Epic voyaging need not be reserved for classical heroes who speak in dactylic hexameter. Just as Odysseus slayed the hurricane from aboard his inflatable raft, you too can conquer vengeful waters with today's Groupon to Gold Rush Whitewater Rafting. For just $50, you'll go on a heart-pumping, rapid-raging tour of the South Fork of the American River (44% off a $90 value).
Action Watersports' experienced instructors lead groups of seafaring paddlers on rolling adventures that buoy confidence and coordination. During each lesson, a wave maven and a fleet of up to five paddlers hit the frothy drink for roughly two hours of gliding above schools of fish and merpeople tea parties. Tap into core muscles to maintain balance and burgeoning biceps to propel you forward on the muscle-powered schooner. Lesson leaders structure courses to help boarders hone basic paddling techniques, so each pupil feels confident, water-worthy, and superior to aimlessly drifting seaweed. Swimming ability is recommended, and classes are available by appointment any day of the week, with 24 hours' notice, until July 1.
Miles into the Pacific Ocean, Harbor Breeze Cruises' captain tells a story. He speaks of a whale making the journey from the Bering Sea in Alaska to Scammon's Lagoon in Baja California, Mexico, right when—as if on cue—a whale breaks the water's surface. Its blowhole fires a plume of water into the air as sightseers, spread across two decks, feast upon views of the majestic creature and their camera shutters snap furiously to capture the moment.
Up to 80 feet long, Harbor Breeze's double-decker vessels, such as the Triumphant and the Christopher, allow groups of up to 150 strong to visit the habitats of a diverse group of marine wildlife with unimpaired views from stadium seating; tours often spy whales, dolphins as they leap into the air, and harbor seals as they sign traffic signals to passing boats. Aquarium of the Pacific partners with Harbor Breeze to photo ID marine wildlife and conduct research on tours. Aside from tours, Harbor Breeze Cruises also charters boats for weddings and memorials.
They're out there somewhere. White sea bass. Captain Allyn Watson hunts the elusive fish aboard The Dreamer, a 46’ vessel that cruises the Pacific at speeds of up to 15 knots. He knows the waters well; after all, it’s that expert knowledge that helped him placed first in Hubbs Sea World Research Foundation's white sea bass competition for seven consecutive years. He's not alone this time, however. Today, Captain Watson’s accompanied by a faithful crew and a group of passengers, each armed with a fishing pole and a hunger for seaward adventure. As they drop anchor in the middle of calm waters, lines fly from all sides of the boat. It’s a bad afternoon to be a sea bass.
Allyn Watson is just one of the independent captains who works out of Pierpoint Landing. There, their eight boats occupy spots at the docks, ready to carry groups on fishing adventures that can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks at a time. Aboard the 75’ Toronado, Captain Ray Lagmay and up to 49 passengers take overnight trips to catch barracuda, rockfish, and other targets. Meanwhile, the Southern Cal and its leaders, Captain Ryan and Captain Mitch, snag similar fish during shorter, half-day trips.
Instructors at Pacific Sailing's ASA-certified sailing school teach a variety of students the basics of navigating coastal waters and instruct students in specialized types of sailing or in the students' greatest areas of interest. Captains lead group and private lessons that cover basic keelboat sailing, basic coastal cruising, bareboat chartering, and coastal navigation—providing the skills necessary to unfurl and tie a sail or navigate using electronics, the light of the stars, and directions from a well-traveled seagull. The instructors conduct their lessons and lead skippered day sails, sunset sails, and overnight trips at the helm of Colgate, Hunter, Catalina, Irwin, and Beneteau sailboats.
Marina Sailing's USCG-certified skippers turn hydrophobic landlubbers of all skill levels and ages into seasoned seafarers with a litany of maritime courses. Hydro-curious adults can get a taste of the open seas aboard one of Marina Sailing's vessels for a two-hour introductory sailing excursion. The sail gives dry-behind-the-ears novices a chance to experience the feel of the waves and the worthiness of their sea legs before making a commitment to lengthy learning. Those already enthralled by the charming wit and firm handshake of the sea may opt for two basic-sailing weekend courses. In the first three-hour lesson, students learn the watery fundamentals, including boat safety, casting off, raising sail, sailing upwind, and more, and the second class covers more advanced techniques, such as single-handed sailing, close-quarters maneuvering, docking under sail, and beaming up William Shatner.