Craig Willemsen wears a lot of hats at Silent World Diving Systems. The instructor certifier, tech instructor, and store owner has spent the last 40 years swimming with schools of fish all over the world. After his first trip in 1972, Craig developed a passion for diving, exploring international waters and teaching others advanced techniques that they use to follow in his flippersteps. With more than 6,000 dives under his belt, his dedication to diving and education has earned him one of the highest SSI instructor ratings and the SSI Platinum Pro 5,000 Diver and Instructor Award.
Craig leads Silent World's team of certified instructors who strive to teach students the art of underwater exploration and also broaden their knowledge on a variety of related subjects. At any given moment, they may be leading students in open-water dives, pointing out local diving sites that match their skill levels, or matching newcomers with the right gear and Zodiac-themed wetsuits.
The first time George Todd sailed, he took to the seas for two years. His initial voyage carried him from Hong Kong through the West Indies and, eventually, to America. He was hooked. Looking to continue his aquatic explorations, the former Navy pilot and officer set out to build his own vessel from many of the materials he obtained on his travels. The elegant result was the Schooner Mallory Todd, a 65-foot yacht furnished with the trappings of a bygone nautical age: antique stained glass, rubbed mahogany, and a main saloon outfitted with porcelain fireplaces.
Today, the Schooner Mallory Todd takes to the waters helmed by a dedicated crew. A US Coast Guard-certified captain mans voyages for up to 30 passengers at a time, guiding guests through the mountain-framed reaches of Lake Washington and Lake Union. Along the way, the ship might pass the iconic houseboats featured in Sleepless in Seattle, or drift by bald eagles building their nests and combing over their neck plumage.
Besides running charters, Todd helms his own nonprofit, the Sailing Heritage Society. Every year, the organization grants more than 100 free sailing trips to ill and underserved children. All fees for charters on the Schooner Mallory Todd support the society's charitable voyages.
The ability to swim allowed humanity to explore the seas, discover pearls inside oysters, and evolve arms devoid of inflatable muscles. Wave Aquatics Centers’ instructors understand the importance of such a skill, aiming to impart it within children and adults alike across the community. Working as a nonprofit organization fueled by the common purpose of providing students of all ages with a slew of programs and lessons, the staffers share their wisdom in Juanita and Redmond High School pools. They train their charges in competitive swimming, maintaining three teams, including a year-round Masters-level team taught by professional coaches and reformed mermaids.
Like feathers on a gentle breeze, skilled gymnasts fly, flip, and twist with seemingly effortless grace. Northwest Aerials helps young athletes learn to move in all manner of nimble ways. Its gymnastics, dance, trampoline, and swimming classes all focus on blending technique with creativity in increasingly more challenging lessons. Starting with Wiggle Worms classes for ages 12? 35 months, kids can climb, jump, and stretch. Gym Fit classes for ages 3?5 years let kids practice basic gymnastics skills such as bars and tumbling, while Extra Gym classes offer kids of all ages non-structured playtime. Trampoline classes take place on professional-quality trampolines and dance classes run the gamut of styles, including ballet, tap, and hip hop.
Columbia Athletic Clubs are full-service facilities that have something for everyone. There are over eighty group exercise classes each week, such as water aerobics, hot yoga, and classes conducted in the Mind and Body Studio, all of which are all included in each membership. There's also an indoor Salt-Pure lap pool for all levels of swimmers and a 90 degree pool for kids. A talented group of personal trainers work with clients to get the most out of every workout. The club's amenities extend beyond pure fitness. At the Kids Club, youngens can play games under the supervision of an experienced staff while parents hit the gym.
Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn?t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill?and, adding insult to injury, the men?s equipment didn?t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.