Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sunset sail shows off Puget Sound as ferries, tour boats beckon

Seattle is at its best viewed from the water. Options include ferry, Argosy boat or private sail on lovely Far Niente yacht. 


Far Niente at sail offers breathtaking views of Seattle and nearby islands.

SURROUNDED by water, overlooking Elliott Bay, deep within Puget Sound, Seattle moves its people and plies its trade by water.
Tourists are the beneficiaries of this ingenuity. The water offers both life and leisure to its people and guests. Seattle's commerce, intriguing neighborhoods and architecture are best sampled by water. You'll view, for instance, Alexander Calder's massive "Eagle" sculpture which stands sentinel in Olympic Park.
 Judi du Nann and Cookie head for the yacht at Elliott Bay Marina.
Judi is an accomplished chef and Derek is Far Niente captain. 
We sampled several varieties of Seattle water travel recently, and recommend them all.

*FIRST, THE elegant Far Niente Sailing Charters. "Casual class" best describes our delightful evening on this pretty and much loved yacht.  We booked a supper sail on line through Derek and Judi du Nann, who with
This serene view of Bainbridge Island was our setting for supper.
 care and affection host the venture single-handedly. (They're a married couple -- he's captain and she's first mate, caterer and "gofer".)
Far Niente, here with sails down, awaits wind . Seattle
is seen off in the horizon as a colorful twilight commences. 
I'd planned this as an early birthday party for Keller and our sailor boy couldn't have been more pleased.
OUR ADVENTURE began with an orchid lei for me and kukui nut lei for Keller, then a champagne toast at Elliott Bay Marina, where Derek and Judi greeted our town car (part of the booking price). They ushered us to Far Niente; we struck up an easy conversation. They're fun, interesting people.   Despite a drizzly evening, our spirits were not dampened.  We were snug and pampered in the enclosed cockpit, while  classical music accompanied bubbly for the sail-out. Gourmet hors d'oeuvres complemented Washington wines as we enjoyed a sunset sail with gorgeous, rainbow-framed views of Seattle.  At Blakely Harbor near Bainbridge Island, we dropped anchor and simply enjoyed: lively conversation, sumptuous food, copious vino and tranquil views of the lush island as dusk approached to rhythm of lapping waters.
Derek du Nann captains Far Niente,
whose Italian name loosely translates
to "the sweetness of doing nothing."
The 42-foot sailing yacht is tailor made for Puget Sound and its occasionally rainy weather.  We enjoyed sunshine, too, as the boat moved leisurely through the sound and towards Bainbridge. As we returned to the bay, Seattle slowly lit up. Magic!
While we mostly sailed, we did have to motor a bit. All in comfort. or call 206 495-9232

Seattle's locks offer an educational and relaxing afternoon.
*WHILE FAR NIENTE is all about relaxation and soaking up ambiance with intelligent, lively hosts, our Argosy Cruise tour of the Chittenden Locks was educational.
But it also offered extraordinary beauty and a pleasant three-hour diversion. We spent a leisurely afternoon traveling across the sound and into the Lake Washington Ship Canal.  There, we transited the 30-foot difference through the Chittenden Locks. This architectural triumph dates back 100 years, when Seattle engineers connected fresh water Lake Washington with Puget Sound.
An Argosy cruise to the famous Seattle locks
includes a lively commentary and description
off Seattle's variety of intriguing homes, businesses and
restaurants, here the "Sleepless in Seattle" houseboat. 
Argosy also offers harbor tours -- we took the one-hour one which was delightful -- and tours to Lake Union and Washington, as well as special dinner-dancing cruises, a cruise to Blake Island's Tillicum Village complete with salmon feast and Salish storytelling.
ARGOSY HAS has an arsenal of well trained and conversational guides. They'll point out historical buildings and topical sights, including the houseboat used for "Sleepless in Seattle."  The venerable company also has private boats for charter or rent, as well as special holiday themed events, cocktail cruises and dinner parties. Many of Argosy's cruise tours depart from Seattle's waterfront, Pier 55/56, where curious Seattle tourists enjoy spending time. 206 623-1445.

 Passengers board one of Washington state's ferries for a weekend away.
*WE ALSO sampled Seattle's wonderfully efficient and colorful state ferry system.  Regular ferries travel to Bremerton and Bainbridge and other places. The ferries are integral to life in Seattle and are sleek, comfortable, boast a full bar and snack shop. Their unique, "double-ended" open decks give gorgeous vantage points.  You'll have stunning views of Seattle as you come and go and the vessels never have to turn around as they transport millions of riders across the waters.
YOU MAY catch the ferry to Winslow, a pretty little town with galleries, restaurants and rural charm, or to picturesque Bainbridge Island, bustling Bremerton, the intriguing San Juan Islands, Vashon Island and other jaunts. The ferries have a distinctive white and green paint job. A visit to Pier 52 on Seattle's waterfront to book a ferry jaunt is a must. For routes, fares, times:
Seattle's piers will treat you to an entertaining sail or boat ride on
the state's efficient and unique ferry system or an Argosy cruise.

* THE ANACORTES ferry. If you've never visited the charming San Juan Islands, take the Anacortes ferry.  It's leisurely and offers beautiful views as you depart.  The islands offer a rural, slow-paced environment vastly different from the fast-paced bustle of Seattle.  Recreational activities abound, including the world famous Rosario Resort on Orcas Island.
Also via ferry, if you've time, consider Port Townsend, a charming historic Victorian seaport. Also: pretty Langley awaits on Whidbey Island, with galleries, gift shops and great restaurants!

Cookie and "Papa" Grady Martin
enjoy cocktail hour in La Jolla.
COMING SOON:  We pause briefly from our revels in Alaska, Victoria and Seattle, to salute Cookie's sprightly adopted "Papa," her neighbor, Grady Martin on his 90th birthday. He shares tips on life and living it fully next Wednesday.
Then join us to ride Skagway's White Pass Railway, and take a trip to Seattle's Pan Pacific Hotel to find out what makes it first-rate. Plus Cookie's 100th cruise, and more. Remember to explore, learn and live and check us out Wednesdays and Saturdays at:


  1. Lived in Seattle for 8 years...Loved it.The city has changed a lot since I lived there. We need to go back and spend some quality time again.

  2. Thanks for sharing this informative post. I found many informative post before and like all of these posts. Keep sharing!