Santa Claus made his yearly journey to Marrowstone Island Dec. 8, led not by a team of reindeer, but instead in the sturdy bow of a boat.
This annual tradition gathers the kids of Marrowstone to the docks of the Nordland General Store, where event organizer and store owner Tom Rose hosts children and their families for a Santa meet and greet.
On the dock, the children wait, gazing out at the still green water of Mystery Bay. At first, there’s no movement besides the occasional flight of a bird in the distance. But then, the sound of Christmas music comes from across the water, faint at the start, and then growing in volume as Santa approaches.
Waving from the bow of the 1963 boat, Pelican Point, captained by Larry Fay and Martha Ashman, who have been providing Santa transport for 20 years now, Santa approaches the dock yelling out “Merry Christmas!”
Walking up the slippery dock, he (who is actually played by a “she,” although Santa’s identity is “an island-wide secret,” Fay said) embraces the kids who wait excitedly to meet him, lining up to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him their Christmas wishes.