Before having my daughter, I liked me a good date night. I enjoyed a peaceful, quiet dinner amongst adults and outdoor adventures strolls that were punctuated with a daydream in the sunshine or an impromptu rest on a park bench. But, now date nights are an entirely different experience and I LOVE THEM! I love the non-tantrum throwing adults that occupy the restaurants and the ridiculously leisured pace that I can eat an entire meal at. And, then the walks. Well, the strolls. Time moves at a normal pace and I am able to relax. My mind is at ease. I am not fretting over every stumble that points Beckett directly towards the seaweed laden water and sharp rocks that are our beaches. Date nights are pure bliss and the kind of happiness that gives a marriage that much needed jolt of energy. Just reliving them makes me sigh with satisfaction…
Two weekends ago, Jacob and I had a stupendous, absolutely terrific night out. We made reservations on the Gato Verde catamaran that sails out of Bellingham and enjoyed an incredibly relaxing, beautifully breathtaking two-hour sunset cruise on the bay. It was simply magnificent.
Taking a trip on the Gato Verde became a personal mission of mine after I read a snippet about its Captain, Todd Shuster, in the bi-monthly publication “Journey” from AAA. The name of the boat translates directly to “Cat Green” and has a bit of tongue-in-cheej symbolism, too. The Gato Verde boasts the distinction of being the only charter vessel on the west coast to run on a combination plug-in diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system. Think, a Toyota Prius type of system with bio-diesel (yay! for eco-friendly!) being the backup source of energy. In addition to the ginormous energy savings of the hybrid system, the boat has also converted more than three-quarters of its lights to LED’s and Todd is working to install solar panels for the house batteries in the near future. The boat exhibits “eco-friendly” from top to bottom and side to side and its name really says it all – the GREEN cat.
Now that you have the background information, we can get back to our date night…
The weather was textbook perfect by passengers’ standards. The sun shone brightly and there was not a cloud in the sky. The water was calm and smooth and there was nary a breeze to be felt. Are you scratching your head yet and wondering how a wind-propelled vessel would fare in perfectly still air? Let me be blunt – it did sublimely quiet.
We were able to enjoy a peaceful, quiet, ultra-relaxing time out the water and understand first hand the difference between a diesel motor and a hybrid-electric engine. The first 45 minutes of our trip were spent running on the electric motor because of the lack of wind and we maintained a cruising speed of about 5 knots. The only sound was the water slapping the sides of the boat and Todd’s voice as he pointed landmarks, crab pots or other notable sights. The boat was silent. Quiet. The reverse image of the house lived in by a toddler. The polar opposite of a standard diesel-propelled engine. It was bliss.
The boat itself is quite remarkable. The galley and living area is massive. The sun deck and piloting quarters are roomy and you can walk out and stretch your legs on the front portion or enjoy a seat in one of the trampoline-like nets. And the four (yes, FOUR!) sleeping rooms boast queen size beds and ceilings higher than 6-feet! But, don’t forget about the two bathrooms that are hospitably large and have very little resemblance to a cramped airplane restroom.
Some more details:
The Gato Verde runs out of Bellingham Cruise Terminal. The sunset cruise that we enjoyed is approximately two hours and runs during the late spring and summer months. The cost is unbelievably affordable – $35 per person and guests are welcome to bring their own drinks and food. Todd also offers overnight trips ranging from a couple days to a week. For more information visit the Gato Verde website at www.gatoverde.com.
I strongly encourage you to take a trip on the boat. The innovative features including the hybrid system are noteworthy and definitely worth talking about. The layout and design of the catamaran is intriguing and uniquely different compared to standard, single-hull sailing vessels. And, the company is wonderful. Captain Todd is extensively educated on the sights and scenery of Bellingham Bay and the Puget Sound and is delightfully personable. Oh, and your pocketbook will thank you. You can’t find a date night that wraps all this up into one outing for a much better price.