Why every Western student should explore the waterfront

Up on the hill at Western Washington University, I often forgot to take a break from my studies and explore off campus. Now as a recent WWU grad and Bellingham SeaFeast intern, I wish I had discovered Bellingham’s waterfront sooner. Not only is it a beautiful and bustling place, but the waterfront’s network extends throughout the city, from historic Fairhaven, to the new Waypoint Park, and down to the busy Squalicum Harbor; the waterfront has a way of connecting and increasing your understanding of Bellingham. 

If you eat at one of the many great restaurants in downtown Bellingham and try a dish featuring fresh caught fish, chances are they came through the Port of Bellingham. Did you know the largest cold storage facility on the West Coast is right here in Bellingham? That means that fish from Alaska may have arrived here at Bellingham Cold Storage before it hit your plate! And that Argosy boat you took on a tour in Seattle? That was built right here at All American Marine. During Saturday of Bellingham SeaFeast, you’ll have the chance to see the inner workings of this local boat builder and the cold storage facility with a behind-the-scenes tour.

When I first visited Squalicum Harbor, I took a walk to Gate 5, where a fishing vessel happened to be holding a survival suit drill. What’s a survival suit, you ask?

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The captain had his crew run a drill of quickly getting in the suits and jumping in the water. Drills like this, boat repairs, and the hustle of both fishing and recreational boats in and out of the harbor means the waterfront is always alive and moving!

So, Western students — Bellingham SeaFeast is September 21 and 22 this year! If you’re looking for an excuse to take a break from unpacking during move-in weekend and jumpstart your understanding of this busy and sometimes confusing town, look no further. 

Bellingham SeaFeast even has a survival suit race — and a multitude of other maritime fun and delicious seafood — so impress your friends with your waterfront knowledge and head down to Squalicum Harbor this September.


Emily Mueller is Bellingham SeaFeast’s 2019 Storytelling and Marketing Intern. She is originally from Alaska and graduated from Western Washington University this spring with a BA in Journalism and minors in Spanish and Public History.

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Emily Mueller