"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
Over the weekend I got to meet up with one my ladies for a day to play like tourists in Seattle. Jasmine managed to get tickets for the two of us, as well as her three kids, to embark on the Royal Argosy lunch cruise that goes around Elliott Bay AND she even scored passes to the Seattle Aquarium. It was going to be a day of maritime merriment!
We arrived on the dock an hour before departure so we could get our tickets, board, and wander the deck of the Royal Argosy. The kids were enthralled with the murky, green water that lapped against the hull and watched wide-eyed to see if any fish would swim past. Before long, the engine rumbled to life and we weighed anchor. The Seattle skyline towered above us. It’s one of the most beloved sights to me. That skyline is the welcome banner I first see from the airplane when I return “home” from distant lands. The piers crowd together along the bay, with austere skyscrapers just beyond, and then off to the side stands the Space Needle. It’s a friendly place to me, despite the gray clouds and damp chill – it’s a piece of home.
On the Royal Argosy, we kicked off our gourmet lunch with a champagne toast. From the windows we could see flocks of seabirds winging away from our frothy wake. A sea lion popped his head out of the water to watch us go by. Off in the distance the snow-capped Olympic Mountains wreathed in a cloudy haze, overlooked the sound. Our meal was fabulous and with my lunch I enjoyed a flight of Washington red wines – all so different but each quite tasty. One of the attendants shared Seattle’s history with us as we went around the bay a second time. We even wound our way between two buoys where a group of sea lions lounged and barked at us – the kids were thrilled!
As the Royal Argosy slid back to its moorage, the kids talked excitedly about our next stop just a few piers down the way, The Seattle Aquarium. I’ve been to this aquarium quite a few times over the years, but this was the first time with younger kids and to see it through young eyes was a great experience. The huge wall-tank at the entrance makes you feel as if you’ve slipped into an underwater world from the start. The touch pools were our first stop. Tentative little fingers dipped into the water to gently pet starfish, softly poke at anemones, and brush the spines of sea urchins. Squeals of laughter and surprise erupted from different points around the tide pool. And then we were off again, this time to stare in awe at an octopus and to giggle at the tiny seahorses. A moment later we were on the hunt for Nemo and Dory. We even discovered Gill, Bloat, and Bubbles! On TVs we got to watch footage that was being filmed live of six-gilled sharks feeding right below the pier we were on.
In the second building of the Aquarium there were exhibits of creatures found in the waters of Puget Sound. Tuffed puffins scooted around in the water, and oyster catchers tiptoed along the sand. The stars of the aquarium were next: the marine mammals. Crowds formed to watch a fur seal dive playfully, see harbor seals performing tricks, and fawn over the month-old sea otter that played beside her adult counterparts.
Our busy day almost complete and everyone thoroughly exhausted, we made our way back north, bound for home. Dinner was a stop in Mount Vernon at Sahara Pizza for some gourmet pies – they even made me a gluten-free one!
A full and rich day!