My first time out on the water this year was in mid-June with Willamette Jet Boat Excursions. I had seen their billboard advertisement on my way to work for the past few months and every time I passed by I kept thinking “that looks like fun.” But it wasn’t until we had visitors in town that we actually booked an afternoon tour with them.
The day of our tour was rainy and cloudy but our guide was not about to cancel on us over a little rain. We live in Portland so rain in June wasn’t exactly a surprise. The spitting rain didn’t stop dozens of fisherman scattered along the river, so it wasn’t going to stop us. The company’s slogan is “You will get wet, you might get soaked” so we knew we were bound to get wet anyway. We just didn’t know how wet.
The tour began with a safety talk that explained a few basic rules about boat safety and life jackets. We were told that we didn’t have to wear our life jackets for the tour but that they were located in a compartment near our feet for our safety and to comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulation. Our guide also explained that if he told us to hang on, we were to wrap our right arm around our neighbor and hold tight because we would be on the verge of a 360°.
We cruised under the Broadway and Hawthorne bridges as our guide explained some light history about the city and bridges. He took us by the waterfront to show us the Oregon Maritime Museum’s steam stern-wheeler (used in the movie Maverick) before heading further up the Willamette. On this part of the tour we got to see modern house boats, beautiful million-dollar waterfront homes, Willamette Falls and the old locks system.
Along the way we got to experience several 360° turns that sent a wall of water up and over the side of the boat, drenching it’s already rain-soaked passengers (including myself and my significant other’s family…oops). But despite our soaked clothing, matted hair, and running mascara – we all came to the consensus that the experience was well worth it. Our tour guide was fun and informative and we got to see some awesome sights we wouldn’t have been able to see by land. If you’re ever in the Portland area and have a free afternoon on your hands, be sure to look up Willamette Jet Boat Excursions.
More pictures from the tour: