I was a Sucker for the Ducks

Duck Boats Seattle Quacker

Our quackers were ready!

I love guided tours. Yes, you read that right… Honestly, I don’t understand why they get such a bad rap, when they provide an excellent way to see all the sites in one tidy go (they’re tourist traps for a reason, right?). Then I can spend the rest of my time in cafes, wandering, or visiting with friends — like I did during my long weekend in Seattle this summer. After quitting my job to move to the San Francisco area this summer, I was determined to visit as many people as I could, starting in Austin, Victoria, and Vancouver. I met my friend Nicole when she interviewed me as a potential roommate for an East Village apartment 13 years ago. She was tough, but (obviously) I made it in! In Seattle, she cools her heels with her husband and two little girls. So on our first day, we were on the search for a kid-friendly, fun-for-adults activity. Luckily, Nicole had her eye on the “duck boats.”

If you’ve ever been to Seattle, you know just what I’m talking about!

Duck Boats Seattle

Four eager tourists ready for an adventure!

My guess is that if you’re still reading, you have not been to Seattle in the last 25 years. Admittedly, the Ride the Ducks boat-shaped buses sort of engulf some neighborhoods with a sea of rockin’ (G-rated) party boats packed with pint-sized tourists armed with very loud quackers. But as a tourist, what’s not to love?

Nicole Asha

Mom and daughter are ready for the ducks!


We boarded our boat and met our fearless leader — Captain Brave Liver (get it?). You see, the best part of Ride the Ducks is that they are like one of those kids movies where the jokes go right over the heads of the youngsters for plenty of adults-only laughs.

Captain Brave Liver Ducks Seattle

Our fearless leader: Captain Brave Liver.


We were off! After a few gallant quacks, I was driving through Seattle for the first time in 10 years. I loved my tour!

Seattle Art Work

Seattle Waterfront


My seat-mate was a tough audience, wholly unimpressed by the land portion of our adventure.

Oh, yes… The duck “boat” part is not just because the awkward road vehicle is shaped like a boat. It actually goes IN the water.

Ride the Ducks


Once we were plowing through the sea, my favorite 4-year-old grabbed my iPhone to start snapping photos. Finally, some action!


A 4-year-old’s view of Seattle. (Yes, we rode that Ferris wheel later.)

We loved Seattle’s famous houseboats. Seattle houseboats

After our duck adventure, Nicole and I had some one-on-one time, starting with a delicious meal at the “rustic” How to Cook a Wolf, in Queen Anne. It was beyond!

How to Cook a Wolf

And then… We met two familiar faces: Kent and Canaan of NVR Guys.

Abby Tegnelia Nicole Mirchandani

Adult time!

NVR Guys Kent Canaan

My favorite photos? This little collage the Guys made me. In the first photo, everything is how I planned it: a nice high angle and great late afternoon lighting. Then, everything goes AWRY, when the waitress tries to shoot from below, which is a huge no-no in my book of taking great pictures!

Abby Tegnelia NVR Guys

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Fantastic – a duck tour (I used to work the ticket window there) and you hung out with NVR guys!
    You know how to have a good time.

  2. How much fun!!!!! That little girl is SO cute!

  3. That looked like a lot of fun! Such bright and colorful photos too! We love doing fun silly things quite often actually. Life should be as fun as possible!

    Is your friends little girl ever CUTE!!

  4. The girls are sooo cute, right? I love being silly, too! And the colors of summer betray how behind I am in blogging 😉

  5. Wow, four beautiful girls and look at those two handsome guys at the end! Seriously, I love that last photo so much. Too good!

  6. I remember seeing these duck boats when I was in Seattle. The tours look like a lot of fun.

  7. Great post! When we lived in Toronto, there used to be a similar tour with an amphibious vehicle. Apparently, a purple hippopotamus wasn’t the best choice, though, as the tour company went under. Ha! Didn’t intend the pun, but it works!

  8. Ha! We have these in Pittsburgh and I’ve always wanted to try it. They always quack (their horns quack) at me when I’m on the bike trail when they’re coming out of the water! Seattle would be the perfect place to do one of these tours. Looks like you guys had a great time!

  9. The girl is soooo cute with her big sun glasses. I have enjoyed reading the post. It shows you had a lot of fun. It was a nice detail that you pointed out to your favourite photos. 🙂

  10. I was wondering for a while where you went. Now I see you landed in for a little while in Seattle. When I am in the city in my Seattle home, I absolutely hate being at the same place as this this duck tour. They’re always very loud on the streets and very slow to drive, too. I can’t imagine that they are less annoying on water. Yet each time, as I pass the weird shaped car/boat, it always surprises me to see so many happy and smiling people on board. Hmmm? I may have to secretly try the tour to see what the smile is all about.

  11. I really want to spend more time in Seattle — it looks like such a cool city. I’m glad you got to spend some time visiting friends!

  12. Ahah, too funny! The post about your photo taken by the waitress from below made me laugh! I know what you mean. Most girls tend to not be the fans of those while guys seem to not be intimidated by that shot at all.

  13. Every time I think of you guys I think of TBEX Keystone where I did the ridiculously high angle picture for you.

  14. I’m not a fan of the huge pile on a bus with 100 other people tours, but I really am becoming a fan of small group guided city tours. Especially food tours! You really learn a lot from a local and see things you might not otherwise have noticed.

    I haven’t been to Seattle in years! I have an aunt and uncle that live there. I think I was probably 12 years old the last time I was in Seattle. Another place to get back to!

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