Photo: Willapa Seaport Museum

The waters surrounding the Peninsula have been travelled by man for centuries. Native Americans used dugout canoes to travel from one village to another or from one game, fishing or food area to one more plentiful or in season. The first white man came to these shores in sailing ships and traded with the Indians for their pelts, shells, baskets and bead work. It would be safe to say, that the maritime industry has been an integral part of the Peninsula’s culture for centuries.

Fortunes were made and lost in this industry. Oysters were shipped to San Francisco in the 1800’s and sold for $1.00 each. Sea Captains began ‘piloting the ships’ across the treacherous Columbia River Bar and built mansions with their wealth. Fishing was not only a way of life, but it also was a reflection of cultures….and strongly divided….not only where they lived, but how and who processed their catch!

Today, Cruise Ships dock and the passengers make their way across the river to hear these stories and more…from the interpretive sites to the museums to the ‘fresh catches’ served in the local restaurants…it all revolves around the Peninsula’s waters!