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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hop around the ‘Canadian Galapagos’

Christianne Sharman

In the great “Bull Durham,” self-appointed team seductress Annie Savoy advises hothead pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh to breathe through his eyelids like the lava lizards of the Galapagos Islands. She also recommends he wear a garter belt while on the road.

I’m no baseball expert, so you won’t get an analysis on the efficacy of these methods from me. But you can sort of try them out for yourself in, as odd as it sounds, Canada. Please don’t tell me if you do.

According to Vancouver’s Maple Leaf Adventures, the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia are known as the Canadian Galapagos.

I’m not sure who says that. Maybe the Maple Leaf folks sit around the office inventing imaginary equivalents for tropical locales. This successfully invalidates the long-held belief there are no bad ideas in brainstorming.

Further, I will point out their average February temperature is not around 86 degrees as it is in the South American variety.

Here’s their explanation: “There are about 150 islands to cruise around and oodles of wildlife: whales, dolphins, bears and millions of seabirds” — all of which “have evolved differently from their mainland counterparts.”

Come on! Are any of these critters eyelid-breathers? I think not.

Nevertheless, the Canadian government and the Haida people conferred national park reserve status on the islands in the ’80s.

National Geographic calls it the top national park in North America, and judges Maple Leaf Adventures the “#3 adventure cruise company on Earth,” according to the information it sent my way.

To see for yourself, hop onboard the Maple Leaf, a “classic” 92-foot schooner, for a nine-day tour accompanied by the ship’s naturalist. You’ll disembark for shore excursions to island beach, rainforest and cultural sites. The Haida people, “the most powerful Northwest coast culture,” left an original village and Haida guides will take you to “monumental” poles, more than 150 years old.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, your onboard chef is whipping up a mess of vittles.

All this can be yours from May 9 to 17 or May 18 to 24. Your $3,450 U.S. fare covers the nine-day, eight-night adventure, all accommodations, meals, wine with dinner, shore excursions, use of on-board kayaks and other gear, and more.

Get details at www.mapleleafadventures.com or 888.599.5323.

Regional events

Seventh annual Row Expo, March 6-9, Bellingham. They’re calling this a major boat show catering to the slide-seat rowing enthusiast. You can check out rowing shells, accessories, finished boats and the new indoor WaterRower.

Experts on hand will answer your questions. ( www.merrywherry.com/ 360.738.8059)

Wine and Food Festival, March 7, Great Falls. Here’s your big chance to sample food, and more than 100 wines, beers and other beverages from Montana and the surrounding areas. ( www.visitmt.com/ 800-548-8256)

Washington Apple Blossom Festival, April 23-May 3 Wenatchee. They’ll have apple-themed events like a pie eating contest, bake-off, and some not-so-apple-related happenings such as a run, golf, arts and crafts, auction, carnival and the Classy Chassis Parade and Car Show. ( www.appleblossom.org/ 509-662-3616)

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