PORT TOWNSEND — Just outside of Port Townsend is an amazing National Wildlife Refuge — Protection Island.
The Port Townsend Marine Science Center, in collaboration with Puget Sound Express, will host a special New Year’s Eve Migration Cruise to Protection Island.
Tickets are $80 and are available at www.puget soundexpress.com/tours/birdwatching-tours/bird-migration-cruise.
The three-hour cruises depart at 1 p.m. from the Point Hudson Marina at 227 Jackson St., and include a stop at Killisut Harbor/Mystery Bay or Smith Island.
On-board refreshments are available or participants are invited to bring their own lunch.
Naturalists from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center will serve as on-board interpreters and provide commentary on local birds, mammals, geology, history and weather.
Nearly 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Straits nest on the island, which includes one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinoceros auklets in the world and the largest nesting colony of glaucous-winged gulls in Washington.
The island contains one of the last two nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals depend upon the island for a pupping and rest area.
This 364-acre island is covered by grass and low brush, with a small timbered area, high sandy bluffs for seabird nesting, and low sand spits on two ends of the island.
For information, call 360-385-5288.