On a sunny afternoon in June, I got an opportunity to take a boat cruise through the South Lake Union and Lake Washington with my colleagues from Amazon. It was summer time in Seattle and everyone was excited for some outdoor fun.
Bus in which we travelled from the office to the marina. Towards the end of the bus there was a wheelchair-lift that helped me get inside the bus. Additionally, there were four locks to keep my chair in place.
Lake Washington is named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. It is a huge freshwater lake and, from what I saw, is extremely popular with the locals and visitors like me.
With my mother at the marina, ready to board Argosy cruise boat at Lake Washington. Behind me is the ramp that we used to go inside the boat with my wheelchair.
Accessibility at Argosy Cruise
The closest I have ever been to a water body after I started using a wheelchair is the boat ride in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Although there was a ramp leading to the boat, my wheelchair had to be lifted by four people so that I could take a ride. So, I had my doubts about accessibility on this cruise as well.
Inside the Argosy cruise boat – ground floor. There is a bar at the far end and an accessible restroom.
My colleagues who planned the Lake Washington cruise were sensitive about my requirements and chose Argosy Cruises since they have accessible boats. There was a ramp from the marina to the boats’ entrance. I was able to easily get inside the boat on my wheelchair. I spend most of my time on the ground floor and the adjacent outdoor deck. The ground floor had a seating area, bar and our dinner buffet was also served here. There was no lift/ hoist to reach the first floor of the boat, but that did not impact the fun I had.
The open deck in the front of the boat was also accessible. Great place to take in the breathtaking sights and feel the wind on your face as the boat cruises 🙂
Delicious food served on board
Panoramic views along Lake Washington
We were on the cruise for approximately 2-3 hours. A tour guide with Argosy Cruises gives a description of the sites and views as you cruise. It would include the history of the neighbourhood, panoramic views of the Olympic mountain ranges, including majestic Mt Rainier, as well as point out homes of some of Seattle’s rich and famous.
One of the bridges over Lake Washington seen against the sunset.
The skyline of Seattle city as seen during the Lake Washington Cruise. You can also see the iconic Space Needle in the distant centre.
Adjacent gardens, parks and a sea of youngsters sunbathing by the lake.
When travelling in a country like the United States, accessibility is the least of my concerns. It is a big relief when I don’t have to worry whether I will be able to enjoy a new place or a destination in my wheelchair, or not. This Lake Washington cruise is forever etched in my memory for the great time I had with colleagues. I wish more places in India were made accessible like this.
Team picture with my colleagues from Amazon
All photographs in this post were taken by my cousin Sarvesh, including this selfie outside the Argosy boat.
Did you have a similar ‘wow’ experience about accessibility when travelling abroad? Please share with me in the comments section below.