I sense that for many of us this winter may have begun to seem tedious and endless by now – reminiscent of that mid-point in a long tunnel, the beginning and the end nowhere in sight or barely discernable.
I’ve found that the best way to keep dreary weather at bay, or gloomy thoughts from intruding, is to populate my calendar with fun and interesting activities. One day late last month, I found myself at the Seattle Boat Show. Happily, my visit coincided with surprisingly dry weather and later, some bright afternoon sunshine. This – in contrast to the previous day’s relentless, soggy, blustery conditions – was most welcome! Two of our three Boat Show locations are outdoors on the water. Courtesy shuttles transported show attendees between them.
It had been a few years since I attended the Seattle Boat Show; I recall then how I had run out of time and energy with so much left to do and see. Although I attempted to be efficient and manage my time more effectively this year, I nonetheless felt a déjà vu moment on the way home at the end of the day. Next time…
I especially enjoy time outside, so was lured to the two “boats afloat” locations and took advantage of the expectation-free opportunities to tour vessels and get out on the water. Boat shows are wonderful in that they allow us to board and explore vessels of varying types, sizes, and price ranges…even those which at present may be financially well beyond reach or off-the-charts. I toured one such vessel, an impressive 100+ foot yacht. Although it is not a fit for my budget, lifestyle, or even my Wish List; I came away with some useful and creative storage and interior design ideas…as well as an appreciation for the beautiful workmanship and finishes. I heard an enthusiastic grandfather remark on that same boat, “Honey, this one has room for all of our grandkids.”
We also enjoyed a free guided tour aboard a heated electric boat on Lake Union that afternoon. This offered us a different view of the vessels at that show location, as well as some insights about other vessels being refurbished nearby and some of the sights we could see on the shore. Floatplanes arrived and departed as we toured the lake. Our tour guide knew about those, as well. These electric boats are available to rent and easy to learn, or they can be chartered with a guide for local events.
The Boat Show showroom location also proved compelling and almost made me forget the nice weather outside. Several times, I found myself asking, “What is that?” or “What are those?” and quickly realized I know virtually nothing about wakeboards, kiteboards, foils, and some of the other newer surfing technologies. It was also interesting to learn more about “unsinkable” boats and the many types of anchors; and to see so many useful gadgets, navigational aids, and improved technologies (everything from waterproof flashlights to improvements in PFD’s) at the show.
I would have loved to attend more of the seminars and classes to sharpen or gain new skills. Most sessions were free with the cost of admission. Many topics piqued my interest – these ranged from seminars about fishing, surface pressure charts, anchoring, docking, and provisioning; to a panel discussion with boating adventure writers. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch this last one… There were also very affordable full-day “Boat Show University” hands-on, skill-building workshops.
On the subject of affordability, our Boat Show offered some admission discounts online (perhaps others do as well?); they also hosted a Career Fair one morning and had some other special one-day events.
Scenes I’ll remember from this year’s Seattle Boat Show include several instances of friends or colleagues unexpectedly reconnecting; smiles and curiosity reflected on the faces of adults; and children excited and amazed by everything – even puddles. I’ll also recall the visual palette – with the sunshine, the long winter shadows, and the amazing clouds, colors, and light at this time of year.