Back in January, the hot topic here at Year of Months was recommendations. I didn’t quite make it to 31 posts, but telling you about our seaplane picnic adventure would certainly be a propos for making up one.
In case you missed it, a seaplane picnic was one of my big dream life goals in July. I had been asked many times how I’d like to celebrate my birthday, but I’m horrible at coming up with these sorts of ideas. Since I enjoy travelling, and one of the things I’ve always wanted to do here in the Pacific Northwest is visit Tofino, I decided to look into the possibility of flying there. It’s a 12-hour drive, but if we were going to go, it would need to be a quick trip. Driving wouldn’t leave us much time to actually enjoy the destination. Well, when I was on the Kenmore Air site checking into the possibility of a flight, I happened upon the page about picnics. That night, I told RF that if I could do something somewhat extravagant for my birthday, a seaplane picnic would be it - but, I wasn’t in a million years willing to ask our friends to spring for it, and to do it ourselves seemed a bit of a stretch.
Well, RF went to work. Before I had even written about it here, he snuck around behind my back recruiting a group of our friends to play along. Alas, by the night of my birthday party, he and his mighty band of co-conspirators sprung it on me! I was seriously stunned - and so completely excited. For three days I did nothing but think about this picnic. Practically every hour I was whispering or texting or emailing, ”seaplanepicnic” to someone. I’m sure it was completely unbearable. Sorry friends! And, I have to say, it lived up to every single one of my expectations.
I’ll admit, there was some hesitancy on my part about taking the seaplane. I’m not typically a fan of small planes. I’ve had to take quite a few little prop planes to my mom’s house, often in the bumpy winds of oncoming storms, and they do not leave me feeling well. You really don’t want to lose your lunch on your birthday…particularly if you haven’t even had it yet! And the landing on water part scared me a bit, as well. When we arrived at the airport (waterport?) none of our fears were assuaged. The planes sounded like rickety old lawnmowers starting out back! What had we gotten ourselves into? But then, the Evening Magazine plane rolled up. I don’t know why that made me feel better. I guess it was just something else to focus on. We cheerfully climbed aboard.
I was actually feeling pretty confident until I realized that there’s hand-cranking involved! Wait, what?!? Now, back when I was working on casting for the Blackberry campaign, I spent some time interviewing a pilot whose job it is to take potential buyers up in Boeing airplanes to show them all the bells and whistles. He described his favorite part as cutting all of the electricity on board to demonstrate how pilots have ultimate override capability. He told me to always take Boeing airplanes, because they’re the only ones that give the actual pilots true control over autopilot. I’m still not sure that hand-cranking was what he was talking about…
Alas, we did manage to stay aloft. After a long stretch of bright and sunny days, we got clouds, but it was beautiful nonetheless. My iPhone pics don’t do any of this true justice.
Our course was set for a Dabob Bay up on the north end of Hood Canal near Quilcene. The entire ride was smooth sailing, but as we approached the picnic site, I could feel my palms begin to sweat at the thought of touching down on water. I’ve lived in Seattle awhile now, and have watched many a seaplane land. It doesn’t look the least bit treacherous from the outside, but I had no idea what it would be like from the inside. Totally fine! It was probably the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. Given my disaster head, I envisioned the resistance of the water grabbing and jerking the plane mightily upon impact. But no, we glided right on in.
Of course, when you land without a dock, you need someone to hold the plane while everything’s unloaded! Thanks SW for taking the reigns.
While our hostess Joy set everything up, we explored the beach area combing the pebbly sand for shells and interesting rocks. We watched the hungry mouths of a school of fish break the surface of the water in search of insects. We tried, unsuccessfully, to skip rocks. I’ve never been good at that.
CH took his fancy camera on a photo safari. And RF wandered off in search of adventure. I hear he found a rope swing and a partial totem pole in them there woods.
When we returned, a first course of shrimp cocktail and pesto artichoke dip were waiting. And wine, of course - plenty of wine.
While we nibbled away, Joy prepped a second course of freshly shucked oysters and Dungeness crab claws.
At this point, I would have been absolutely content to have a piece of cake and be done. But no…there were still salmon and halibut skewers, tortellini salad, Walla Walla onion and heirloom tomato caprese, and herby artisinal bread to be devoured.
And then…cake. White chocolate strawberry, of course. Thank you, DB. :)
What a meal. What a day! I think I can safely say that we all had a magnificent time and can check a little something off our Carpe Listems. On the way home, I even braved riding shotgun. We took a little tour of downtown…
…and landed safely back at Lake Union.
There aren’t enough thanks in the world for everyone who was involved in this great surprise. Suffice it to say, I consider myself one very lucky girl.