical society is organizing a bigger birthday event for the cruise. Updates can be found on the museum’s website at foxislandmuseum.org.