Seattle’s new Hot Tub Boats: swingin’ in the rain

seattle hot tub rentalI live in Seattle. So I can state with authority that out here if you want hipster street cred you’ll be rocking at least some sartorial remnant of the ’70s — be it a pair of groovy shades, nut-hugger jeans, a polyester dress or booty cut-offs.

What else is reminiscent of the ’70s? Hot tubs, baby. And now, chilly (but oh so cool) Seattleites and visitors alike can have a relaxing retro outing thanks to a fab new indulgence: Hot Tub Boats. You and up to six friends (kids count) can bob around scenic Lake Union in a wooden, diesel boiler-fueled floating hot tub boat with full steering capacity and a throttle. All boats come with coolers, locked dry storage, water jets and safety equipment. They are also United States Coast Guard standard approved.

The boats are also available for longer-term rentals and purchase, and can be delivered to alternate locations such as Lake Washington for an additional fee. The company is anticipating a May launch.

Alas, getting nekkid and sipping Lancers is not permitted; we’re not animals here in Seattle. And everyone knows drinking and boating (don’t) mix. Even though you’ll have to leave the booze at home and cover up your bits, there’s still something about steamy water, nippy weather and floating on a lake that feels a little bit naughty. Far out.


Riviera Nayarit kicks off Mexico’s largest sailing competition this month

sailing Every other year, Mexico hosts their Nautical Extravaganza, a month filled with classic sailing and water sport competitions that take you to different Mexican cities. This year, the event kicked off on March 2 with the 30th Biennial San Diego to Vallarta Yacht Club race, which consists of sailors navigating their boats over 1,000 miles from San Diego, California, to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

If you weren’t at the kick-off, no need to be upset, as the month is still young. Because the London Olympics are coming up, the most anticipated contest of the event is the Regatta Mexico Cup 2012 Olympic Edition, which includes seven sailing divisions and features over 1,500 international athletes, many of whom are preparing for the official summer Olympics.

For those who aren’t into sailing, the event also includes windsurfing, kite surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, whale watching, and beach volleyball as part of the fun. If you’re competitive, the Punta Sayulita Longboard and Stand-Up Paddle Classic will kickoff on March 9 in the picturesque surf village of Sayulita. The event attracts visitors and professional athletes from all over the world who come to enjoy the talent and scenery, partake in beach events, and also raise money for charity.

For more information on the competitions and events still to come this month in the Nautical Extravaganza, click here.

Exploring the Welsh coast: Aberaeron and New Quay

Welsh coast, New Quay
Yesterday I mentioned that Aberystwyth is a good base from which to explore western Wales. On our second day in Wales my wife, son, and I hopped on a local bus and went south down the Welsh coast to the ports of Aberaeron and New Quay. Aberaeron is about 40 minutes from Aberystwyth and New Quay is only about 20 minutes further south from Aberaeron.

While we didn’t have long in Aberaeron, we liked this tidy little Welsh town with its brightly painted houses and fine view of the sea. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs and we got the impression that it might be a better place to stay than Aberystwyth. Like in Aberystwyth, we heard a lot of people speaking Welsh. Most signs are in both languages. It’s nice to know that the language is surviving in the age of globalized English.

At New Quay we stopped for lunch at a pub on a cliff overlooking a sandy beach and broad harbor. The view was nice but service was slow and the food substandard. Sadly, this was the case with all too many of our meals in Wales, even though we usually followed local advice as to where to eat.

%Gallery-129265%The famous writer Dylan Thomas lived here for a time and New Quay was the inspiration for his fictional town of Llareggub (“bugger all” spelled backwards). Visitors interested in literary tourism can follow the Dylan Thomas Trail.

We’d come to take a boat trip instead. My five-year-old had never been out to sea so we decided to remedy that by going on one of New Quay’s many dolphin tours. Dolphins are abundant in these waters; we’d seen several from the window of the Seabrin Guest House in Aberystwyth. We chose a tour run by the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, which uses its profits to fund research into the sea life on this part of the Welsh coast. The sea was calm and the sun shone fine so we weren’t worried as we stepped aboard an inflatable motorboat with a half dozen other people.

This good weather was our undoing. The calm conditions had made the fish move further out to sea, and the dolphins had followed them. As we made our way down the coast on our one-hour ride we saw exactly none. Oh well. It’s best to remember that nature isn’t there for our amusement.

This stretch of Welsh coastline is beautiful, with jagged rocks rising high out of the sea. The strata of the rocks is clearly visible, which allowed me to give the kid a lesson in geology, and the cliffs are dotted with numerous caves that smugglers (our boat captain called them “pirates”) used to elude the customs agents. My son was more disappointed about there being no pirates than he was about the lack of dolphins! All was made better when he got to sit in the captain’s chair.

One local told me that New Quay isn’t the most pleasant place to be at night in the summertime. A lot of rough people come into town to get drunk and start fights, and two of his friends got knifed in one incident. We saw a big fight in Aberystwyth too. This isn’t unusual in the UK. When I lived in London, I regularly saw fights on the street on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s just a sad fact of life in this part of the world.

Still, we had a nice day and the kid had a great time and got to experience something new, which is what really matters. Tomorrow I’ll be blogging about a steam train we took through some beautiful Welsh countryside. Unlike my last two posts on Wales, this one will be entirely positive!

Video of the Day: 4 minutes of boat fails

Who doesn’t enjoy a boat ride (except for people with extreme seasickness)? Whether you’re on a schooner, a yacht or a cruise ship, being on a boat makes you cooler. However, no form of transportation is perfect. Cars break down, planes crash and boats…well, there’s apparently more that can go wrong with boats than we ever could have imagined. So, if you have four minutes to kill and want to see boat after boat meet a horrible fate, then this is the video for you.

Of course, we never root for disasters and we hope that everyone walked (or swam) away safely. That said, we’ll be laughing our way to the life boats and making sure that we have a floatation device handy at all times.

[Via Gawker]

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Thailand Part 10: Kanchanaburi


Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 40 – Click above to watch video after the jump

In the first half of Travel Talk’s grand Thai expedition, we’ve tamed elephants, explored Bangkok’s temples, eaten scorpions, taken in a Muay Thai match, and witnessed a train running directly through a bustling market. Now, we’re taking you to explore a lesser known province of Thailand for a closer look at the culture and traditions of rural Thai life.

Kanchanaburi isn’t the first place you might think to visit when planning your trip to Thailand- but in many ways, that’s its charm. We explore this peaceful oasis just outside of Bangkok. The town promises to change dramatically with the recent reopening of the Three Pagodas Border Crossing to Myanmar, and we stayed in a massive 5-star resort that’s anticipating this very change. Exploring the local landmarks, we got a chance to walk across the Bridge over River Kwai- of classic hollywood fame.

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.


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Hosts: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews

Special guests: Joom, Tum, Nikki- the champion bartender & Richard- Dheva manager and businessman extraordinaire
Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood & Aaron Murphy-Crews
Special thanks: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Trikaya Tours

Travel Talk took Thailand by storm on invitation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. No editorial content was guaranteed and Aaron & Stephen were free to openly share all adventures that they embarked upon.