Last Saturday night we had the absolute pleasure to take a Halloween, “Haunted River Tour” aboard the speedboat, “Seadog”. What a fantastic way to spend an Autumn evening here in Chicago. Please read on, my seafaring friends!
I must say my excitement grew as we stood in line waiting to board the Seadog. Pharnell Williams’ song, “Happy” was playing dockside; talk about a perfect tune to match my feelings right at that very moment! Despite my realization that I was in line with many other folks (who were no doubt also filled with anticipation for the excursion), I began to dance. How on earth anyone can listen to that song and not dance (or at the very least, grin widely!) is beyond my comprehension.
Ah, yes, I digress as always. Now where was I? Yes, we were standing in line for the Seadog Haunted River Tour. As we happened to be first in line, we proceeded to the front of the boat; all passengers are required to ‘belt-up’, as my mother likes to say! After the passengers had taken their seats, and belted-up, we awaited the moment of movement out to Lake Michigan.
Behind us sat three young boys, probably around 12 or 13 years old (parents et al sat behind them). Unwittingly eavesdropping on their conversation was a rather interesting way in which to begin a dusk, nightfall boat cruise, to be sure. Here is my ‘take’ on that convo:
Young Man #1: He thought the water was polluted because of its ‘green’ color – *not polluted, actually*;
Young Man #2: The WORST place to live anywhere on the planet is Louisiana because of all the horrible weather;
Young Man #3: Are there sharks in here? Because if there are sharks in here, I’m getting off this boat; and
Young Man #1: Ha! Sharks don’t live in Lake Michigan! This is a lake, not the ocean (smart young man, I’d say).
And of course there was the quintessential talk amongst the boys about the likelihood of falling overboard.
Ah, cue the cruise attendant:
A Seadog Cruise crew member provided safety instructions and general information, all with a terrific sense of “haha” thrown into the mix. As this was a, “Haunted Tour”, our guide, Jamie appeared, in a stellar costume (which reminded me of Harrison Ford in, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). The tour began with a slow, gliding gait towards Lake Michigan. As the 75-minute tour itself primarily takes place along the Chicago River, we navigated our way through the Chicago Harbor Lock.
The sky was brooding as we exited the lock and entered the Chicago River. The above photo was taken shortly after we began our tour towards downtown Chicago. Despite the ‘frightfully’ chilly weather, our surroundings were breathtaking.
Meandering down the Chicago River at night is an experience to behold!
Jamie provided us with spooky, eerie stories of haunted hotels (The Congress Hotel, The Drake Hotel) and the spectral beings that have been seen over decades. He outlined the strange and bizarre legends that are associated with the John Hancock Center. Why, even Macy’s on State Street continues to have its fair share of figments floating around the upper floors!
Ship disasters, a University of Illinois at Chicago terrifying tale, and consequences of building near Native Burial Grounds are some of the other fascinating, bewitching stories Jamie imparted on our Haunted River Tour.
Jamie did an absolutely phenomenal job with his stories and scenarios of this most fascinating city and its mostly, “unseen” attributes. He researched the entire program himself, which is quite a feat, I must say. The tour was similar to a dream-state; surreal and yet present, at the same time.
As we made our way back through the Chicago Lock, the bright lights and carnival-like atmosphere of Navy Pier were once again in our view. I quietly said a prayer for all of those departed souls who Jamie spoke about in his talk.
The, “Seadog Cruises Chicago” Company is stellar; I do wish they would provide this tour during the Summer months as well. I am anxious to hop on board another type of cruise next Summer! There are Architectural Tours, Lakefront Speedboat Tours, and even an, “Extreme Thrill Ride Tour”. Oh, by the way, here is a link to their website in case you would like to check out tours, photos, and a ‘boat-load’ of information (you knew I was going to say “boat-load”, didn’t you?):
A “Seadog Saturday” and not a drop of Lake Michigan/Chicago River water was harmed on this tour!