Special program planned for historic Bainbridge cruise

A special program is planned for the annual Cruise Around the Island aboard the historic Virginia V steamship this year.

The three-hour tour along the shore will feature Dennis Lewarch, Suquamish Tribal Preservation Officer, who will share his vast knowledge of the historical relationship of the Suquamish Tribe and Bainbridge Island.

The tour is 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15. Organizers said the trip will be a rare opportunity to learn about the island’s 18 archeological sites documenting the life of the Suquamish over the past 5,000 years.

The cruise departs from Bainbridge Island Waterfront Dock, and tickets for the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum event can be obtained at 206-842-2773 ($95, or $85 for museum members). Tickets include a boxed meal, a no-host bar and an opportunity to explore the old steamship.

Lewarch has more than 41 years of experience as a professional archaeologist and has conducted archaeological investigations in Mexico and in 25 states throughout the United States. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from the University of Washington.

He described his narration this way:

"Bainbridge Island by Water: The Suquamish Viewpoint" — the Suquamish People have rich maritime traditions and have been traversing the marine shoreline of Bainbridge Island by canoe for thousands of years.

The canoe provided a unique, water-level viewpoint on nearshore environmental characteristics and shoreline topography. The waterborne tour of the Bainbridge Island shoreline will cover the archaeological, ethnographic and early historic period records of the area. Data from 18 archaeological sites on Bainbridge Island and other nearby archeological localities document Suquamish life ways over the past 5,000 years.

There are 37 Suquamish place names for areas on the shoreline, with references to shellfish gathering, fishing sites, spring and summer camps, villages, environmental characteristics and creation stories. Early historic period descriptions of Restoration Point in 1792, 1833, and 1841 and other areas recorded by George Vancouver, Hudson's Bay Company traders, U.S. Navy surveyors and Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey hydrographers provide additional historic context on the Suquamish use of Bainbridge Island.

For more information on the cruise, visit

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