Sailing in Seattle

23 Aug

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Summer in Seattle means time spent on or in the water. The Pacific Northwest is overflowing with rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, hot springs, bays and inlets. All these aquatic options lends itself to many adventures, be it kayaking, swimming, fishing, or in today’s case, sailing.

On pier 54 ‘Let’s Go Sailing!’ offers low-key jaunts around Eliot Bay in a racing sail boat. The trips are a few hours long and for $25 a person I think they are very affordable.

Bridget and I chose the sunset sail, shoving off with 12 other passengers and 2 crew men at 7:30 to catch one Seattle’s amazing sunsets from the peaceful waters of the Puget Sound.

Witnessing the Seattle skyline shrink back as the waters lap at the hull and dusk begins to paint the skyscrapers gold and the sky pink and orange is a wonderful feeling.

I have seen this city, ‘the Emerald City’, from countless perspectives and angles but it is from the sailboat, 4 feet above the water, under a full sail, that I think is my favorite.

The focus is on the Olympics and the orange orb as we merry makers sip our wine and champagne and snap photos.


At the Eastern foot of Madison st. is a grassy swath, packed on sunny summer days. The beach is small and the water of lake Washington is chilly to some, but the opportunity to swim out to the floating dock and leap from the high dive make this my favorite swimming hole in Seattle.

Sand underfoot and a spectacular view of Seattle are two good reasons to head to West Seattle (via bus or water taxi) for an afternoon on Alki. There are several fire pits, volley balls nets and enough beachfront eateries, coffee shops and bars to keep you satiated. Rent a bike and cruise the easy bike path around the point.

A huge garden, nature conservatory and public space, the Arboretum is perhaps Seattle’s best park. And with plenty of paths that wind along canals and dip into the lake it is also an excellent place to get near water and the many species it collects.
I like to rent a canoe from the University of Washington waterfront activities center ($7/hour) and paddle under the 520 bridge to access the peaceful channels that snake through the park. From your humble craft you can see bald eagle, blue heron, lake turtles and all manner of water fowl.

I have rode the ferry form Seattle to Bremerton perhaps thousands of times, even so, it is still one of my favorite ways to get on the water and enjoy fresh air and beautiful views. A $7 dollar ferry ticket brings you through narrow passages and past sea lions, evergreen forests and depending on the season, orca whales. And they serve beer on the ferry.

Walking North along the waterfront the Olympic Sculpture Park presents itself as an eventuality. Enter the footpath and continue as the Seattle Art Museum sponsored green space gives way to Myrtle Edwards park. Small beach coves, rose gardens, bike paths and the sound of a serene surf punctuate this waterfront strip of zen.


2 Responses to “Sailing in Seattle”

  1. Dusty Summit August 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Ye are two mariners….

  2. Moon August 30, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Couldn’t have said it better. The sunset from Obsession, or Neptunes Car, is something special indeed.

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