Sailing in Norridge


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  • The Northwest Passage Chicago
    Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete?s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors. An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day?which always includes a cappuccino break?you?ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn. Days 1?2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay. Days 3?6: Each day, the group of 6?17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You?ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samari? Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.Days 7?8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.See the full itinerary for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
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    1130 Greenleaf Ave.
    Wilmette, IL US
  • Urban Kayaks
    Brothers Aaron and Asher Gershenzon and friend James Morro grew up in the city, but always possessed a passion for the outdoors. They practiced wilderness kayaking for most of their lives before earning their American Canoe Association certifications on Lake Superior. Each of them brings dual passions for their home city and outdoor sports to the company?s guided group and private kayak trips. Guided paddles change on every outing as guides blend downtown architectural commentary and little-known gangster stories with tie-ins to current events. Though each guide tells different stories, often interspersed with humor, all of them focus on environmentally friendliness. Paddling trips utilize a fleet of lime-green Confluence Watersports kayaks, and staffers often wear lime-green shirts?all of which render them easily identifiable from the riverwalk, but well camouflaged in supermarket produce sections. Up to four guides lead groups of 15 kayaks or less and prepares them with a briefing on paddling techniques, rules of the river, and assurances of the stability of their wide recreation kayaks. The guides' watchful eyes and constant advice have instilled confidence in even the most unsure participants, When not guiding trips, staffers extend their easygoing atmosphere to their office?nestled across the river from the Centennial Fountain's Water Arc?where the storefront lies amidst the bustling city that surrounds it. Inside the shop, the owners' much-beloved pooches frolic around a hanging hammock.
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    270 Chicago Riverwalk
    Chicago, IL US
  • Go Sailing Chicago
    Gliding across Lake Michigan, the sailing party watches the sun sink beneath the Chicago skyline. As the last rays fade from view, the city's skyscrapers throw their light onto the lake's surface. The captain steers the ship past Grant Park and Millennium Park, and then veers out toward Navy Pier, where the ship's passengers find a prime viewing spot for the Saturday-night fireworks show. In addition to charters like these, the captains of Go Sailing Chicago—all holding US Coast Guard Master Captain licenses and certifications from the American Sailing Association and US Sailing—furnish beginner through advanced sailors with sailing gloves and life jackets before leading hands-on instruction in proper seamanship. Launching from DuSable and Monroe Harbor, and sometimes other points along the lakeshore, Go Sailing Chicago's four-boat fleet meets or exceeds the safety standards set down by the USCG and the most persnickety of ship-in-a-bottle builders.
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    400 East Monroe Street
    Chicago, IL US
  • Wendella Sightseeing Boats
    In 1935, Albert Borgstrom, a Swedish immigrant and carpenter by trade, set about constructing a 65-foot wooden yacht. He named the ship The Wendella and charged visitors $0.25 to ride through the city and listen to a guide expound on the sights. This simple vessel ended up being a steppingstone, and 75 years later, guests still ride along, now craning their heads back at the jagged opalescent silhouette of Trump Tower and the beehive curves of Marina City. Beneath the evolving skyline, the fleet has expanded to six vessels, which are now run by Albert's grandson, Michael Borgstrom. Wendella staffs a dedicated, in-house education department to keep the city's history alive and make sure that people continue to believe in water so it doesn’t disappear. On special excursions, the crew stocks the boats with wine for tastings beneath the stars or points the vessel through the verdigris waters of the lake to watch evening fireworks shows.
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    400 N Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL US
  • Kayak Chicago Chicago
    The hustle and bustle of the city can’t touch the calm waters of Lake Michigan. There, on gently rolling waves surrounded by fresh breezes, Kayak Chicago hosts tours and lessons, and lets paddlers take to the waters on their own with rentals. Captained by Dave Olson, a kayaker for more than 20 years and outdoor educator for more than 10, the company entrusts certified instructors and guides with shaping the strokes of kayaking newbies. Their tours take aquatic explorers out on the lake at night to ooh and ahh over summer fireworks or along the Chicago River to survey the city’s renowned architecture and map out their next bank heist. The staff also plants patrons on standup paddleboards for introductory lessons or wave-top rounds of SUPYoga or SUPPilates.
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    1220 W. LeMoyne Ave.
    Chicago, IL US
  • Tall Ship Red Witch
    What looks like a crimson-hulled pirate ship glides into view from behind Shedd Aquarium. The wind picks up, surging into the schooner's 77-foot gaff-rigged sails and speeding the vessel along Lake Shore Drive at 8 knots. Those on shore can just make out the boat's name, Red Witch, and what appear to be passengers raising a drink to the Chicago skyline. Designed by renowned naval architect John G. Alden and named after the book Wake of the Red Witch?the same story that inspired the film starring John Wayne and Gail Russell?the Coast Guard?licensed ship accommodates up to 49 passengers within its mahogany-over-oak frame. Having sailed waters off Maui and San Diego, the boat now docks at Burnham Harbor and is under the stewardship of Captain Andrew Sadock and his crew who will be glad to autograph cannonballs for each passenger.
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    600 E Waldron Dr.
    Chicago, IL US

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