Our yearly week in Vermont always includes a day trip to Burlington. In the past, we have taken a short tour of Lake Champlain on the Spirit of Ethan Allen which is a commercial passenger cruise. The boat reminds me of our own Block Island Ferry.
My husband wanted to do this tour again, but since we had already it (twice), I started looking for an alternate plan. There was a sailboat tour that looked appealing. The sunset tour looked great, but when I tried to book online, there was an age restriction of 13 and older. David and Mikey wouldn't be able to go. I called the company since we were only a year and two off. If they wanted the full fare, fine. But they said no and were not very nice to talk with. Back to square one.
I googled again and found another company, Let's Go Sailing. I phoned and spoke with Captain Gideon. He was booked for the sunset cruise, but would be available for a 4:30 cruise. Sold.
Gideon's boat held six passengers but this trip out was just the four of us. It was a beautiful day to go sailing, dry and nearly 80 degrees. The lake was like glass, which was good as my husband was a little nervous when he saw the size of the sailboat.
During the first hour out, Gideon let David, Jr. steer the boat. We did a great circle as David kept turning the wheel! But eventually he did get us out to the small island a couple of miles out from the Burlington shore.
On the way back, Gideon gave Mikey a turn. It took Mikey a couple of minutes to get his bearings as he got excited and kept letting go of the wheel. Gideon was very patient and had Mikey handling the steering of that sailboat all the way back to Burlington. As we approached the breakwater (rocks), with dozens of sailboats anchored around it, Mikey navigated the boat all the way to the dock and Gideon allowed him to take it right in.
David and I so appreciated Gideon's kindness towards the kids which went above and beyond the norm. We never told Gideon the boys were autistic, but I could see him watching them. Early on, he picked up on their hand movements (stimming). Gideon was extremely patient and tolerant, especially with Mikey at the wheel. Mikey was so proud of himself and he just beamed with delight when we got back to shore.
I can't thank Gideon enough for the patience and kindness he extended towards my sons. It would have been a great trip regardless, but he made it so much more special for them. They don't outwardly show a lot of emotion, but they had an amazing time handling the boat and sailing in a sailboat for the very first time. Next year's Vermont vacation will most definitely include another sail on Gideon's boat.