Saturday, July 2, 2016
Driving the boat out of Roche Harbor today. This place is a zoo over the 4th, and the crowds have rolled in. It will only get thicker with revelers over the next two days.
It is a lot of work getting the boat out... and back in. Our normal dock is replaced with their "party dock," and we are tied against that... with another very big yacht on the other side of us. You better be sharp on your single-screw techniques. No, that is not a sexual reference - it is about knowing how the boat is going to handle, turn, rotate, and reverse in very close quarters.
The harbor is full of anchored boats... and more will be coming. People on dinghies darting all about. Kayaks. People on stand-up paddleboards. All apparently without the ability to turn their heads to look for traffic.
Yep, a zoo.
Only one trip today, and it was relatively easy. Easy, because I got a whale report on the way out of the harbor, and it was close by. Relatively because... it was one whale, and a lot of boats that wanted to see him. Perhaps the largest boat-to-whale ratio I've seen in quite a while. And, of course, there were a lot of private boats out there, mostly being run by people who don't know, don't understand, or don't care about the distance regulations.
Like driving a big rig on the road, you leave space in front of you... and some dumas in a car fills that space. Same thing with boats... well, except there are no roads with lines and no traffic signals. At one point, with 15+ boats moving the same direction (with the whale), a small boat pulled into the group... going the opposite direction. Yes, like someone driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
We were fortunate that we got to this large male early, before the majority of boats arrived. We had some nice views and not a lot of craziness. That changed after about 20 minutes... and then it becomes "space management," while trying to assure that our guests get a decent view. With private boats darting between us and the whales, and then matching our speed. Part of the job; frustrating at times, but kind of expected on holidays and weekends.
After a while with the whales, we left to go looking for other interesting wildlife. Managed to find some playful harbor porpoise (they are usually pretty shy), seals and eagles.
Nope, no photos.
Another day of the holiday crowds for me tomorrow, with two Roche trips already scheduled. I will be ready for a couple days off.
The weather was mostly cooperative today: sunny, but cool. The breeze built while we were out there; got a bit lumpy on the way back in. Add some wind to the snug docking - yep, that is a very expensive yacht right next to where we plan to be. ;-)