Though we don’t have evergreens and snowflakes, we have the weather to bring Santa south for some kid-friendly sailing.
St. Nick now abandons his usual sleigh mode of transportation to host children, parents and guests alike in San Diego alongside the family-owned and seasoned Aolani Catamaran Sailing business.
If you’re looking for a great way to spend some of your holiday break, try Aolani. This is their second year doing their annual “Sail with Santa” aboard the private charter sailing catamaran.
Patrons arrive to board the 58-foot Sunchaser American at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel Marina across from the San Diego International Airport. Santa arrives in full regalia with a booming, welcoming voice and anticipation in the air for a 60-minute midday cruise around San Diego Bay.
Children scurry a bit, parents can’t help but worry. Yet overall the mood is festive and thrilled since the weather is fantastic and we’re all out and enjoying a slice of life in spite of the pandemic.
Kids fill up cozy pit seating with blankets, and adults surround them on cushioned floor seats with backs or perched atop the nets or walkways.
While no actual sailing is involved, we motor gently around the bay — much to parents’ delight — with expansive views and calm, cool water and light breezes and sunshine all around us. We only gently rise and dip when we pass over a wake now and then. And no one comes close to stumbling overboard. (They haven’t had anyone take a dip yet.)
When Santa Clause graces the deck he finds purchase in a flannel-blanketed chair for chats and pictures, stories, fun facts and answers to questions as well as a readiness to mentally note requests for the big day. The cityscape and garland around the railing is his background for the open-air session. Children clamor onto his lap or shyly avoid his questions as costumed assistants pass out perfect-kid-temperature hot cocoa with marshmallows in paper travel cups and Martinelli’s for those who wish. Everyone snaps photos and takes videos.
There are then more photo chances, a skit and songs with Santa in the roomy catamaran cabin with comfortable seating, a restroom, snacks and water as well as adult beverages for purchase.
My kiddos and myself fully appreciated the goldfish, fruit snacks, candy canes and tiny water bottles; it made life easier with happy stomachs and less things to bring in preparation for the light excursion.
Aolani also offers corporate event charters, catering, parties, whale and dolphin watching, spreading of the ashes, military events and more. You can also call with questions and learn more about safety precautions, the inspiring history of the company as well as access photos, videos and testimonials.
Book a trip (a portion of which goes to Toys for Tots) on the Aolani Catamaran Sailing website, and you’ll receive instructions about where to head, park and soon be gathering at a giant wooden Sheraton beach chair for an initial photo op before embarking on your sail. It may be your newest tradition or an ideal way to host your San Diego holiday season visitors.