Dodging Ducks and Summer Zen

sailboat at Duck Dodge on Lake Union in Seattle

Everyone jokes that summer in Seattle officially starts July 5th. This year that’s definitely the case. Fourth of July was 50 degrees and rain. Yesterday was 80 degrees and those deep, clear blue skies with daylight still streaming through the windows at ten o’clock pm. It’s feast or famine in the Pacific Northwest.

Last night was my first Duck Dodge of the season, enjoyed from a picnic blanket on the top of Kite Hill at Gasworks Park. This sailboat race with the silly name takes place weekly on Lake Union from June to October.

It’s pretty amazing to see that many boats on such a tiny lake with that much beer. A tiger-striped boat whipped past a large boat with sharkskin sails and the deckhands yelled out, “We’re faster!” The losing boat replied, “Yeah, but we’re drunker!”

When I lived on the houseboat, one of the boats in the marina participated in the Duck Dodge regularly. You could tell which boats along the waterfront have done well by the number of ducks on their bow. Despite the captain’s affinity for local microbrews, the sailboat boasted a long row of ducks. I’d watch them head out on Tuesday nights amid quite a commotion. Sometimes they’d swing by the dock to pick up stragglers and it was always an entertaining event. I mean they’d literally swing by, without stopping. The fully inebriated folks would lean over the rail and pull the semi-inebriated folks onboard. Sometimes successfully.


I’m surprised there are so few catastrophes. Last night there was a yelp and a crunch as two newbies collided. Later I looked out on the lake to see one small sailboat bottom-up with a fellow standing up on the keel. I promptly had a Luis moment where I realized the origin of the pharse keel over. Other than that, no mishaps to write home about. Just spinnakers billowing in the sunshine and kites overhead vying for airspace, tangled in the gentle wind.

On nights like last night, I miss living aboard. July and August are an easy sell. It’s November and January that got me.

And I’m sure Nevadelia doesn’t miss the fireworks launched from 20 yards away while living on the S.S. Octopus of Looooove. She spent this Fourth of July slightly drugged in the closet on Capitol Hill while we enjoyed the extended pyrotechnic display safely from a quiet roofdeck on Eastlake.

It’s hard to be indoors when the weather finally shifts like this. I want to soak it all up and save some for the dark winter months. I guess it just makes me enjoy all the more when it’s here.

Some kind of crazy, forced Zen.

sailboat at Duck Dodge on Lake Union in Seattle

sailboat at Duck Dodge on Lake Union in Seattle

sailboat at Duck Dodge on Lake Union in Seattle

sailboat at Duck Dodge on Lake Union in Seattle