Thursday, June 16, 2016

First trip - "Didja see whales?"

We get that question every day from people on the dock.

Our trip today was a private charter with a group of Sierra Club members from around the country... "We just really want to see Orcas - do you have any reports this morning?"

Another question we get every day.

The only report put a group of transient Orcas a long distance from us; beyond the range of this boat on a typical 3 hour trip.  Fortunately, the group had chartered the boat for 5 hours.  I asked them if they had another event scheduled close behind this trip... "Nope.  This is our last day here, and we are all going out for supper to talk about the week."

We let the boss know we were very likely going to be late.  The good news is: we have extra time and plenty of fuel.  The tidal currents weren't really working against us, but weren't going to help much, either.

It was chilly, but mostly sunny skies.  The wind was enough to notice, but it wasn't making the wave conditions unpleasant.  OK, we are going for it.

Two hours into the 5 hour trip, an update from a boat with the Orcas showed that they were moving away from us.  Finally, two and a half hours into the trip, we could see the 4 boats that were with the whales... it would take us another 15 minutes to get to them... if the whales didn't speed up.

Finally, at 2 hours and 45 minutes into the trip...

Yeah, we got whales - 5 transients.  And, they were being reasonably surface active.

Next, we had to balance getting a good viewing with the amount of time it would take to get back.  The tide was supposed to give us a little help on our return.  After coming this far (longest trip I've had on this particular boat), I wasn't going to cut these folks short with their viewing.  I could hear cameras clicking and plenty of "Ohhhs and aaaaahhhs!"

The whales continued moving away from our home.  I let the folks know that this would be our last looks... and we started the long trip home... with very happy guests.

That blue sky I was talking about...

On the trip back, we (two captains and two first mate/naturalists) made sure the first mates got some helm time...

A bonus on the way home: we saw two Minkie whales.  No, I didn't get a photo.  We did stop briefly so everyone had the chance to see them.

The water was kind to us on the way home, and we did pick up a little extra push.  Our estimates of being "an hour or so later than our scheduled return" turned out to be very close.  I see that as giving the guests more for their money.  :-)

Back at the dock, we thanked our guests and went to work cleaning the boat - it definitely went twice as fast with twice the crew.

Another highlight for me: the ride home: it has been quite a while since I had the opportunity to run the scoot on some great roads.  My camera was packed in my backpack, but I did stop to get a photo with my phone...

Just 'cause.  Making the turn onto the road that leads to our site, I did get a surprise: the county had oiled and graveled the road!  So, any direction we go when we leave our site, we will have to traverse some gravel.  Hopefully, it won't be something they are expanding to the other good scooter roads.

Back home...

Joan had an 11 to 6 day, a short day for her.  It may be a while before we are able to get into the new office, so they had a full office staff working in the barn.  It also meant that I left for work a couple hours before she did - unusual compared to our past experience.  She was able to make breakfast (nice to have a hot meal in my belly before heading out on a chilly morning), and I got to shower first... and not have to wipe down the shower (usually my job).  I kinda liked that.

I was waiting for her when she got home - valet parking for her scooter.

Oh, and I stopped after work to gas up the scoot... $3.11 per gallon for unleaded.  Yeah, that's about 70¢ per gallon more than I paid when we topped off the motorhome last.  It's an island.  ;-)


Hudson River Boater said...

F.A.B.-- Wish we didn't live across the Country or we would come for a Charter.. Although we do enjoy living where we do..

May I ask-- What's your GPH Burn Rate on the Boat? Our Sea Ray burned about 30 @ 25 Knots..
We went to Block Island years ago when Gas Prices where high-- 7.99 Per Gallon!! Ouch..
We Held 250 Gallons-- I took on just enough Fuel to get back to CT. where it was a bit less..

Thanks for sharing..

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Hi HRB. We have 4 different boats, with different fuel burns, depending on how fast we run. All of our boats are diesel, 3 are single engine, one twin. Most of the fuel burns run in the 10 to 15 gph range. I have (only semi-jokingly) said that one of my favorite parts of the job is taking the boats to the fuel dock: I fill up a boat and sign the receipt... someone else pays the bill. ;-)