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One of the greatest adventures visitors can have in Newport is a trip aboard the 65-foot Discovery, the spacious tour boat operated by Marine Discovery Tours. Endorsed by the Oregon Coast Aquarium as a “Floating Adventure,” this award-winning family-owned business was started in 1992 by a West Coast fisherman, Captain Don Mathews, and his wife, Fran, a marine journalist and storyteller. They, and their fun team of naturalists, love sharing their “close to shore back yard” – Yaquina Bay and River, and the nearby Pacific, with its abundant Oregon sea life. Their team’s mission statement says it all: “Share hands-on activities and information that lead to connections with the aquatic world. Have fun. Repeat the process!” They annually welcome aboard visitors – from local families to international travelers, students on field trips, special events, and motor coach groups from across North America.
Expeditions look for gray whales, seals, sea lions, porpoise, and sea birds tucked amidst the spectacular Oregon coastline. Guests are entertained with coastal stories ranging from the early lighthouse keepers to modern day fishermen with satellite-driven navigation systems. Hands-on activities include cruising sparkling inland waters, while pulling up Dungeness crab pots filled with Oregon’s official “State Crustacean”. Volunteers help tow plankton nets to view the microscopic base of all ocean food chains … favorite local seafood courtesy of these mighty microscopic wonders! Guests love grabbing new shots for Facebook albums, and, navigation lessons are a favorite feature with the captain – all ages welcome!
Safety & Fun are #1: the route is determined daily by the captain if the ocean is calm and safe, the Discovery heads out of harbor. If the conditions are found rough at the ocean crossing, no worries – the captain will re-route the experience to calmly cruise through 4,000 acres of salt water bay and freshwater river systems. Both routes include a variety of sea life, sights and activities, with matching stories.
Berthed conveniently on Newport’s Bayfront, the Discovery is the largest passenger vessel on the coast. Loads of one-of-a-kind features include comfortable seating for all in a heated cabin, two levels of spacious outdoor decks, a video microscope connected to monitors displaying plankton catches, radar and GPS activity, with the latest in safety equipment. Refreshments include organic coffee, plus Rogue Ales and Oregon wines for purchase. Special group event cruises are available for brunches, dinner parties, family reunions, weddings, and the scattering of ashes at sea.
Make reservations for a unique must-do Newport experience that’s available from March through October with Marine Discovery Tours at (541) 265-6200.
WHERE: 345 SW Bay Blvd – Newport