The Electric Boat Company sets customers loose on Lake Union in trusty, battery-powered Duffy boats. Set-sailors steer their own 21-foot craft while traditional lake chanteys spill from the sound system, which includes a CD player and an iPod jack. Other passengers can lounge on leather seats in the cabin area, whose windows can be kept open to invite in the breeze or fully closed to avoid being poked by a marlin. Before a trip, guests can pack a cooler with snacks, pick up forgotten ice and drinks at the on-site snack shop, or satisfy appetites at lakeside restaurants.
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Under the giant canopy of a parachute, parasailors take to the sky over Ruston Way suspended in swing harnesses. Flying through the open air, rides take off from the RAM Restaurant and can ride up to three-passengers wide. Reaching heights of up to 1000 feet, they glide behind a boat manned by a certified and highly-trained captain who ensures flyers safely reach maximum altitudes.
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 Everett Rowing Association has been catering to novice and veteran rowers alike for more than three decades. Founded by Martin Beyer and Lynn Dykgraaf in 1982, the association helps aquatic enthusiasts of all levels hone their rowing skills. Newbies can enroll in a variety of introductory classes—some for adults, others for youth—that teach paddling basics as well as the little-known second verse to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Advanced rowers, meanwhile, can try out for the competitive Masters Team or the junior team for student-athletes.
Since 1962, owner and U.S. Coast Guard?licensed captain Terry Buzzard has gotten to know the San Juan Islands and surrounding miles of water pretty well. Having hauled mail for the Post Office, salvaged wrecks, assisted in oil spill cleanups, and ferried passengers throughout the San Juan Islands, he has built quite a resum? of seafaring. This relationship with water isn't so surprising considering he began boating at the age of 3 when he was allowed to pilot a single-horsepower boat by himself with his trained rescue dog, Rusty.
Regardless of the actual job he's performing, Terry is always drawn to whales. By 1978, this fascination lead him to chartering trips specifically for whale watching, especially toward the schools of orca that made the region their home. Looking back, he's pretty certain his boat was the only one in the area at the time dedicated to the thrill of witnessing some of the world's largest and most beautiful animals. Today, the waters are spotted with various boats filled with passengers snapping pictures of the great aquatic beasts and shouting ululations whenever one smacks its enormous tail against the water, takes a playful leap, or belts a Mariah Carey song.
Terry's boat, the 110-foot Island Caper, provides generous sightlines to all passengers via its spacious outdoor deck and ample indoor viewing areas, and is decked out with a 34-speaker sound system. In business for 52 years, Island Mariner Whale Watching's unparalleled time and experience on the water offers cruise-goers an ideal experience, and also employs a seaplane to help spot whales and guide tours. With his chief navigator??a 7-year-old airedale terrier also named Rusty??Terry is right out there amid the excitement, ferrying whale watchers and sharing his life-long passion.