Margaret Moran

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September 12, 2012
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Giving back: Sierra Cloud owner offers free cruises for Incline Village's seniors

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A 55-foot catamaran glided across the shimmering navy blue waters of Lake Tahoe, carrying nearly 30 seniors along the North Shore where views of the beaches, forests and distant tree-covered mountains could be seen.

It was Sunday morning, shortly after 10 a.m., as the Sierra Cloud made its fourth senior cruise voyage of the year.

Gary Scott, co-owner of Action Water Sports of Incline Village, said he started the senior cruise last year with his mother in mind.

“My mom came to live with me about a year and a half ago, and I said, ‘Let's take you out sailing for fresh air,'” Scott said. “She loves to boat, and we thought of taking others out, so she could meet other people her age.”

According to Incline resident Bea Epstein, who helps facilitate the senior cruise, both “young seniors” as well as “super seniors” make up the passengers on the cruise, which averages between 27 to 28 people per voyage.

As the Sierra Cloud glided along, passengers Sunday morning could be seen sitting and conversing with one another while enjoying baked goods and coffee along with fruit, orange juice and alcoholic beverages.

Fran Schwartz, who has spent the past 13 summers in the area, described the atmosphere on the boat as “friendly,” “warm” and “comfortable.”

Margaret Ann Monnier, of Incline Village, added that it was “peaceful” without the roar of an engine, for most of the trip the boat was powered by wind and sails.

“It's very quiet, very nice,” said Dick Monnier, Margaret's husband. “It's gorgeous out here. It's very pleasant to see the scenery and not be in a hurry to be any place.”

Dick broke out his binoculars from time-to-time to get a better look at the scenery of the North Shore.

“We live in a beautiful place, but sometimes you get so involved in your life that you forget the beauty,” said Denise Azzara, of Incline Village, a passenger on the Sierra Cloud. “Some days you go by the lake and don't even look at it.

“People may take this as a tourist activity, but it's not. It's a chance to appreciate the beauty of where we live.”

Schwartz was definitely appreciating her surrounds while on the boat.

“I love it,” she said. “I love every piece of the mountain, every inch of the water.

She later added: “I think it's a beautiful way to see the houses, the beach, the mountains. We would take pictures, but it wouldn't do (it justice.)”

But that didn't stop others from snapping shots while on the lake.

“Anytime you can be on the water, it's heaven,” said Jeff Meston, of Incline Village.

After nearly two hours of sailing, the Sierra Cloud docked back at the Hyatt Pier around 11:40 a.m., ushered in by the applause and thank yous of the passengers toward the captain and crew.

“It's amazing that we get this opportunity,” Margaret Monnier said.

Gene Brockman, of Incline Village, who was also a passenger on the boat Sunday morning, echoed that sentiment.

“I think it's a very generous thing the owner has done, and it recognizes the significant place seniors have in this community,” he said.

Scott said he is only too happy to do it.

“It's very uplifting to do this because they are very thankful,” he said. “It's a nice feeling to give back to these folks.”

Meston said he would “love” to take the senior cruise again.

“If the weather is nice, we'll do one more (this year),” Scott said.

Otherwise, the senior cruise will resume next summer.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 12, 2012 02:45PM Published Sep 12, 2012 02:45PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.