Setting Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats

IMG_1964We had another beautiful weather weekend with blue skies, sunshine and lovely breezes, especially off the water.

Several people have encouraged us to take on the many water activities available on the Sound, Lake Washington and Lake Union–from kayaking to paddle boarding to sailing to scuba diving. We intend to do all of them as soon as we figure out how and where!

Given the weather and our desire to make the most of our time in the Pacific Northwest, Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle.

Sundays are definitely the day to go–the Center offers free boat rides! It’s a first-come, first-served situation, and the types of boats running and the number of spots available just depends on how many volunteers are available to take people out. We got there about an hour before they opened, and there was already a crazy long line wrapping around the Center!

We each took turns holding our spot while the other person walked around taking pictures and checking out the people and boats already on the water. There were already people out in kayaks and on paddle boards, but the show stoppers were the seaplanes that kept taking off and landing in the middle of the lake and in the midst of all the other people on the water. They were so close, but sometimes so quiet that you didn’t know they were there until they were hitting the water!

IMG_2002I thought we were reasonably close to the front of the line, but they only had 125 openings and people were allowed to sign up as many as five people who were not there, so the spots went quick. By the time it was our turn, there was only one boat that still had two spots available! We signed up for the afternoon ride on the sail boat Amie (French pronunciation).

We had enough time to run out to see a handful of houses on our list and then we came back and walked all along the water. The lake had every type of floating vessel, and there were people eating, sunbathing and swimming along the shores.

We shared a burger and fries at Blue Moon Burgers just a couple blocks away before walking back to the dock for our life jackets as we awaited our ship!

There were a few other boats heading out, including a little covered craft called the Dora, that my husband would love to ride in next time, and a huge canoe full of paddling passengers. We finally saw the Amie returning and our group of five headed to the end of the dock to board.

IMG_1987The Amie’s owner has had the boat for about 20 years, and the Center gives him a dock in exchange for his time taking visitors out once a week. A pretty good deal–I can’t imagine how much a dock costs!

He had two crew that helped navigate us from the dock and out onto the open water, and we cruised along, tacking back and forth at the wind’s direction.

We learned a little about the Center as well as sailing, but I just loved looking out across the lake at all of the other people, boats and houseboats on the water and the homes on the hills overlooking us. We were on the water for about 45 minutes to an hour, and I was thankful for the extra sunscreen I applied before we went out because we were basking in the sun the whole time!

The lake was packed with people–almost too many people for us. I think we were spoiled always going to Lake Erie where you had plenty of room to play, even on busy days. I am really looking forward to checking out Lake Washington and the Sound to see if they are as popular. According to our captain and crew, each one has its own vibe and attracts its own types of people. I guess we will just have to figure out where we fit!

I could go on about the day, but I would rather show some pictures of what we experienced–they do a better job of capturing our day than me!




Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach





Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach
Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach
Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach




Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach




Photo Credit: Brian Griesbach

5 thoughts on “Setting Sail at the Center for Wooden Boats

  1. Pingback: The Beauty of Chihuly | Heather's Compass

  2. Kathy Desimio

    What a great day!!!!! Never thought about a houseboat… kids could maybe live on a houseboat!! ;-) thanks for ….can’t wait till next weekend!!!!

  3. Michael Bing

    Ok so I am sooooo jealous of that last picture!!! Really need some instruction on how to do that PLEASE!!!! Also, loved both blogs and pictures and especially loved the first picture of you! Really nice picture! Thanks again for helping us with the skype. Very nice to see you when we are talking!



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