Uncle Sam Boat Tours is part of the Thompson complex of businesses at the downriver (NE) end of James Street directly across the channel from the Boldt Castle.
Friday: We booked an 18 mile boat excursion to Singer Castle (9 miles down river) and Boldt Castle (immediately across channel) for Saturday (Singer only offered for Tue, Thur, Sat. at this shoulder season). Generously, we were offered complementary water taxi/shuttle service to Boldt Castle for Friday. (The weather for Saturday was questionable.) We leisurely enjoyed Boldt Castle and the Yacht House (separate admissions fees, self guided, stunning). Particularly beautiful views out the castle windows (framed photo opportunities). The shuttle crew was competent and friendly. The shuttle runs continuously. (5 stars for Friday)
Saturday: The wind was up and rain was threatening as we breakfasted at the adjoining Riley’s. The larger tour boats rode fairly steadily but one of the smaller boats was bobbing enthusiastically. I expressed concern to my wife about my potential seasickness if we took the smaller boat. The smaller boat was the one that was assigned to the Singer trip. We considered forfeiting our payment but elected to go. To avoid seasickness I sat on the lowest level, in the middle of the boat both fore and aft and side to side.
Our tour was to go downriver (NE), directly into the wind, to Singer Castle (first) and then return downwind to Boldt Castle (second). At the last minute, a shuttle group destined for Boldt Castle was ushered aboard our boat. We were detoured across the channel to drop them off at Boldt Castle.
We then headed NE into the wind. With the long fetch of the wind coming down the Seaway the waves were impressive. Out of nowhere a large wave crashed over the bow forcing open a forward starboard window. A second unusually large wave immediately followed. As we plowed into the face of the wave a spray of water burst through the open port onto the first two or three rows of passengers. Our gallant ship’s docent rose to secure the window just as a third wave struck.
I was impressed with the skill of our captain and surprised how well our spunky little craft handled fairly heavy waves. I did not get seasick.
Due to the detour and the limited speed due to the high waves, things felt a little rushed. We went to Singer Castle, did the tour with the house docent. (Period furnishings. No ongoing construction work. Not as impressive as Boldt. Difficult to get photographs without capturing members of the tour group.) Heading downwind we glided over the waves.
This evaluation is based upon my experiences and opinions. For this activity, the boat ride is one of the three attractions. If you do not like boats or fear the water, you probably will not fully enjoy this tour.
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