Sunday, July 27, 2014
A morning on the dock, and Welcome Back!
I was sitting in Wild Blue's cockpit, playing my guitar and enjoying the quiet. Joan had to go to work early, I didn't have to go in until the crack of noon (my favorite).
There is a main dock 50 feet or so behind our boat; on weekends, especially, there is a constant parade of people. This morning, two things made me chuckle. Let me say that I really enjoy animal behavior... and people are some of the most interesting animals. ;-)
Teenagers tend to travel in packs. Like wolves. But not as well mannered. This morning, there was a herd of teenagers on that dock. Well, a small herd - like 8 or 9. Two females, the rest males. No, I have no photos of this, so you'll have to paint a mental image. One female was definitely the alpha: tall and curvy. She was wearing black short-shorts and a flowy white top. The other female looked more like one of the young boys. Wearing a sweatshirt. The curvy one announced, "It is really hot!" and slowly peeled off the flowy white top. Every boy's chin dropped. The other girl looked on in envy. Oh, the curvy girl was wearing a black bikini top under the shirt... and she knew just what she was doing. She did it well.
The other event: there is a beautiful sailboat behind us. We occasionally see a young couple having a meal in the cockpit. Today, the girl was going to do her first attempt at backing the sailboat out of the slip, rotating, and heading away. Her turn out of the slip was rather abrupt. She shifted from reverse to forward with gusto - the pretty little boat was heading directly for the dock and another boat! The guy was on the bow... instead of holler at her to slow down, he jumped off the bow just before the boat was going to smack it, shoved the bow off enough that it also missed the nearby boat, then jumped back on the bow. I was impressed by his athleticism, but mostly I was amazed that there was no hollering. He said (not loudly), "We'll do that a bit slower next time." Smart guy.
I knew we were going to have a good day at work today: the Orcas are back! They were on the west side of the island early this morning. I received that report several hours before I had to be to work. Driving a faster boat today, I knew I would be able to catch them. Then, an hour before our departure, the pods split up: one group going north up Haro Strait, another group going northeast into Boundary Pass, and the third group heading south. I was going to have to make a decision on what way to go.
The early boats had gone north. I didn't have much of a report on the southern group. My choice was to take the southern group - fewer boats, and they would be moving towards me, not away. A half hour out, they changed directions and were heading north. No worry - I knew we would be fast enough to catch up with them.
Turns out they went north a bit, then back south again. We had a very nice viewing. For the first hour or so, there were only two other whale watch boats, so every one had lots of room. Two sailboats sailed almost on top of the whales. It isn't just the powerboaters who do that.
We had a lively group on the boat. They were having fun watching and asking questions of our naturalist. Well, one guy was having a bit too much fun... in the safety orientation, I tell them, "No tobacco products, no alcohol, and no glass containers on the boat..." One guy thought he was being sneaky when he went to the head and poured red wine into a coffee mug with a lid on it. The naturalist came to the helm to tell me one lady was upset that this guy "wasn't following the rules."
Yes, sometimes my job is like chaperoning first graders. ;-) I had to come down from the helm and, as discretely as possible, explain to the guy that I had his safety in mind. He said, "I'm not drinking anything." His breath told a different story. I had to make myself a bit clearer for him. The guy understood, didn't cause any problem, and the tattle-tale lady got to look smug. Win/win/win. I told the naturalist to keep a very close watch on the guy so he didn't trip and create a lot of paperwork for me. ;-) No more issues the rest of the trip.
Back at the dock, happy guests. The wine-sneaker left us a very nice gratuity.
Happy crew, too. It is "Friday" for me and the naturalist. This was a very good way to finish off the work week... so happy to have our Orcas back.
I didn't take a camera to work today, so the only photos I had time for were on the way south in Haro Strait, with my phone...
Cattle Point Lighthouse with Mt. Baker in the background...
A beautiful, warm (only 3 layers while driving the boat) day in the San Juan Islands. :-)