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On a rather untypical Seattle day, with driving rain instead of drizzle, five passengers waited in order of destination to load a refurbished 1966 seaplane operated by Kenmore Air.

The first passenger, a black lab named Roxy, enthusiastically took the first seat. Her owner followed with special dog earmuffs in hand, followed by two others, and finally myself. 

 

Chuck, our pilot from Alaska, instructed us to buckle our seatbelts and placed a set of earplugs in each of our hands. As we taxied out to the northern tip of Lake Union, Chuck explained excitedly how our plane drove similar to a sports car. The combination of a light engine and manual control allowed pure enjoyment piloting. 

Surprisingly, takeoff was smoother than a much larger plane crossing the Atlantic. Chuck‚Äôs coffee cup, placed causally by his feet, demonstrated the ease of takeoff on these small planes. We glided out of Seattle, leaving the Olympic Peninsula behind. The rain ceased and morning light from between the clouds poured into our cab. 

Along the way Chuck pointed out sea lions resting on rocks. The grey figures shifted their heft as we roared by.

A Smooth Landing

Our first stop was Lopez Island. Ready to brace myself for a hard landing on the water, I clenched my fists long after landing, not realizing that we had hit sea level minutes before. White mist and waves behind proved our landing had long passed.  READ MORE

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