Friday, August 22, 2014

Scooter - Whale - Whale - Scooter...

That was my day today.

I was scheduled to drive out of Roche Harbor today; two trips.  I decided to head over there early and have breakfast at Lime Kiln Cafe.  There was a car behind me on the road to Roche - it wasn't that close, so I didn't pay that much attention to it, just noticed it was behind me all the way.  When I was parking my scooter, the guy in the car pulled up... "What is that thing?"

"My scooter?" I asked, "It's a Honda."

He said, "I thought it was going to be one of those pain in the butt mopeds - that thing really hauls!  I couldn't keep up with you coming out of the corners!  You looked like you were having fun."

"I was.  It's a nice way to start my day."

"A Honda, huh?  Nice!"

I had a leisurely breakfast... 'till a lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Are you the captain of our ship?"

"Ship?  Are you going out on an 11:00 whale watch trip?"


"Then I am your captain."  We visited for a bit.  Of course they asked if we were going to see whales... "I haven't checked in for work, yet.  I'll let you know when you board the boat."

With breakfast done, I went to work prepping the boat.  Listening to the fleet radio, the only report wasn't good: the residents are WAY north and moving further away from us.  Looks like we'll be on a search for transient whales.

When the guests boarded, I did the safety talk, then explained the whale situation.  When I told them we'd be looking for transients, I could see the dubious look in some of their eyes.  I told them my game plan - how I planned to look for the transients.  More not-so-sure looks.

We took off, heading north... saw some seals (gumdrops for transient Orcas) and a couple bald eagles.  Going further north into Boundary Pass, I scoped out the far shoreline, along South Pender and Saturna Islands... was that a spray?  There's hope!  With the binoculars, I saw another whale watch boat moving fast in the direction of where I thought I saw the spray.  I called them on the radio, "Do you have something there?"

"Yes, are you close by?"

"Not too far.  See you in a bit."

I let the naturalist know that we would be seeing some transients.  She told the guests and a cheer went up on the boat!

Sometimes, you get lucky.  And it was a very nice viewing...

The whales were very surface active.  When they stayed in one place, we assumed they made a kill... some "celebration" moves... and very happy guests!

Back to Roche, almost on time... except a guy driving a BIG boat (at least 50') couldn't figure out how to get it to the fuel dock, and was blocking the area when he went back and forth, but never got any closer to the dock.  The fuel attendants were standing on the dock, waiting for him to get close enough to toss them a line.  We all waited.  Ten minutes.  Sheesh!

The guests were very understanding... and so happy with the whale viewing they had.

We spruced up the boat to get ready for trip number 2.  I was hoping the same transients would be close to where we left them.  There were other boats with them, so it looked good.  Until we got into Boundary Pass and saw that they had moved west.  Fast.  I burned plenty of the boss's fuel getting to them.  On the first trip, finding the whales was a very pleasant surprise; on this trip, we could see them, but it seemed to take a long time to get TO them, as fast as they were moving.

This viewing was completely different: it was a blood-fest!  They caught a harbor porpoise, tossed it about, and tore it to shreds.  They were teaching the young ones how to hunt.  Then, a seal met the same fate.  The whales had stopped their fast trek and were staying place to eat and play.  A completely different, but great viewing.  Then, the long ride back to Roche.

We cleaned up the boat and I headed to my scooter, looking forward to the ride back to Friday Harbor.  There was a couple looking at the Grom that was parked near my scoot.  He had perfectly quaffed silver hair, she was much younger.  Draw your own conclusions.  Pointing at the Grom, he asked me, "Do you know how much something like this costs?  I think it would be great to carry that on the boat."

I told him what they sell for, and we visited a bit.  The younger prettier part of the couple looked at my scooter and said, "I like this - it is much racier looking!"

"Racy - that is a lot better than 'cute'," I said.  "I hear 'cute' a lot."

So, a woman's opinion: the Grom, "Too small - you would look goofy on that,"... the PCX, "Racy!"

It was a nice ride home... on my racy scooter.  The Blonde had pizza waiting for me when I got back to the boat.  Yep, a very nice day.


MarkJ said...

I wonder if that's what they say about you and the Blonde??? She's much younger.....

One week from today I board the Golden Princess in Seattle. Remember you're saving some great weather for me!!! Would rather be sailing but my dads 88 and not safe to have him out like that.

Fantastic pics lately! Will miss the whale stories when you leave.

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Well, she certainly LOOKS a lot younger than I do. ;-) When we first started dating, I was only a year and a half older... it is much more than that now. I guess my plans of being a trophy husband are slipping away.

The 10 day forecast looks pretty fine! It will be beautiful cruising for you.