My mother likes to buy gifts that create memories. Sure, she’ll buy you a t shirt, a pair of socks, that Blu-Ray that you have been wanting, but, her big gift each holiday season, or birthday, is something that will generate an eternal memory. Preferably a good one.

    It’s imperative to her to create memories, and, it’s something that I have grown fond of as well.

    Last year for my birthday, she purchased my wife and I a Scovare Expedition sailing cruise.

    Scovare offers a variety of one day trips on the Willamette River, from speed boats, to pleasure cruises, yachts, to the aforementioned sailboat. Captained by Shane St. Clair and his twenty-five years of sailing experience, Scovare Expeditions “Unveils the windblown channels of the Willamette River to budding sailors and sightseeing passengers.” I was ready to witness the magnificence of Portland, Oregon in a way I never had before.

    My wife and I readied for our journey.

    Wind breaker?


    Deck shoes?


    Board shorts?



    Double Check.

    Seasickness be damned, I was going to enjoy my trip.

    After all, I don’t think the memories my well-intentioned mother envisioned for me to make involved heaving over the side of a sailboat as the city whizzed by.

    We arrived at the launch pad, off of Macadam drive on Portland’s West side. We met with our captain and boarded the ship.

    We embarked and made our way to the center of the mighty Willamette. All around us, the buildings, artwork, and natural beauty of Portland, Oregon greeted us. We took in the view of the volcanic caldera of Elk Rock Island, we watched the joggers along waterfront, we could hear the djembe from the shoreline, we saw Mt. Hood’s white cap, surrounding us from within the Willamette Valley. And, most importantly, we ate a delicious three course meal.

    Thank God for Dramamine!

    Memories were created and, as we spoke with our Captain, he let us know that Scovare, in addition to these private tours, also booked their forty-foot yacht for corporate events. He let us know that, if we wanted to learn to sail solo, he offered classes, where we could learn how to tie a sailing not, what terms like “avast” and “alee” and “starboard” and “portside” meant. I asked if I could don my pirate costume during the classes. He laughed, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Sure, kid. You can.”

    “Sure, Kid.” I liked that.

    We made our way back to shore, full of food and memories. We debarked and I immediately called my mother to thank her for the experience, and to lay hints about my desire to become a pirate. After all, it is never too early to start holiday shopping.

    I loved my Scovare Expedition and I think you will too. It’s another exciting thing about living in Portland. For more information or to book your own tour, visit

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