Swimming in Newcastle

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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.

10042 NE 13th St
Bellevue,
WA
US

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.

4414 S 144th St.
Tukwila,
Washington
US

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.

2930 228th Ave. SE
Sammamish,
WA
US

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.

10601 Northeast 132nd Street
Kirkland,
WA
US

In 1920, a few intrepid explorers transformed the unpopulated shoreline of Vashon Island into an outdoor classroom, where they invited kids to come stay, play, and learn valuable skills. In the nearly 100 years since its founding, Camp Sealth's facilities have evolved, but its mission and activities have remained much the same. Camp organizers still helm resident camps for kids ages 6 to17, bunking them together in cabins by night and offering exploration of the 400 acres of forest and shoreline by day. Staffers lead horseback trail rides, teach survival skills such as archery and fire-starting.

They also provide more focused full-day retreats for students that teach leadership skills to teens. And to back all their camps and activities, the camp boasts an excellent safety record and a ban on frozen underwear pranks, as well as accreditation from the American Camp Association.

14500 SW Camp Sealth Rd
Vashon,
WA
US

To learn about the wildlife of Puget Sound, you could go to your local library or pour through pictures online. Or you could see it up close during a trip with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking. True to their company's name, the staff immerses adventurers in the scenic locale through SCUBA dives and kayak tours. While divers submerge themselves in dreamlike sites to look for octopi and rock fish, kayakers paddle across Eagle Harbor in search of otters and seabirds.

146 Winslow Way W
Bainbridge Island,
WA
US