Friday, July 25, 2008
The bridge is still out - no way on/off the island other than by boat. This situation is very different from many others, and looting will not be a problem... owners only on the island.
We lent our generator to our neighbor, so they have lights, a fan, and their fridge. They are having to siphon gas out of the car to keep it going, but they aren't driving anywhere any time soon. The word is that electricity will be "5 days or more before it is restored." Knowing how things get done there, I'm guessing more.
The word we are getting is to stay away for at least a week or so to allow emergency work to be done. We are concerned about the lack of ventillation in the house without electricity. Joan is ready to go now, but we have to go back to the Black Hills to pick up some of our stuff before heading south.
Quite a bit of damage throughout the island. No idea what is happening IN our house, other than "no standing water."
More when we know more.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Hurricane Dolly has passed. I was able to get through to our friends who stayed on our island this morning. They are OK... said they'd never do that (stay) again. Winds topped 125 mph on our island. Lots of damage. They lost some roof and have water that came through their upstairs and has leaked through to the main floor. They have not gone out to survey the rest of the island, and can't see our house from theirs. They said the street looks like a war zone.
I asked if we should be heading down right away. She said, "No point. You can't get on the island. A shrimpboat busted loose and hit our bridge, so they can't get it closed right now. We'll make our way to your place by late afternoon and let you know how your house did."
So... our friends are safe. Stuff can be replaced. Sounds like I may have to learn how to do some house construction. I have plenty of tools... they were all in our underneath storage area... nevermind.
Wish us luck.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Today, we are going to stock up on groceries. A bit different from our Yellowstone experience, where the closest big grocery store was 80 miles away; we have plenty of nearby options. Then, we may look around for a bigger RV. Our Rage'n toyhauler has done an admirable job, but if we decide to do more RV traveling, it would be nice to have more room. We'll see; the RV industry is having some tough times because of the high fuel prices. It will take the right unit at the right price to make us want to upsize again.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Tonight, I sat in a campchair outside our RV and watched a thunderstorm build over the Hills; it is slowly moving our way. Nature, her beauty, and her power are an awesome sight to behold. The rain has started, along with the wind... hopefully, we won't have hail, but I know it isn't going to snow!
Life is different at 3200' elevation as opposed to 7800. It's all about how you adapt.
Friday, July 4, 2008
We'll take the next week or two and plan out the rest of the summer. Or, maybe be serendipitous and just go where the road takes us. The truck, trailer, and motorcycle are all in perfect working order... and you can be darn sure that if they weren't, we would correct that right away. Nice to be back where that's possible.
With the various web sites that I post to, we've gotten a surprising number of supportive comments regarding our bad experience with Xanterra. My thanks for that, and we are ready to move on. There's a lot of summer left.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
To Xanterra Personnel
Regarding: Exit interview for James and Joan Bathurst
I would like it to be known that we are not “disgruntled former employees”. We worked hard for this company and were regularly told by our managers that we were performing above expectations and were professional in the execution of our jobs.
I have no doubt that the management team at the marina was embarrassed by the blog (www.captnjim.blogspot.com) that I published. I only made things public after the situation got beyond reasonable. Had Wim told me that he was embarrassed and asked me man-to-man to remove the blog, I absolutely would have done so. When he made the repairs on the boat contingent on the removal or modification of my blog, it became a matter of coercion. For that, he should be more than embarrassed, he should be ashamed.
We constantly heard from that team: “Xanterra doesn’t care.” We refused to believe that... Xanterra is a corporation, it is the PEOPLE that can choose to care or not care. We met many Xanterra employees who do, indeed, care. We feel that this was used as an excuse to not get things done.
We were also told, “Don’t work so hard, you’ll work yourself out of a job.” Our work ethic is such that we will do the best work possible at any task. That is how we were able to retire in our early 50s: we ran successful businesses and created an atmosphere of pride and cooperation with our employees. We did not see either of those attributes being endorsed by the marina management team.
In spite of the general lack of enthusiasm and pride in the marina, the employees there do a good job. Imagine how much better it would be with proper training and guidance.
I have attached a copy of an e-mail sent to Wim 5 days prior to quitting this job. I gave him the opportunity to fire me; I was told that I was “a valuable employee and his most professional captain.” I also have attached a copy of suggested policy for training and minimum knowledge requirements for dockhands and first-mates. The marina had no written policy that was distributed amongst these employees. I was simply trying to help. When given guidance, people will try to do a good job... with no guidance, there will be no pride.
I submit these documents to show that we made an honest effort. I have no doubt that our departure will be put in a different light by the management team at the marina. Let me state that the marina is a wonderful addition to the services managed by Xanterra... it could certainly be more profitable and a much better workplace with proper guidance. People will work hard for leaders who show pride and a willingness to pitch in; just the opposite will be true when the leaders badmouth the company they work for, allow people to go improperly trained, ignore ringing telephones, and leave customers waiting.
I was once admonished for boarding passengers “2 minutes early.” Even though it was 3 minutes LATER than the published times. I felt it was rude to make passengers wait beyond the published times; management chose to move that time back with no regard for the time necessary to board or what times the guests were told... pointless rules like this were the norm. We actually changed boarding times THREE TIMES in one day. Pointless. And it certainly doesn’t serve the guest.
We don’t leave Yellowstone relieved to not be working for Xanterra; quite the opposite. We wanted to complete our time here, but felt that we had been put in a position to compromise our ethics. We are very disappointed in this experience.
James and Joan Bathurst
We had the trailer ready to roll, except for loading the motorcycle into it; had to wait until we could pull the trailer forward to drop the back ramp. We were driving away shortly after 9:00. Joan's eyes teared up as we left the campground... we were very excited about the jobs here; neither of us wanted to leave, but we simply could not work in this negative environment.
I had the opportunity to visit with the other Lake Queen captain this morning before we left. Paul and Pat are wonderful people and we didn't want them to think we were just bolting.
We have put the nastiness of the past few days behind us and are looking forward to enjoying the rest of our summer. I will post the contents of our "exit letter" a bit later when I can take it off the other computer.
In the meantime, we are in the western foothills of the Big Horn Mountains and will be heading for the beautiful Black Hills tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
He asked me to remove or modify what I had written... if not, they would "remove the resources from the boat repair."
I will NOT be coerced, I will NOT be quiet. Xanterra was lax, bordering on negligent in the repair of the boat. It was only when I made things public that any serious action was taken to get the necessary repairs.
What I have written was all true. I told them that there was a facility on that blog for them to respond if they feel the need to support their inaction. I was told that the company will not respond.
We will turn in our uniforms and employee IDs today, as soon as possible. It will be our pleasure to put as much distance between us and this company as soon as possible.
Jim and Joan Bathurst
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I have a couple days to think about what we intend to do. When we owned our own business, I never got this worked up... guess I didn't have to depend on others or "work my way up the chain" to get things done. Maybe I should buy my own big ol' tourboat? Nahhhhhhhhh!
Day off today... other than a trip to the marina for the above visit, we lounged around the trailer. The forecast was calling for afternoon thunderstorms, and they were right. Glad to not be out on the bike.